I remember reading one of Beth Moore’s bible studies on the book of Daniel and I found it to be really interesting when she talked about how people were named. Beth Moore explains that renaming is sometimes the devil’s blatant intent to change the entire identity of the person until the life matched the title (who the person is intended to be). God’s agenda when it comes to giving you a name, represents truth and all that is good. However, Satan and the world’s agenda represent lies, deception, and that which is false. When we constantly call ourselves other things that God has not called us, it is a constant offense against who and what God is calling us (Beth Moore). Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are four names in the bible that have within them a characteristic of God. Daniel – God is my judge, Hananiah – Yah has been gracious, Mishael – Who is what God is?, and Azariah – Yah has helped. Their names suggest to us very strongly who is the God of their lives. When the king changed their names, it was a deliberate attempt to echo constant contradictions of the truth regarding their God (Beth Moore). Be extremely careful of the names you echo constantly to yourself, your children, or others – contradicting the truth of who you are in God, and what God calls you.
Things I was called as child that I soon began to believe because I heard them so much: You are a liar, you cannot be trusted, you are a thief, you are a whore, you are just hot between your legs, your hair is damaged, your hair is weak, your hair will not grow, I do not like you, you are stupid, you act like you are so desperate to have a boyfriend, the list goes on and on and on. These are just some of the ones that hurt me the most, but do not assume that I was a complete angel as a child. To put these statements into context, as a child I was a little thief and would steal candy and money mostly. Also, when I was fourteen years old, I lost my virginity to a boy who was two grades higher than me. So all of the “things” I was called, with exception of my hair, were based off of things I experienced at a very young age. What hurts the most is that I can remember the entire context of when these things were said to me and how I felt at the time. At fourteen years old I didn’t really know what a whore was or what being hot between the legs meant! I slowly began to believe these new things that I was being called for who I thought I really was. It affected my life more than anyone would ever know, and even into my adult life. Things got much better when I left home for college at seventeen years old to play basketball. Basketball saved me because it started to give me new names – great athlete, strong academic student, and a person with strong work ethics. It didn’t matter if I was a whore or not because basketball didn’t discriminate against me for losing my virginity at fourteen. Basketball didn’t care if my hair was damaged and wouldn’t grow because I could play so well and fit in with every other girl on the court.
Even with basketball there to help give me new names, the bruises from years of hearing other names were still there and never healed. I was in a mentally (and sometimes physical) abusive relationship when I first went off to college. I didn’t believe I was pretty enough, I believed my hair was damaged and wouldn’t grow, I believed my siblings hated me and thought I was stupid, and I just didn’t believe I was good enough…ever. I didn’t have anyone (except basketball) to tell me any different of who I was. News flash! At some point in my life, I decided that I wasn’t going to accept any of the crap names I was given in my childhood. I think it wasn’t until I turned 30 years old, I honestly cannot remember, when I decided that I wasn’t the person with those degrading names. Do you see how long something like that can stick with someone when they do not have anyone to tell them any different?! As a child I sometimes did stupid things and made bad decisions, but isn’t that what children do? Children do dumb things and make bad decisions. So what! Adults still do dumb things and make bad decisions.
Now that I am 36 years old, I understand that I went through those things for a reason. God has still used me in many ways despite what the devil tried to use to destroy me as a young girl. Being a thief as a child was a huge deficit in developing my character, and it put me in situations where I couldn’t be trusted. Rightfully so! To whom much is given much is required, and thank God He had delivered me from that early on because He has given me much financially to be responsible for. God had to deliver me from that quickly because he had put me in positions where I had to handle the finances of others, I am a huge tither and giver, and I love to support Godly causes.
I cut my hair completely off on November 16, 2013, and tt was an out of the blue split decision. After adding up the receipts I had from wearing sew ins for about two to three years – it was over $10,000 total I spent on purchasing hair and getting the hair put in every appointment. Now how ridiculous is that?! For years, my hair received so much negative attention and mentally I absorbed it all. Constantly, daily, and it felt like the negative names were never-ending. That was until I taught myself how to do my own hair by keeping braids in it. I got so good at braiding hair that I was braiding my own hair faithfully, the hair of my basketball teammates and other girls on campus! I am so glad that God has redeemed my life 1,000 times over. For one, black hair is expensive to get done and secondly my hair doesn’t define who I am – not anymore.
Please make the conscious effort to not speak (or call contradictory names) negative things over your children and young people; this is something I remind myself of to this day. This is something that I get to practice doing while teaching because some students lack confidence. I remind them that they are not stupid or dumb; they are very smart and will succeed in my course. I tell them that my own life is a testimony – my hair is a testimony, my career is a testimony, my charity work is a testimony! The devil will often try to get me thinking on the things I was called in my childhood to start me on contradicting the truth of who I am in God, and what God calls me. Not today devil! God is not going to allow me to be used in any way that He has not permitted!
Quote: “It’s shame that gets us killed. Shame is the anchor, the heaviest burden to carry from the battlefield” ~Mark Lawrence
Scripture: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NLT)
Song: All He Says I Am (featuring Cody Carnes) by Gateway Worship