My name means beautiful. People ask a lot. Keely is a fairly uncommon name, and the usual name anecdote I tell people is that they will likely meet two Keely’s. It seems we come in pairs. Either I’m the first, and they quickly meet a second, or I’m the second one they’ve ever met. Oddly enough, most other Keely’s I’ve met also share the same middle name.
It means grace. I really like that.
Because I think that sums up my relationship with Jesus perfectly. Beautiful grace. And out of every hard thing; my dads death as a little girl, my husbands affair, near miscarriages and pregnancy induced heart failure, God has met me with a beautiful grace.
It’s funny though, when you have a unique name. You never hear it. I don’t hear it on tv or roll calls, rarely do a I hear it in stores when I’m out in public.
And when I do, it’s almost surreal.
“Who is saying my name?!” And I look around astonished. When the other Keely is found we usually laugh and joke and insert previous name anecdote here. We have an instant connection, because we share a unique name.
My name is so rare, that when I hear it, it’s almost as though those strangers have no authority to say it. It’s usually reserved to those closest to me. People I know. People I’ve chosen to give my name to.
But I have other names too. We all do. Whether we have given them to ourselves, or someone else has bestowed them on us.
High school drop out
College drop out
And for one reason or another, I give the enemy the authority to call me by these names.
I answer to them.
Not astonished I heard them, but expectant.
I turn around.
Or maybe life happens.
I had made peace with my horrible middle school and high school experiences. I was ruthlessly bullied in middle school. Called terrible names and slandered. Slandered in a Christian school where even teachers believed it. Cyber bullying in the early aughts wasn’t a thing, there was no word yet for my experience, but it’s claws were tested and honed on kids like me. And for a long time, I lived with deep wounds, a sad name.
Math was impossible and held me back. To this day I’m one math class away from a fine arts degree. A semester of college is all that stands between me and the most culturally praised educational accolade; a B.A.
But I don’t have one. And I made my peace with my alternative path. I’ve felt blessed that God has called me in other directions, that my life looks different.
I’ve always loved different. It’s part of my name.
But now my daughter is a second grader. And that broken place for me, school, well, now I visit school every day.
And in the halls echo my old names.
Names I thought I had shed a long time ago. Names I no longer answered too.
But I find myself turning around now.
We’ve been struggling with math homework. Most parents I think struggle with common core math homework. But when I can’t help my daughter with second grade work, there it is, a whisper, words I cringe at:
And my shoulders fall forward. And my head hangs. Because I answer to those words as though they are my name.
Oh how many names the enemy has for us.
And I wonder at Gods heart when he hears us answer to names that he never meant for us to answer to.
Because we are his children. More than that, we are his craftsmanship.
And he has other names for us. Beautiful ones.
Adopted sons and daughters
Clay in the potters hands.
But I don’t always answer to those.
God often whispers.
The enemy roars.
And my ears struggle to discern.
My heart forgets.
What’s my real name?
I had other names too. Names I really liked. Ones that I thought gave me purpose and meaning.
These were names that gave me community, and direction. Confidence.
Meaning in my Motherhood.
But I’ve outgrown them.
And I haven’t been able to find a replacement.
Where once putting an amber necklace on my baby’s neck was practically a name tag, telling others who I was as a mama, now the kids are their own people, who find their own friends, their own way. No necklace needed.
And I feel sometimes like my name is Struggle.
But we are not our struggles.
You, dear friend are not your struggle.
Your name is not debt, or single, or short tempered. It is not behind on everything or lost.
It’s not cheater.
No, your name is what God calls you.
It’s hard when the enemy is shouting a million other names. It’s hard not to answer to them. But God has given us a new name.
A new community.
A new family.
A new confidence.
We are grafted in, adopted. And our old names are nothing more than smoke.
Vapor passing away.
No one has any authority to call you by those old names.
Not even you
Especially not you.
Because that old self, those old things, they have passed away. And every day we are new in our Savior’s love.
We are separated from those names as far as the east is from the west.
And those safe names, those names we think define us. Those names we take pride in?
Those are vapor too.
Because we will outgrow them. Or we will change out of them, or they will be taken from us.
They won’t serve you forever.
Then who will we be? Drifting in life. Nameless.
But our name in Christ is forever. Eternal.
So I’m not going to answer anymore when the enemy calls me Failure.
It will fall on deaf ears, tuned in instead to what God has called me.
Struggle is not my name.
My name is masterpiece.
My name in child of God.
My name is beautiful grace.
Because that is what Jesus gifted me on the cross.
A new name.
A beautiful grace.
A name that won’t pass away or change.
And it is the only thing I will answer to.
And when I hear it, I will turn around astonished, that my God loves me so much, he would give me a new name, and make me a new creation.
An instant connection with the throne God.
Let go of the old names. Let go of the labels. Let go of the struggle. And let God call you.
Dearest Friends, stop listening to the enemy’s name for you and start listening with joy and astonishment for Jesus.