Growing up did you have a nickname? Over the years I’ve been called “Tidy-Heidi” or “Heidi-Ho” but my favourite one is what my friend Shaunie Brown calls me… “Heidelein.” It has no prophetic or profound meaning, but when Shaunie calls me by that name I feel accepted and cherished. I treasure that name in my heart.
The names people call us have an acute affect on our identity.
The names people call us have an acute affect on our identity. Sticks or stones may break our bones and disparaging names always do hurt us. If I were to tell you a story in the Bible about a “bleeding woman” you would immediately know whom I’m talking about. She was that nameless woman brave enough to push through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. The name of “bleeding woman” was her identify for 12 years and she was desperate for healing.
How about the lepers? During Jesus’ time lepers were condemned, cast away from society and were called “unclean.” In fact, leprosy meant that the diseased person had to tear his clothes, dishevel his hair and put a covering over his upper lip and shout “unclean, unclean.” Put yourself in the lepers shoes; isolated from society and your identity is “unclean.” It wrecks my heart to even write this.
What were some of things shouted out to you during your informative years? “You’ll never amount to anything.” “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” “Can’t you get anything right? ” “What is wrong with you?” Perhaps you internalized your own name of: stupid, incompetent, hopeless, disorganized or fill in the blank….
Back to the “bleeding woman.” When Jesus’ turned around and saw that the “bleeding woman” had touched his garment He said to her:
Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:22).
Wow, he called her daughter! This is the first time in the gospels that Jesus called someone “daughter.” Jesus did not see her as the “bleeding woman” but as “daughter.” This woman reached out to Jesus, was healed and her identity changed instantly.
The “bleeding woman’s” name was now “daughter.”
The leper? When he encountered Jesus he asked to be made well: “I want to,” he said, “Be healed!’ (Matthew 8:3). Immediately he was healed and was no longer “unclean.” His healing didn’t just change his name it changed his identity. Now he’s “clean” and allowed back into society to live out a normal life.
What about you? Do you also need an encounter with Jesus to heal you from self-imposed names of past shame, condemnation, guilt or failure? It’s hard for women to comprehend that our inadequacies and failures do not shape our identity. Shame is not your name. Failure is not your name. You are a daughter of the King, with a high calling and purpose. In spite of ALL of our inadequacies we are leaders.
Failure is not your name.
Through the power and authority through Christ we are to live out our prophetic calling and unclean names have no power to stop it. Jesus knows your name; he has it engraved on the palm of His hand, died for you so that you could be called his “daughter”. That’s who you are.
What self-imposed negative name do you call yourself?
Give it to Jesus so that you can be healed and know you are His “daughter.” Exceedingly, extravagantly and unconditionally.