You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”Isaiah 62:2
Her name was Beckon Fretfulness. Everyone knew they could depend on her to listen to their hard stories. After all, her life seemed easy compared to the difficulties that most of her friends found themselves in. They begged her to help them sort it all out, and she was only too happy to try. Of course, she said that she was praying for them, but most of them told her, “Go right ahead, pray for me all you want. Just don’t expect me to understand what you really mean when you ask me to pray with you.” Then there were those who became adamant, “Don’t you dare pray for me! I don’t need any of that religious mumbo-jumbo.”
So Beckon spent her nights fretting aloud her prayers to the Lord of All Names. She loved Him more than life itself, and knew that He was more concerned for her friends than she ever could be. And her days were filled with so many different ways of helping and caring that she scarce had time for herself. Barely a word of complaint was heard from her lips though. While most around her carried their worries and concerns to her, they would never have suspected the storm of fretting that was stewing inside of her heart.
His name was Borrow Playfulness. Everywhere he went, he invited others to join in his playfulness. Baseball and running were his first loves. When his legs carried him over the trails and the tracks, he felt like he became part of the wind itself. But when a jealous play-mate vowed to take him out, those same legs were suddenly stilled. No more sports for Borrow.
But he soon found another avenue for which his playful family could be proud. The stage seemed like a second home for him. Surely his family would approve of his choice for playing? … They did not, and were none too quiet about voicing their displeasure. Surely Borrow could find a more suitable way to spend his life? He watched the playful members of his family who had lost the names with which they had been born. Too many had given up the quest. Too many had tucked their tails and followed the ways of their Serious relatives. He vowed to never take up their name.
And then one day Beckon and Borrow’s path collided. Borrow had found a new life when a schoolmate had told him there was another way of living, a higher calling than the despair that his Serious family had evoked in him. Borrow had surrendered his life to the Lord of All Names, to the One who had given His own life for him. Borrow Playfulness met Beckon Fretfulness sitting under the oak trees at his first Youth Gathering. All the stories in their book, the Word of the Lord of All Names, overwhelmed him. But Beckon gladly listened to Borrow’s stories, new stories that no one in her youth gathering had ever encountered. And she gladly read aloud her favorite stories from the Book that meant life to her, while Borrow began to soak in those words that the Lord of All Names had given them.
Beckon was smitten. And Borrow was put to the test. The Lord of All Names asked if his surrender would go so far as accepting the new name that he was meant to carry? Borrow said yes, and wondered how he could ever share his life with anyone, since the Lord of All Names had asked him to take up the name Borrow Alone. And Beckon was asked the same question too, only the Lord of All Names asked it in a different way for her. Would she be willing to take up the new name Beckon Along? How could their names possibly be connected? Were they meant to separate?
The Lord of All Names brought them to His Book again, and as they were reading, suddenly they knew. What the world would see as opposite, Borrow Alone and Beckon Along, were actually the most perfect names that the Lord of ALL Names could have created for them. Neither was meant to be fretful or playful only, neither was meant to be traveling alone or along with just anyone. Their gifts were meant to be joined to the LORD alone, as they traveled along His pathway for them.
Beckon Along still listened to the woes of those she loved, but now she pointed them along to the Lord of All Names. She spoke of her fretfulness with Borrow and he pointed her to the Lord above, the Lord alone. Borrow Alone found such joy as he found new ways to point to His Lord. The fretfulness and the playfulness had found their matches, as they shared their love together. What had eaten away at Beckon during the night-time hours, now became a song of joy to sing to her Lord. And what had been a yoke of despair over Borrow, now became a joy of creativity as He lived for His Lord.
And the Lord of All Names looked down in love, for they carried His name as their banner.
“He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me].Song of Songs 2:4 AMP
Into a rough week of transitions and painful flares, God gave me this allegory, and then a poetry prompt was given at Chronic Joy just a few days later. Both, reminders that HIS purposes have prevailed in our story from the very beginning of our lives together, and not one moment has been wasted.
But sometimes I forget that. It is then that He pulls me in closer to His heart. I feel condemnation when I forget such a basic truth. But there is no condemnation in my Jesus.
He whispers His love, and calls me to come closer again.
Worry births cement
My feet refuse to move but
CHRIST bids me follow
Come! His voice is clear
Fear not the days ahead nor
Fret the path behind
Abandon with JOY
Watch My will unfold see the
Greatness of your God.
Chapter 5. ~~1987 – 1990~~
If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.
The comfort of reuniting with our family and friends in the Midwest brought an excitement to us that had been lacking for months. We stepped out and watched the Lord pull together a new ministry focused on the curriculum. Just as our new baby daughter was born, the new ministry was born as well. Provision came in from unexpected places and opportunities opened to present the new curriculum.
We excitedly shared with several groups, but again, the way before us became hazy. When the invitations trickled down to nothing, and the provision faltered once more, our old doubts returned to remind us that we had never really found the answers to our questions. As our youngest child had her first Birthday, we came to the end of our own answers, and we knew that we had to make another change.
We felt God leading us to a small town in Ohio even closer to our families. As we closed down the small traces of the curriculum ministry and said goodbye to our friends who had so generously let us live with them, we realized that a deeper kind of compassion had been birthed in us. For two years we had no home of our own, giving us a brush with homelessness that we never would have known except for God’s pathway. Another bit of my stubborn churchy-ness was falling away.
The Scripture took on a different meaning for us as we faced the truth that God doesn’t always work all things together for the good that WE think should come about. In fact, the good sometimes looks pretty awful. But God is more concerned with the deeper good that is in HIS heart for us. He was reminding me that a song from my teenage years was part of my journey now. The words echoed in my heart as we drove from Minnesota to Ohio: “For whatever it takes to be more like You, that’s what I’ll be willing to do…”
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
As we tried to sort out our place in the small town of Northwest Ohio, we plunged into a different venture and started a small computer graphics business. Fresh surrender washed over me again, as I looked for work yet another time. Placing my dreams for homemaking back in the hands of the Lord, I asked Him to show me more of His purposes in this place.
Then as the graphics business slowly began to bring in a few clients, we found the Body of Christ in the faces of our neighbors. As we had laid down our official “Pastoral License,” since we were no longer in a formal place of ministry, we began to see a different kind of ministry happening in the small offices and with neighbors as my husband designed graphics for them.
And when I landed a job with the Government’s Farm Bureau, I listened to farmers share their stories with me: the agony of a deep drought destroying their crops, the anger of being on the abyss of losing their very livelihoods, the despair of watching their family farms destroyed. And I found my heart being stirred to look at the deeper faithfulness of a God who had carried us through our own distress. Praying for those desperate farmers who were grasping for any help revealed to me a new burden. We were not alone in the questions we had carried. Where is the provision of God when the bottom falls out around us? We began to feel the grace of God blanketing our hearts with an answer met in only one word: HIMSELF, the Lord Jesus carrying us through.
Have you found your old ways of judging and looking at a situation being shattered?
Could it be that God is beginning to tear down your ways of directing your own path?
Perhaps He is showing you that He wants to carry you through the hazy ways. Perhaps He is in the process of breaking down your heart of stone to bring you His own heart of flesh.