I originally wrote this back in September 2007 and sent it to my mother for her to read. Today, she forwarded it to me asking if I still had a copy. I'm sure I do somewhere (between moving, switching computers, etc.), but after re-reading it, I decided to post it here. ~ LB
Have you ever been in the midst of some mundane task, like…say, making coffee, and God gifts you with an insight? That happened to me a few days ago while I was…yes, making coffee.
Names are important to me. I like to try to find the meaning of my friends' names, both the first and the middle. Each name has an individual origin and meaning, and it's neat to combine the separate meanings into one that might make some sense. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. After that, I like to try to find a spiritual application that I can put to the name and what it means. Again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
That doesn't mean that God doesn't have an His own application to ascribe to a name, and I believe He gives our parents our names for a reason. It's just not obvious to us at the time. And sometimes we think we know, but later it turns out that it is not what we first thought it meant.
My name is Lauren Margaret. "Lauren" means "victorious," and "Margaret" means "pearl." Together, they could be either "victorious pearl" or "pearl of victory." I prefer "pearl of victory." It seems to be more definite, more clear, about who I am in Christ.
When I first found out what my name meant, I was in high school. I pondered what it meant to me spiritually for a long time, because even then names were important to me, though I didn't know why. One day, while I was in the bath (yes, another mundane task), it occurred to me that it meant that I would have victory in certain areas of my life. "That's great!" thought I in my naiveté. "There's hope for me yet!"
Little did I know that the certain areas in my life in high school were quite trivial compared to certain areas in my life in college and beyond. How was I to know at the time that God would continue to work on me? I didn't have a true perception of Who God really is.
I'm getting there. While I was making that coffee, God spoke to me. He said, "You know how you thought your name meant you would be victorious?"
"Thought, God?" I fill the coffee maker with water. "What do you mean by that? I still do think it."
"It's time to change that." He answered as I measured out the coffee beans. "The victory has already been won through My Son. You know that."
I pause. "Yes, I do. But we have our own victories to win, right? I mean, You hone our character through these situations You place us in. When we finish one trial, and learn what we need to, then we've had a victory."
I can feel Him gently smiling at me as I turn on the coffee grinder. "Dear child," He says. "It's not about the victories you win. It's not even about the trials you go through. It's about becoming holy and pure, like My Son. What happens to make a pearl?"
I recount in my head the story of how the oyster makes a pearl. Instead of spitting out an irritation, the oyster covers it with a fine layer of mother of pearl. Over time and after many layers, what was once an irritation becomes a beautiful and luminous pearl, shining with a radiance that seems to emanate from it's very core. That's when it hit me.
I am an irritation because I am sin. I was born sin and my life is sin. Because of God's incredible and beautiful love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on that Cross. His blood covers us, covers our sin with grace. Over time, our sin is not visible to God anymore. For each trial we go through, we receive more grace. And more grace. His grace is limitless!
"Yes, child," He says into my heart. "It's not about the victories. It's about what My Son does for you. When I finish with you, you will be the most beautiful pearl, and you will shine with the radiance of Christ, Who is the core of your being. That is what your name means. It is who you are to Me. My Pearl."
Sunday, April 04, 2010
When I read this post by Pete Peterson at The Rabbit Room, it brought some memories regarding Easter to mind.
When I was younger, we attended a certain Episcopal church in East Tennessee, and that is the only church I remember where we followed the traditions of Holy Week. Even as a young girl, I remember the solemnity during specific services, especially Good Friday. I remember my mother instructing me about what happened during this particular service, and how at the end we had to leave the church in silence. It was the silence that had the impact on me. I remember hearing the people shuffling about in the almost-completely dark sanctuary (due to candles, except one, being extinguished during the service), the sound of their clothes rubbing, coughing, the sound of them picking up their belongings. We walked in somewhat of a line out of the sanctuary into the fellowship hall. I didn't understand it then, and when we reached the fellowship hall it felt like something lifted and I could be my usual self. As I thought about it in later years, I realize the significance of the darkness and the silence. When Christ died, even God, His Father, went into mourning.
Today, we celebrate His Resurrection. It is a true celebration because of the reason why He died and why He rose again – for us. So that we may have life in Him. Life everlasting. I can't think of a better reason to celebrate, can you?