Listen Jacob. Listen Israel—I'm the one who named you! Isaiah 48: 12, The Message
I confess a secret relief when reading Hosea, a relief that I was never born to his wife Gomer ... and never given a name like Lo-Ruhamah, (not loved) or Lo-Ammi, (not my people). I always felt those were harsh names given to children for the sake of the sermon. But a little further in this story, (Hosea 2:23) God declares that He will show love to the one called unloved, and He will say to those not my people, you are my people.
Throughout the scriptures, it is evident that names carry significance and that names are revisited. I do recall my own pregnant poring over name books in search of the perfect match to bestow upon each child, reflecting desires wished for their lives. One painful thing I know of names: no parent ever wishes to inscribe their child's name on a gravestone.
In my story of identity crisis, stumbling through grief, divorce and accumulated loss, God spoke powerfully through my renaming in a manner similar to that of Abraham, Sarah and Paul; where it amounted to a spelling change. After a lot of conversation with God, I was given a new name... Changed from Fehr to F-A-I-R-E—Faire, the same pronunciation as my name of the previous 30 years. The beauty of it ... gave me shivers as the words came to me ... FAIRE... the words given by the Spirit ... Faith And Identity Restored Eternally. A holy goose-bump raising moment. My identity as a beloved daughter by her Father was affirmed in this renaming. Identity and how we view ourselves impacts us as we relate to the world.
God continues to be in the business of moving us along in directions we should go. Now that my identity has been restored, I've creatively taken the 'R' to also stand for rest and renew. Just as soil needs rest to renew ... our souls need rest and renewing as well. As I write I feel I should add remember as another important meaning of 'R'. Affirmations need to be remembered in those days when amnesia of faith takes hold of our stressed minds. That is why we write things down, and why we share our stories. Sometimes people will remind us of what we have said, just when we need it most.
Recently, I've been challenged with a new question related to names/identities.
Is it good to be _______(me)?
Fill in the blank with your name. Is it good to be you/me? There was a time I wished I was someone else and not the mother of two children in heaven. Now, after life has moved to a better place, I'm back to the usual negative voices in my head ... the ones that tell me, I should do more, be more, be better ... etc. (We're all familiar with those critics lurking in our heads) ... and now I've been challenged to ask—Can I say ... It is good to be Jocelyn Faire? ... and Yes, I can say it. (Because I've been practicing)
From this affirmation, comes a freedom to move into new growth spaces that I believe the Spirit wants us to move into. As writers we know that we are always telling a story about ourselves, that is how we deal with situations ... and usually our mind wants to immediately categorize our stories (and often our lives) as good or bad ... I've been challenged to let the judgements go, (there are still troubles worldwide) but I want to affirm that it is good to be me. From there I believe I can open my heart further to the fullness of God. I believe as we open our hearts, we live more and more in the fullness of God's goodness, and as we declare and live it, we bring that goodness into other people's lives as well.
Here's my challenge to you: repeat the line out loud five times, with a different emphasis each time— It is good to be ___. It is good to be____. It is good to be_____.
It is good to be Jocelyn. It is good to be your name. Sometimes it is just good!