Knowing God by Naming Names

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We take names very seriously in our house.

The Hubby and I pored over the meanings and bible verses as we chose names for our three sons. We prayed, asking God to guide us in choosing each name, and He answered each time. In our dining room, a print hangs on the wall with the first and middle name of each boy along with the bible verse that goes with that name.

A name holds so much. In our society, your name is your identity. When people know your name, you feel valued and important. You feel known.

My kids get this feeling. When they started at a new school this year, hearing another classmate call them by name, inviting them to play at recess or sit with them at lunch, was a huge victory.

God wants our kids to know Him in this way. He wants them to know His NAMES (yes, plural) and to call out to Him with those names. And I believe when our kids know the variety of names by which we can call God, they will know Him even better. As it says in the Bible:

Those who know your name put their trust in you. —Psalm 9:10

Knowing God helps us, and our kids, trust Him better. That’s a pretty awesome reason to get to know His names, right?!

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What names of God should you share with your kids first? Let’s start with these:

Immanuel

This is a name we hear a lot around Christmas time, but I like to keep in my mind year round. “Immanuel” means “God with us.” Before my kids know about all the ways God works in their lives, I want them to know He is always with them! Because God is with us, He can be all the things we need Him to be in our lives.

Rabbi

Jesus was often called “Rabbi,” which means teacher. I understand not all kids have a good relationship with their teacher, but I’ve always connected with Jesus as a teacher and my kids do as well. He is not here to scold us, but to teach and guide us through His Word. The best teachers lead by example and we see that holy example all over the Gospels.

Jehovah-Jireh

“Jehovah-Jireh” is a name for God that means “God will provide.” I love this name because it is something we can be on the lookout for as a family. When we talk about God as our provider, we are also opening the eyes of our children to watch for how He shows up to provide in our lives. Whether it comes through meeting financial, physical, or emotional needs, I want all of us to be on alert for the care and faithfulness of God. He provides for each one of us, sometimes in unusual ways, but always abundantly and graciously.

We also think of God as our Shepherd, Comforter, Healer, Father, and Friend. He is the Great I Am. The names go on and on because He is everything we need and more. If you’re looking to share more about the names of God with your children, you will love I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God by Diane Stortz. This book, available for pre-order right now, offers bible stories, prayers, and devotions all centered around the names of God. It is perfect for family devotions or for your readers to enjoy on their own!

What names of God do you love?

 

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It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

This is the philosophy I live by when cleaning and organizing: it gets worse before it gets better.

When my desk area gets out of control with papers and books and an array of other things that shouldn’t be in a desk area (Legos, food wrappers, running watch…you just never know), I know the only way to tackle the mess is to spread it out all over the dining room in order to be sorted and organized properly. My husband would say it’s easier to keep it organized little by little as I go, but how is that fun?! (Truthfully, I’d really like to be able to operate his way when it comes to organizing. Maybe when I grow up.)

The “worse before better” mentality must be applied when approaching potty-training as well. Trust me – we’re nearing the end of this process as I type this. To be perfectly honest, I might have been okay with #3 staying in diapers a little while longer because diapers are easy. Diapers are convenient. And potty-training is neither easy nor convenient. I knew he had to be potty-trained, but I may have been dragging my feet a little as I thought about the time and energy that must be spent to get a kiddo out of diapers.

I put aside my fears two weeks ago and the potty-training began. It had been almost four years since my last experience, but I was suddenly thrown into the world of asking Double J every 15 minutes if he needed to go to the bathroom. Of running to the bathroom at any “sign.” Of coaxing him to sit on the toilet just a little longer so we wouldn’t be back there again in five minutes because he wasn’t actually done. Lord, have mercy.

Now, two weeks later, boy #3, our last, is now in underwear and I feel triumphant. I really do. But I’m honestly a little tired of all the time we’re spending in the bathroom. I’m reminding myself that this is part of the “worse” before the “better” of him being able to go to the bathroom independently. It’s a process and I know where we’re headed and that’s where I’ll keep my eyes fixed.

Sometimes itgets worsebefore itgets

The cleaning and potty-training have been real life, in-my-face examples of something God has been trying to teach me about my heart lately. I’ve been holding on to some ugly stuff for a while because I just don’t want to deal with it. The ugly stuff is stuff many of you are probably struggling with as well. It feels “easiest” to just push it aside to work through another day. Except “another day” never comes.

This weekend, as I was making my way through another toddler-bathroom ordeal, I realized my spiritual eyes are too focused on the right now, when they should be looking to the “better” God wants for me. I will have to face some hard truths, make some sacrifices, go through a lot of discomfort in the “gets worse” part of the journey, but I have to trust God that it will all be worth it. And I will have to keep declaring to Him, as one of my favorite songs says, “You’ve never failed me and You won’t start now.”

It may seem easier to slap on a smile and stuff my stuff deep down to handle in the future, but I want to rip off the bandaid today to face the worst, work through it with my Savior, and get to the best He has promised me. And I know a clean heart will feel even better than having that clean desk and potty-trained toddler!

Are you facing a “gets worse before it gets better” situation today? How can I pray for you?

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