What’s In A Name – Actually a lot more than I Realized

We have a birth name, a family of origin name, nick-name, and many other relational-names like friend, sister, mother, wife, husband, dad, cousin, uncle, or son. There are also gender and age (or maturity level) names like male/female, infant, teen or elderly. Then there are organizational and educational names like teacher, engineer, accountant, clerk, CEO, president, pastor and so forth. They speak to who we are and what we do, our identity and our purpose. Each name produces a mental picture. Our name also speaks to our realm of responsibility – our own expectations and the needs and expectations of others in those realms of responsibility.

For example, the Queen of England is the Head of The Church of England where our President is The Commander and Chief. Both are the leaders of nations, but are given responsibilities in two different realms; one is religious and the other military. As I mentioned them, you pictured them and who they are in those positions – didn’t you? We have expectations of these positions and when they are not met we become disappointed.

My former boss has a given name, relational names and a job title. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, supervisor, Christian and The Chief Executive Officer. She is all these, all the time, but functions as the CEO in her position with our company. All these other names influence all the areas of her life, however some become more dominate with the occasion, location and need.

Likewise, our God has many names; they speak of him as relational, and as the authority in various realms of responsibility. We will look at one of these, later and examine the promise of it.

There are people in our lives who have not lived up to the expectation or need in relational areas of responsibility with us. We have missed the mark on many occasions, as well. These disappointments translate into all our relationships until new trust is built. Knowing this is there any wonder as to how easily the devil puts the goodness and faithfulness and dependability of our God on trial in our minds as circumstances arise where trust is needed.

It would be an effort, crowned with failure and even prison if I attempted to function as the president of the United States. As my bosses executive assistant, however I can speak in her behalf in selected areas, I can arrange meetings, travel and make purchases, but termination would be certain if I attempted to function as the CEO. Yet, I found myself trying to function as, “God” in circumstances which required trust in my God’s realm of responsibility.

Off and on for a number of years I have been the source of supply in the areas of emotional comfort, encouragement and finances for three close family members. I put myself in that position for a couple of reasons; one, I thought I needed to pay for the guilt I felt from my failures (Duh! Hadn’t God forgiven me?!). And because I obviously wasn’t really trusting that God would rise to the need…and He just sat back and let me attempt to be Him. I was told once that God doesn’t force Himself into any situation, I can testify to the truth of this.

Several years ago my husband purchased a small blanket/throw which has woven in it the names of God. It is usually wrapped around me when I have my coffee-quiet time in the mornings because my chair is leather and usually cold to sit on. On a recent morning I was filled with the overwhelming responsibility of these circumstances and the ongoing needs. I bowed my head, began to cry and said, “Lord, I cannot do this anymore, I am just not sufficient and I am running out of resources.” I’m sure there was a collective gasp from the living creatures surrounding the thrown of God that morning when I finally gave up…I could almost hear it. After a few seconds, as my tears dried up, I opened my eyes to the blanket across my lap to see the words, “El Shaddai – The ALL Sufficient One.” That’s the kind of thing to make you laugh and cry at the same time.

I grabbed my Bible to get a better understanding of this Name/Job Title. The first time was in Genesis chapter 17, God told Abram that he and Sarai (now elderly) they would become parents. God introduced Himself as El Shaddai: the ALL mighty, the ALL sufficient, the ALL bountiful, the nourisher, strength giver, satisfier, the supplier of the needs of His people – in short The ALL God.

At the same time He changed their names (job titles) from Abram, which means exalted father to Abraham, which means father of a multitude. He was telling Abraham what he would be, not what he (Abraham) thought he was. He changed Sarai, which means princely to Sarah, which means the mother of princes. The second time is in Genesis chapter 35 when He wrestles with Jacob. God changes Jacob’s name, which means surplanter to Israel, which means God’s Prince. There is so much in the meaning of these old to new job titles, but for the sake of time we won’t go there today.

So I realize as I’m meditating on all this that when God introduces Himself as El Shaddai to someone the next step is a name change. The Spirit spoke to my spirit and asked, “In one word, what is the opposite of ALL?” It was a quick answer, I said, “nil or none or nothing.” He smiled and agreed, “Your new job (name/title) is ‘nothing’. You do nothing and say nothing unless I tell you to do or say something. You are to pray and trust Me. I AM the ALL, you are not”

What a load He has taken from off my shoulders – I really understand and am understanding to trust is to have the “yoke” removed – His burden is easy and His Yoke is light.

(Daniel) saying, “Blessed be the name of God, forever and ever. He knows ALL, does ALL:

He changes the seasons and guides history, He raises up kings and also brings them down, he provides both intelligence and discernment, He opens up the depths, tells secrets, sees in the dark — light spills out of him!” Dan. 2:20-22 (THE MESSAGE)

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAY EXCURSION

We have several family birthdays in February and since all are located in Mississippi and Louisiana we decided to take a trip down south to celebrate with them and get away from yet another snow event here in East Tennessee.  Sweet husband has a birthday tomorrow, but we will celebrate alone together.

STOP ONE: Wilmington, NC to see new friends, Mike and Karen. They live two blocks from the Atlantic, so even with the cold ocean winds, we had to walk down.

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Wilmington is home to Arlie Gardens. 67 acres of paths, lakes, formal gardens, live oaks (one is 500+ years old), 5,000 varieties of camellias, birding trails, thousands of azaleas along with historic, contemporary and primitive garden sculpture. Beautiful even in February.

STOP TWO & THREE: We visited Sweet Husband’s sister and brother-in-law, Martha & Del, in Orlando on our way to stop four and spent a couple of fun days catching up. We also met Del’s sister and husband (Eileen & Stu) in Lakeland for lunch. They are now official Snowbirds from Maine.

Also in Lakeland we toured Florida Southern College designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. We count his architecture art work and tour each structure when possible.

STOP FOUR: We had met and developed close friendships with several people in Yellowstone with promises to visit; we keep our promises. Couple number one: Rose and Robert live in Cape Coral, Florida. They crammed in island visits, lunch on a fabulous pier and dinner with Robert’s sister and her husband.

STOP FIVE: Navarre Beach, FL to spend two nights with dear friends, Jim & Sharynn Singleton, from Mississippi, now in Florida.

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STOP SIX: Another Yellowstone couple Jerry and Mel. They live in Texas, but were visiting their son in Ocean Springs, MS. We stopped for a great lunch and sweet reunion.

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STOP SEVEN: Super Bowl Sunday in Baton Rouge with my daughter, Trish, and her family. We had two birthdays to celebrate: Nicholas #6 and Aubrey #16, sweet 16. Aubrey and I exchange flamingos from time to time and have since she was about three, so I had a special cake made for her. Our friend from The Rose Parade and co-conspirator, Teegie (who lives in Baton Rouge) joined us for dinner and the celebration the night after the super bowl.

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STOP SEVEN: Jackson, MS. We visited several close friends, John, Curt & Sherry, Kay and her Mom, Gay, my Brother (Bubba) and my sweet son Tony.

Due to circumstances beyond our control we didn’t get to see Leonard’s daughters or precious Grand-Wonder, Liam, for his 3rd birthday, but we left gifts on the porch.

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STOP EIGHT: Didn’t happen. We hoped to spend time with my son, Joe and daughter Lorie and their precious families (no birthdays), but they were all fighting a virus and/or the crud.

FINAL STOP: An evening with Rogers and Hammerstein at the Knoxville Symphony Pops for our valentine gift to each other.

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All this in only two weeks. We are getting good at this.

 

The Revenant & Yellowstone National Park

Yesterday sweet husband and I took in an afternoon movie; The Revenant featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass (c. 1780 – 1833). Based on true events, Glass was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, and explorer of the watershed of the Upper Missouri River in present-day Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Platte River area of Nebraska.

Although it was never stated where these events took place, there was one mention that someone was last spotted near the “yellow stone”. Yellowstone is called Yellowstone because the river flows through a yellow stoned canyon.

As you know by now, we spent the summer in Wyoming and Montana, therefore, from the scenery, I believe this part of the story of his life took place in that area; perhaps what is now the Chief Joseph Highway area?

I’m not a movie critic, but the cinematography was academy award quality.

Seeing this movie, which is extremely rough, took me back to Wyoming and Montana; it has haunted me all day.

It started with Glass walking through an overflowing creek in the middle of a forest. The first sounds were of an Elk Stagg trumpet. It is an unmistakable, loud and wonderful sound. One can actually go to YouTube and type in, “Elk Sound”, to hear it, you will never forget it – please do.

There was only one scene involving Bison, but they were stampeding away from a pack of wolves. The Bison’s trumpet or groaning sounds more like a lion. The rocks, cliffs, Lodge Pole Pines, rivers and waterfalls took me “home” to Yellowstone.

This 144 year old national park is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho and oh how I love it and miss it.

The stats:

  • It spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.
  • Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano on the continent.
  • This lake has MORE thermal features under water than in the entire rest of the park.
  • The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.
  • Half of the WORLD’S geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism.
  • Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone.
  • The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.
  • If you work in the park, naturally you live in the park. If you need something as simple as a haircut you will need to drive an hour and half, in good traffic (which is rare), one way.
  • They do have general stores and small health clinics in each village within the park.

One clear evening in August we drove up to Hayden Valley to hopefully see the asteroid events and the Milky Way and, of course try to hear the Elk and Bison trumpet and groan. We were successful on all counts.

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We made friends easily with several of our co-workers and hope to see five of them in the next couple of weeks.

I will not be working there again even thought we had probably the best store manager and cafeteria manager in the entire park. We won’t for three good reasons: (1) it is a long, long drive from Tennessee to Wyoming and (2) my body doesn’t do changing shift work very well and (3) Yellowstone had in excess of 4 million visitors this year; a record. Sadly the company we worked for did not or could not supply our general store with enough help. Oh, my heart will miss it, to be sure.

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Lions and Tigers and RELATIONSHIPS, oh my!

Relationships…an extremely loaded word.  Blood related, work related, school related, marriage related, neighbor related, church (or community-common interest) related.  People add new dimensions to our lives and bring out latent gifts, strengths and weaknesses.  Some relationships we tolerate, some we pursue, some we lose.  It is an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good through them all.

Many of our relationships bring with them expectations and as time passes, some of these expectations need to change – like parent/child or husband/wife because they are not realistic or because of each other’s personal growth or lack thereof.

We put so much importance on some relationships that we do things in opposition to our own well-being in order to keep that relationship.  There are actually some people who will take advantage of your need for their love and acceptance…it is not totally their fault, we have allowed it.

T. D. Jakes once wrote a sermon called, “The Gift of Goodbye”.  I have had to learn that gift because I wanted to be loved and accepted at any cost.  Rejection or acceptance, I reasoned, was a reflection of my value.  It is a grand thing to learn that my value isn’t related to acceptance or rejection of any other human.  I have always been good at “The Gift of Hello”, and I hope I will never lose that gift from fear of rejection.

Although God doesn’t create all relationships to last forever, He does create them for a reason. In God’s sight, there are no failed relationships, because He places every person and every relationship in your life for a reason. It might be to teach you a lesson or help you grow, but you must understand there is a purpose for every person He places in our path. The lessons you learn from each person or relationship will prepare you for what God has planned for you in the future. It’s very important that you allow God to place the right people in your life, according to His plan. God will often use people and relationships to build you up and make you stronger so that you will be able to handle the plans He has for you. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  –George Elliott

He has made everything appropriate in its time He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NASB)

Philippians 1:6 The Passion Translation
I pray with great faith for you, I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious expression of grace in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you through your union with him and will complete it at the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!

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