"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


My name is Amanda. While you probably know that, you most likely do not know that my name means "worthy of love". I've known what my name means for as long as I can remember. In my grandma's house, she has a picture collage frame for each of her grandchildren, and stuck inside the frame of each was, for most of my childhood, a little wallet-sized card with the meaning of each grandchild's name. Mine was pink with roses on it, and it told me that my name meant "worthy of love". 

Worthy of love. 

The thing about my name is that I've had it for as long as I've been alive. I've actually pretty much had it since before I was even conceived, because my older brother was going to be named Amanda if he was a girl. Once he turned out to be a boy, my parents knew that their first daughter (me, the one and only) would be named Amanda. As a side note, had I been a boy (my parents didn't know our genders until we were born), I would have been Stephen ("crown").

I've had to identity "worthy of love" on my life since before I was even created. Is this significant? Or is my name just one that my parents picked and it happened to have a meaning that resonates with me? The thing is, the issue of my deserving or meriting love is not some sweet sentiment to me. This issue has been at the very core of the struggle of my heart for as long as I can remember. Though I grew up seeing those words on a little card by my kindergarten school picture, there was always a "but, am I really?" that followed. 

Jesus knew. He knew that this tender place in my heart would be a battlefield of the enemy. Telling me that I am deserving of love and worth loving was of such high priority to Him that He made even my name a testament to His Truth and the identity that He wanted to place on me. While I know that this is not always the case with people's names, I truly believe that Jesus chose to speak to me and plant Truth and hope in my heart in this way. In the times of the Bible, a name meant so much more than it does now. God would place huge destinies and life-altering identity onto His people by changing their names. Take Abraham, Sarah, Israel, Peter, and Paul, for instance. 

What is even more, God saw me and called me out as one who is worthy of love before I was knit together in my mother's womb. Before I knew Him or loved Him, He called me His child and stamped unwarranted and undeserved identity on me. Because the truth is, without Jesus' sacrifice washing my stains away, I'm undeserving and unworthy. Its only because He says that I'm worthy, that I'm enough, that makes it true. I haven't earned it.

Isaiah 43:1 is a promise that the Lord consistently speaks over my life: 
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

Later in the chapter, the Lord promises the people of Jacob/Israel (we see a name change highlighted in this very chapter!) that whatever storms and fires of life they go through, I AM is with them. He calls them BY NAME. Being summoned or known by name is the difference between having a relationship with someone and just being one face in a crowd of millions. Today, Jesus is calling you out of the crowd. He is calling you BY NAME. He chooses YOU. Out of everyone in the crowd you feel like you've disappeared into, He wants you, He delights in you.

Psalm 139:1-18

1O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
         You understand my thought from afar.
3You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
         And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before there is a word on my tongue,
         Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5You have enclosed me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
7Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9If I take the wings of the dawn,
         If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10Even there Your hand will lead me,
         And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
         And the light around me will be night,”
12Even the darkness is not dark to You,
         And the night is as bright as the day.
         Darkness and light are alike to You.
13For You formed my inward parts;
         You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Wonderful are Your works,
         And my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
         And in Your book were all written
         The days that were ordained for me,
         When as yet there was not one of them.
17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How vast is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
         When I awake, I am still with You.

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