Last week Stephanie talked to you about names. I’m going to continue that conversation for this Faith-Full Friday.
Do you love your name? Have you always loved it?
Well, I hated my name when I was a little girl. It was a boy name. I mean who names their brand new baby girl “Jamie”? Well, apparently the parents of two other little girls that attended Four Oaks Elementary in 1982, only their names were spelled “Jaime” and “Jami”.
I asked my dad where he got the name. Without hesitation he replied, “the bionic woman.” Jaime Sommers was a fictional character in a TV series in 1977, the year I was born. At least he could have spelled my name like hers or like the other girls in my class. At least then people would have known I was a girl. Lindsay Wagner was the actress that played the bionic woman. I looked her up today. She was very pretty. I can see why my dad liked the name.
I don’t feel pretty. Not today. Not while I write this. Not on the outside. I’ve gained a lot of weight since I got married (I mean a lot). But for some crazy reason, I feel beautiful on the inside. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last month made exactly five years since my first date with Eric Henderson. We were married 18 months later and my name became Jamie Lynn Henderson. Before that my name had been Jamie Lynn Adams. It had been that for 35 years. Through childhood, teenage years, and two other marriages, my name had remained the same: Jamie Lynn Adams. I used to joke about how I wouldn’t change my name until I met a man I respected as much as my dad.
The truth is that I think I was scared that changing my name would mean losing my identity, whatever that was. I was scared of letting down my walls. I was scared of belonging to someone else, or letting someone in. I’m not sure there’s a difference. I had been hurt so many times, abandoned by people who were supposed to love and protect me. I was terrified. But those are stories for another day.
Today love is in the air. Valentine’s Day has turned into Valentine’s Week for Eric and me. We have escaped to the beach for a few days of quality time with no kids and no work. We like to take some time away every few months to appreciate what God has done in our lives. You see the moment Eric walked into my life, everything changed.
It was the first time that I had seen Jesus in a man. Eric did everything within his power to love me unconditionally. He made it his mission to provide for me and my two kids. He became protector and friend. I married him on June 6, 2014. I couldn’t get to the social security office fast enough. I just wanted to have his last name. I wanted to belong to him. Not one time in four years has that changed.
You see, even though my name was Adams when I met Eric (the same as when I met my first two husbands) and my looks really hadn’t changed much since my mid-twenties, I was a completely different person on the inside, and for the first time, I was ready to give up my identity. I was ready to allow him to be the head of the family, to be the man of the house, to make decisions for me and my children. I wasn’t scared anymore. I was actually excited!
What changed? Why was I no longer afraid? How could I be so trusting? That’s easy. My identity was no longer found in who I was, who I was with, or even what my name was. It was found in Christ.
I can trust Eric, this amazing man God has given me, because I trust God. I can let Eric make decisions because I know no matter what, God has his back. I can trust Eric to protect me because if for some strange reason he can’t, God will.
But so far he has. He tucks me in at night like a little girl. He kisses me on the head every morning as he leaves for work. He calls me beautiful and baby and sweetie. I love when he calls me those pet names.
I used to have a very different set of names rolling around in my head. Names like fattie, stupid, worthless, aggravating, nuisance, obligation, and nobody. I felt like no one in the world would ever want me. Some days those names try to creep back in. But they don’t stand a chance against my tag team heroes: Jesus and Eric.
Between the words I hear from Eric’s lips and what I read in God’s Word, I know that I’m loved. I know that I belong. I know that I have a purpose. I can now see that all of the hurts I experienced as a child and as an adult have been to prepare me to help children who struggle with the names that are rolling around in their heads.
Almost daily I meet children who are struggling with the same abandonment issues that I have struggled with my whole life. I can tell them now with no doubt and no hesitation that “God puts the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). He promises to be a “father to the fatherless” and a “defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5). They aren’t just words. I’m living proof.
I realized something this past Saturday as Eric, Jordan, and I got out of the van after returning from a birthday party. It was dark outside. The stars were beautiful. I was so happy to be home. It was my house. I have lived here for almost four years. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. As a matter of fact, it’s the longest I’ve been in a relationship.
Talk about Faith-full Friday!! It wasn’t until I met Jesus that I even began to understand what the word faithful meant. It’s a name I’ve added to my list of things that I choose to believe about who I am and my character. I have learned to be faithful because Jesus has been faithful to me.
I choose to be faithful to Eric and he has chosen to be faithful to me. I have best friends that are amazing (too many to count or name but there are Elizabeth, Amanda, Josie, Jessie, Jennifer, Vanessa, Stephanie, Lori, Olivia, Chelsea, Teresa, Brandi….well, you get the idea). They all have one thing in common: Jesus! These amazing people God has placed in my life remind me of who I am if I forget. They tell me I’m chosen, beloved, redeemed, blessed, accepted, righteous, wise, and forgiven. I’m no longer condemned. I love that I have faithful friends.
I had a rough day this past week (yes, even “good” Christians have rough days). A certain song came on that reminded me of my sister and I began to miss her terribly (note to self: never try to fall asleep while listening to country music). My sister passed away ten years ago and sometimes it just hits me out of the blue. Just one friend messaged me to see if I was okay. That was all it took. Just one faithful friend. It turned my whole day around.
Today I issue a Valentine’s Week challenge to you (future faithful readers of Share His Peace blog entries): Be faithful to a friend today. Make your name count for something. Be the kind of friend (wife, mother, sister) that you wish you had. Be Jesus in the flesh to someone today. It could change their life.
Let me pray over you:
Father, I ask you today to breathe new names into the hearts of every person reading this. Call them yours. Call them loved. Call them your children. Tell them you will never leave them or abandon them. Guide them to your Word and let them read it for themselves. Father, I also ask that you will send someone on this earth to be a living, breathing example of faithfulness to each one of them. I beg you to shower their hearts with peace and joy. Teach them to be faithful to others. Teach them to embrace their new names and live lives worthy of them. Help me and them to pursue our purpose and trust you through every unknown. I love you Father and I give you the glory for everything you have done and are about to do! Jesus, thank you that I am Yours and You are mine!
In Jesus Name,
I’m so glad you joined us this week!
Join us back here on Monday to meet our friend Yvette!