your secret name read-along (week 3)

Welcome to Week 3! A lot has happened in the last 7 days. Last Tuesday my friend Joanne (38) had a stroke. You can check out her blog for updates from her husband Toben and practical ways you can help.

Your prayers have blessed me so much, and I know her family can feel them. THANK YOU. Please keep praying for Toben, Joanne, Audrey, Emma, and Joanne’s parents and sister.

So, wow. Chapters 5, 6, and 7. There was some RAW stuff in these pages, huh. I applaud Kary for having the courage to share some of the darkest times in his life.

Chapter 5

I think because I come from such a “functional” family and have had so few real “problems” in my life that I can sometimes pretend that life isn’t messy, that there aren’t people suffering very deeply from all kinds of physical and emotional wounds. But God has been opening my eyes lately to suffering not only in places like Cambodia but in the hearts and lives of people I know and love right here in Columbus, OH. And in my community of online friends (YOU).

That’s why I wanted us to read this book together. While it’s not typically the kind of book I’d choose, I had a sense that it might resonate in a big way with some of you. And it has.

On page 61, Kary talked about how it can be hard to be authentic in a place like a church or Christian college that “stereotypically punish prodigals and reward plastic performances.” He says that in places like these reside, “few pilgrims bold enough to voice their questions and express their struggles.” Any thoughts or personal experiences to share? Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?

Chapter 6

“Unsuccessful in securing his own Secret Name, Satan… has infiltrated earth, wooing us away from finding our Secret Name in the only legitimate place–within a relationship with the heavenly Father.” (74)

Kary suggests that Satan tempts us to carve our own path and manufacture a Secret Name by our own strength. Have you done this? Are you doing it even now?

This might be a good place to address what some of you have been concerned about–the correlation between the “Secret Name” talked about in this book and the “white stone with a new name written on it that no one knows except the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17). Is it a valid comparison?

I personally think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that we can know what’s going to be written on that stone before it’s given to us, but I’d like to know what YOU think. At any rate, I think the idea of forsaking your given names and moving into all GOD has for you is a powerful and amazing thing, regardless of whether we call it something catchy like “Your Secret Name” or not.

Chapter 7

I’ll bet all of us can relate to a time when God stripped us of everything we were clinging to for security and forced us to lean fully on him. Anyone brave enough to share about this kind of experience in your own life?

You know the drill. Answer the questions in bold if you’d like (or just share any thoughts you had as you read). Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a copy of Mark Buchanan’s new book, Spiritual Rhythm (one of my favorite authors–can’t wait to read this one myself!). Anyone who links to his/her own blog post will be entered 5 times. Congratulations to Nina R. and Kelly S., our winners for weeks 1 and 2!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

71 thoughts on “your secret name read-along (week 3)

  1. learn piano online

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  2. lisa

    okay … finally getting to post my reply too. better late than never, eh?

    Any thoughts or personal experiences to share? Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?

    i remember coming to a new church several years ago after i had graduated from college. it was a large church and i had graduated from a christian college and had been saved for some time. since i was new and not many people knew me i was asked quite a bit in one way or another if i was saved. i felt questioned about my music choices, my dating choices, so many things. i felt like i was an outsider and they were testing me to see if i could ‘come in’. it made me want to put on the ‘show’ of being the ‘good little christian girl’ who did was and did all the things that all the other young people in the church did. listened to only christian music, never dated (or God forbid had ever kissed a boy … gasp!), dressed a certain way, only watched certain movies, etc. i fit in well for a while but i felt so fake and pushed down. definitely not free. now several years later, i feel like i’ve found myself again and am able to separate some of that legalism from God.
    wow that was long!

    1. Lisa

      Found this verse in the message to speak Gods truth for freedom and grace …
      Matt. 11:28-30
      “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or I’ll-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

  3. Mandy

    I’m a little bit behind the game but catching. Just bought the book the other day.

    Even though I have a mostly girl’s name (there are some men named Mandy – Mandy Patinkin is one), for a long time growing up I thought I looked like a boy. I happen to resemble my dad and every time someone noticed (which was often when I was a kid), they would say, “You look just like your father!” which, to me, meant, “You look like a man!” It’s taken a while to get over that. In high school and college I wore a lot of XL men’s shirts (I’m a misses’ size medium) and men’s jeans. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that my Given Name MAN started to be replaced by WOMAN.

    Another Given Name I’ve fought against is LAZY. I was told I was lazy when I failed to complete chores up to standard. I’ve fought against this name by becoming a DOER. I’m addicted to doing things.

    The third major Given Name that has come to my mind as a result of this book is FAILURE. Mistakes weren’t tolerated well when I was growing up. If you made a mistake, you might be called STUPID or FAILURE. To counter this, I’ve been striving for the PERFECT given name. As in perfectionism.

    And the final one I will share is: MESSY. I used to get carsick a lot growing up and did a lot of vomiting here, there, and everywhere. Now I have a vomiting phobia linked to the message, “You made a mess and it’s your fault.” Now being CLEAN is very important to me. Compulsive hand washing has been a problem. But I’m getting better! God is working on me.

    I don’t believe we will know 100 percent of what is written on that stone we will receive – our True Name – during this life on earth. But I do believe that the journey on which God takes us is the process of learning that name (or identity). We can know more and more of why God made us the way He did and what He wants us to do with our lives. We can take steps along the path that bring us closer and closer to knowing Him – and closer and closer to knowing our true and redeemed selves. Replacing the lies we’ve believed the with the truth – that’s where it’s at!

    Now the questions:
    “Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?”
    Yes. And it is true that there are groups of people who would not accept me if they knew the real me. But that’s okay. Not everyone will accept me. My husband and I were recently rejected by long-time “friends” who do not like the fact that we are living for God. One of the lies we’ve faced is “I need everyone to accept me.” This kind of lie leads quickly to compromising values and trying to please people. We are learning that we don’t need or want to be accepted by everyone. God accepts us.

    I pretty much already answered the questions on Chapter 6.

    “I’ll bet all of us can relate to a time when God stripped us of everything we were clinging to for security and forced us to lean fully on him. Anyone brave enough to share about this kind of experience in your own life?”

    I can relate. I can’t share all the details, though, because it involves another person. Basically, my income was stripped away and I learned that someone dear to me had been secretly struggling with an addiction which threatened our relationship. I learned that I can’t lean on people or money or anything but God. It was the beginning of a time of spiritual growth for me.

  4. ellen

    It is time you and I become aware of and stand firm in who we are in Christ and exercise the power God has given to us! Stay the course. Do not allow anything to get in the way of your development. God is doing great and mighty things in your life (1 Corinthians 15:57).

  5. Melissa

    Answering this question: Any thoughts or personal experiences to share? Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?

    I remember doing a lot of this in grade school and college, and still carry these scars today. I tend to not trust people easily because of the times from grade school, remember, when your friend and you would share your crushes? But in my case my friends would tell everyone and embarrass me. I am thankful today for having friends who I can trust, who know the real me, but I believe all people struggle with this.

  6. Heather

    Kary suggests that Satan tempts us to carve our own path and manufacture a Secret Name by our own strength. Have you done this? Are you doing it even now?

    Yes! I have done this probably more than I would like to admit. One example of this was quite a few years ago between the time I graduated college and got married. I thought I could do life on my own not needing to seek what God wanted or needed me to do. I was choosing my own career path, hanging out with people that I shouldn’t have been among other things. It wasn’t working for me at all…I felt like I keep hitting a closed door. I was determined to get through those doors but God kept them closed tight. Eventually, I found the correct door and it was amazing! Am I doing it now? I would say no- not right now! 🙂

    1. Heather

      I meant to write more but I hit submit too early…so here’s the response to the next question.

      Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?

      Yes, Yes, and YES! I feel this way in so many areas. One is at work. I feel like my coworkers like me on the surface but I’m hesitant to let them know more about me becuase of the fear they won’t like me anymore or say things about me. The sad part is that I have been working at the same place for 6 years!! I also feel this way at church with sometimes. My husband and I have gone to the same church for over 7 years…we are now just getting plugged in. How sad is that? I am fearful that people won’t like me for who I am. I’m also hesitant to let them see the baggage that I carry b/c it’s not pretty. I do not have any close, close friends b/c I’m fearful that there will be something that will happen and I don’t want to endure the pain that may come with it. I know it’s crazy!

  7. Pingback: Kary Oberbrunner : Igniting Souls » Blog Archive » A beautiful, tragic community

  8. Nina

    1. Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?

    Yes, every day, all the time! I am a skeptic and a doubter, and it’s sometimes very uncomfortable to be among people who have a really strong faith. Although I must admit, when I share that with other Christians (which I usually do up front, because I’m allergic to the “has-it-all-together Christian” mask, probably because I wore it a lot as a young teenager), it usually tends to cause the other masks in the room to drop as well. Not always, but usually.

    And then there was the time in 7th grade that I got a mullet just so I could fit in and people wouldn’t be able to tell I was secretly an insecure little nerd … but past mullets are a very sensitive subject that I’d prefer not to discuss publicly! 😉

    2. Yes, I’ve been stripped of what I was clinging to for security … but I went the opposite direction and rejected God for many years. Since I came back to Christianity a few years, I haven’t had any major heartbreaks in life (except for a couple of bouts with severe depression). I do feel like I’m starting at square one right now, at 40 and with a “surprise” first child. My daughter has been a wonderful blessing, but this unexpected motherhood has also left me uncertain and confused about everything I *thought* I was supposed to do in life.

    I’d planned to write on my blog about these three chapters, but I had an 11-hour work day today, and I’m just too tired to do it. I’ll be sure to add my link if I’m able to post later this week.

    Thanks for posting such great questions!

    1. Marla Taviano

      “Past mullets are a very sensitive subject.” Hope you don’t mind that this sentence made me chuckle. 🙂

      No worries if you can’t post, Nina. Remember–we don’t have to have it all together. Seriously. There’s no performance guilt here.

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve loved getting to know you better these past few weeks!

  9. David Branderhorst

    Marla,

    Thanks for leading this discussion. It is great to see people working through this process and engaging God in a real way.

    I had the privilege of reading Your Secret Name last year, so I am probably a little deeper into this process than those who are reading this for the first time.

    Now that I have had several months to process what my secret name means and beat down heaven’s door with questions about it, I am completely convinced that my secret name is the same name that is written on the white stone. Your secret name is the truth about who God created you to be and how He sees you.

    The name written on the white stone is the name that God has given us. It is our true identity and it is written on a white stone to show our acceptance before Him. He accepts us for who He made us to be, not who we say we are. Ultimately, neither we nor the world are the final arbiters in deciding who we are. That right belongs to God.

    I’ve tried to give my secret name back to God and replace it with a smaller name. I’ve attempted to convince God that I can’t live up to the expectations of this new name. He simply responds with ‘No, child. This is who I made you to be.”

    Also, another word of advice (if I may). Don’t get hung up on the word “secret”. I have seen far too many people get stuck here and miss God’s blessing for them. In Rev. 2:17 it says “…a new name written on the stone, which no one knows but he who receives it.” The word “knows” in this verse means understand. In other words, your secret name isn’t secret in that no one else can know what it is. It is secret in that you are the only one who truly understands what it means. Two people can have the same secret name and yet it will mean entirely different things to each person based on their personality, background and spiritual gifts.

    Hope this is helpful. Blessings to all of you as you go through this journey.

  10. Mary Hancock

    I see myself on so many pages of this book! Having finally been faced with the utter end of everything and anything I had clung to from early childhood ..clawing for security, I watched it drive out of the path to our farm,and disappear down the country road, and felt all hope die in me. That very thing drove me to our God when I did not even know He was there! HE FOUND ME! I was not even looking for One I never heard of.
    OH! After so many years the hope of finding who I really am..my Secret name, if you will, stirs this old heart.
    Bless you .

  11. sandee

    …I use to feel I had a scarlett D (divorced) on my chest…when I was younger…when I attended traditional churches,….and they did not know what to do with single mothers….or older singles, for that matter, that were not looking to become a couple. I have since been set free from that..but I do remember how hard it use to be.

    God helped me let go of others narrow opinions and be accepted through his wide-open eyes.

    I have experienced times when what I held as dear, what I thought was my life plan, my soul-quenching answer, end up dissappearing. Not sure if it was God stripping it away, or if it was the sin of others that God allowed to work toward my good in the long run. Thought painful at the time, it did turn me closer to God.

    1. sandee

      I do have to echo Amy’s words…in being frustrated and impatient with plastic performances…… and craving people and interactions that are real and authentic! Mothering four children from diverse and broken backgrounds has brought to the end of myself so often, I can no longer smile and say..I am fine. I have to be real or die.

    2. Shelly

      “be real or die.” I like that. I feel that way too. As if air is sucked out of my lungs, gasping for breath if the charade continues. Breathe, easy, Sandee!! I am enjoying seeing the “you” you are! 🙂

  12. ellen

    First of all, all of the comments do make me think. I have a question about the question can someone show me a scripture that tells us that “God strips us of every thing we have.” I realize we sometimes lose what seems like everything to us — but does God to that — really — ???

      1. sandee

        I would have to say it is more a combination of a couple things.

        We live in a fallen world, where sin is prevalent. Often the actions of others (and sometimes ourselves) results in consequences that strip away what we might hold dear. Does God do that? I would say He uses is, could use it, in our lives, if we allow him to.

        The other is that our God is a jealous God…in a good way, loving us so much He is jealous that we experience the wholeness and fullness He knows can be ours in Him. When we try to make lesser things take the place of His life in us…He may gently woo us or He may more passionatley pursue us by allowing those things to no longer satisfy, or even dissappear.

        I think the combination of those two things, results in things being stripped from us.

        1. Amy

          God does allow things to happen to us…even the bad things…all for the sake of HIS glory and for our good. Did God want Abigail to die…I don’t think so…but he allowed it. Some people turn away and others cling. But in the process of ‘loosing everything’ often he is refining us…even though the process can be very painful. Don’t know if that helps, Ellen. And like Sandee said, we live in a fallen world.

          1. ellen

            I agree — but too many Christians ‘blame’ God for the stripping away. There is no scripture to document that — Jesus came to give us life — more abundantly and that is scripture — Satan came to steal, kill and destroy and that is scripture — We are more often than not responsible for the stripping away of things. My people perish for lack of vision – scripture — I just get queezy when God gets the blame for the terible things that happen.

          2. Marla Taviano

            Two thoughts. 1.) God doesn’t steal, kill, and destroy, but he does ALLOW bad things to happen to us for his ultimate glory. Case in point: Job. Another: when he allowed Satan to sift Peter like wheat. 2.) He DOES prune (John 15), refine, discipline us. And sometimes I think this involves some stripping.

          3. ellen

            Ok — Job takes some real discussion and won’t go there here — Would you allow something bad to happen to your children for any reason??? allow being the word — yes we cause things to happen — sin, disobedience and ignorance — and free will lets it happen. But God ever say — wow – that horrible situation will sure make me look good when I fix it. LOL — 2 – He does prune — but that does not include stripping the things we love — ie family from us — We can love something way too much – and that puts us out from under His umbrella — and Satan strikes — stripping us — God will pick up the pieces when we repent – give Him the Glory — and he will work all things for good for those who are called.

      2. Kelly S

        I’ve been studying Isaiah this year through BSF, and I feel like the idea of God stripping things away from the people of Israel and Judah has come up a number of times.

        Now, I don’t think that necessarily means that just because it says it in Isaiah means that He still does it today (that was written to a certain people in a certain time in a certain place), but I do think it helps us to see God’s heart and what He *might* do.

        A few examples of this that I can find as I just skim through right now are:

        Isaiah 3:1-7
        Isaiah 3:18-24

        In these cases, this seems to be punishment/judgment upon the people for disobeying God and putting all these other things in His place.

        I also think of Job saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).

        Finally, I think of the disciples being sent out without material possessions (Luke 10:4, although Matthew or Luke may explain this more explicitly). In this case, Jesus didn’t forcibly take these things away from them, but He asked them not to take these things and rely on them.

        Just a few things that come to mind…

  13. Amy

    Hi Marla,
    As you know, loosing Abigail has changed me, has changed Billy…has changed us. Because of her, we cling to Jesus in a way we never would have if she hadn’t died. Because of her, we know Jesus…we see his faithfulness, his mercy, his grace and we have his peace in a way we never would have if she hadn’t died. Because of her, we weep for heaven, we long for his return, we are uncomfortable in a way we never would have if she hadn’t died. To say we have been blessed by our daughter’s death doesn’t seem right unless you know Jesus. Even though we hate that she isn’t here and we miss her terribly…we wouldn’t want it any other way. Ever since her death, I get impatient and frustrated with those who put on plastic performances…longing for people who are real, vulnerable and not afraid to share their stuff. God has brought me on a journey where I have had to completely let go of what I thought my secret name was and he is teaching me, healing me and wooing me…all that matters is who I am in him.
    Love you, friend. xo

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love you so much, Amy. We will never know the full far-reaching ripple effect of Abigail’s life and death. I’m so thankful God chose you and Billy to be her parents, and I’m so excited to meet her and Joshua someday! (see Angie’s comment–the first one on this post–you two would like each other very, very much–I’ll introduce you someday!)

      1. Angie Cooley

        Hi Amy!
        Just wanted to let you know I’ve prayed for you tonight…and I’m pretty sure I agree with Marla already, not even “knowing” you yet. From one mommy with a little one in Heaven to another (who agrees SO very much with all of your thoughts!)…*HUG*

        1. Amy

          Thank you Angie. I hope to meet you someday…praising Jesus for Joshua and Abigail. Can’t wait to be with them and with Him someday.

    2. kary oberbrunner

      Amy,

      I feel deeply for you and Billy.
      I am praying for you.

      A quote that has helped me within my pain is….

      Before God can use a person greatly,
      He must wound them deeply.
      -Oswald Chambers

      There is much compassion in this Read-Along. I feel blessed to be part of it.

      -Kary

      1. Amy

        Thank you Kary. The day after we found out that Abigail was dying, my devotional said this…
        Christ never allows the hearts of his own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes. (referencing Rev. 21:3-5 and Romans 8:18). This goes hand in hand with the quote from Oswald Chambers, I think. I am thankful that her death has eternal purposes for us and many others. Like Marla said, we won’t know the full and far reaching ripple affect of her life and death until we get to heaven, but I am thankful that God has given us at least a glimpse.

  14. Rachelle

    Oh whoa, this was some heavy stuff.

    It took more than one life crisis before I finally quit wrestling God. And I know the specific moment when I was done. I had told God that I would give him my grief. He told me that wasn’t what he wanted. So I spoke aloud in a very frustrated tone and said, “Then what DO you want!” Into my heart he whispered, “Everything.” I had been “saved” my entire life, from the age of 5, and I was still clinging to everything but God.

    I can’t wait to dive into all of these comments!

  15. Shelly

    I fear anything I say would lead to sea of words that overflow my heart at this point. I’ll try to be concise. I will admit that the last sentence of chapter 4 shook me to my core, and I neglected the reading of our next chapters until the last minute. I fear still that “imposter” is what I am and I forced myself to read on. Thank God I did. Wow, do I identify with this book!

    In Bible college, my husband was the “pilgrim” and I was the “plastic performer”. I represented the college at one point, and we were both called in to have a discussion on how he should not let his “negativity” rub off on me because of my position. My husband retorted with a “This is Christian Communism” affirmation, and his comment was met with laughter and admonishment to reform. Thank God he never did. But me… I strapped on a thicker cloak of conformity and was shrouded in performance until about 2 years ago. I was ready to rip off masks, and the processes is well, just that. A process.

    You know, it’s funny that when I started blogging my thoughts last May, I started with a study on my given name (Shelly’s a nickname). I always felt gypped in that whole department. And I explained my need to identify with the woman in the Bible after whom I am named, since she gets such a bad rap most of the time. And then, I was introduced to the concept of this book before it was released, and I found these people on similar journeys thousands of miles from where I am.

    As I said, a sea of words flood my soul. All I can say is that, it may be a stretch to say the white stone and the name I hear whispered in my soul’s ear could possibly be the same, but the correlation of how significant that secret name is to me and my relationship with God is undeniable.

    1. Rachelle

      wow, beautiful words.
      “but the correlation of how significant that secret name is to me and my relationship with God is undeniable”.

    2. Marla Taviano

      Okay, so now I’m reeeally curious about your given name. 🙂 And my hubby got in trouble at my stricter-than-his Christian college when he came to visit me and insisted on wearing a ball cap in chapel. 🙂

      I love your last paragraph. Stretch or no stretch, God wants us to see us how HE sees us, not like the world sees us or we see ourselves.

      Thank you sooo much for sharing!

      1. Shelly

        Sorry, no mystery intended! 🙂 My given name is Michal… I guess another way I identify with this book. Kary is a girl’s name, Michal, a boy’s hence the need for “Shelly”. Seriously thankful for my grandpa who insisted on that one! 😉

    3. I am His beloved

      Powerful dear friend. I agree with Rachelle..your last statement brought a flood of emotion..”the correlation of how significant that secret name is to me and my relationship with God is undeniable.”
      He adores you, so do I.

  16. douglas

    you would think that reading ahead to the end would have given me the motivation to have my post written before today. but I have fallen into my given name of PROCRASTINATOR. it will be coming later.

    but in the meantime, I’ll share a short story. I lived in Korea in 1997. I went to make money and pay down my student loan. I had the fortune/misfortune of being there when the Asian Economic Crisis hit. I saw my Canadian equilivent drop 60% in value. At the same time, I was attending the church considered to be the largest congreagation in world. No offense to the church or congregation but I was losing my faith as well. It was a lack of fellowship.

    And quite the interesting parallel between my life and the events of the world. The economic crisis was precipitated by excessive debt. my crisis was brought about by living on the faith of my past.

    I was ready to come running home at the crash, but decided to honour my word in signing my contract to teach. and found a new church to attend. the Korean economy stabilized that year. and I came through it more spiritually mature. and the place where I received a new name, Han Kyoul.

    this Korean name means unchanged and was given to me by a friend who spent time getting to know me before bestowing my new name. She told me that she chose my name because she wanted me to remain unchanged for God.

  17. Denise

    My blog post basically answers your question for chapter 7. To this day I have moments where I have to work through my faith.

    Yet, as I grow and get involved in church and such – I realize God’s got a huge big wonderful plan for me…slowly but surely I am figuring out what my secret name is and letting go of certain given names.

    Love you!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Ha! You were leaving a comment for me at the same time I was leaving one for you.

      Your. Post. Was. AWESOME. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing such hurtful stuff that God can/will use for his glory. I love you, friend.

  18. I am His beloved

    Marla,
    I’ve been following your Read-A-Long group now for the past couple of weeks and I must say I have never met someone with such a gift in drawing out people through the tool of questions. You ask deep, powerful, thought provoking questions that beg a person to be drawn in to share. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that you are an investigative reporter by day and blogger by night!
    Today, you have me hooked by one of your questions. It was, I personally think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that we can know what’s going to be written on that stone before it’s given to us, but I’d like to know what YOU think.
    I hope you will entreat me as I answer that question. I don’t think that I have ever taken the time to respond as deeply as I am going to do (You are so remarkable with your questions!)
    I grew up in a home where my mother was the product of sexual and physical abuse. She never dealt with that deep wound and carried with her the name of “crazy”. She would bully me into a corner with her rage and tell me she hated me. Just the slightest thing could set off her rage in a moment. I never knew how long it would last or when it would come. When she was not raging she was the most loving, giving, Godly mother a girl could ask for. But the little girl in the corner who was me did not understand that her mother’s rage was not caused by her. Most all of my life I carried the name of “Unloved and failure” That name shaped every single choice I made from cutting the word HATE into my arm, to deep depression and suicidal thoughts, to promiscuous teen years to falling into a cult like church setting to finally an affair and almost divorce when I was 7 years into marriage. ALL of these choices were made out of the desire to answer WHO I WAS. I wanted the world to define who I was and so I set off on a journey to get those answers. The truth is that the world can never define who we are only Jesus, the lover of our soul can.
    This is where it gets amazing. About 2 years ago I was desperate for healing, my life was spiraling even though I wore the mask well and everything looked “perfect”. In my desperation and prayers one day I told Jesus I was sick of being Unloved and a Failure, I wanted a new name. I had never met Kary or read his book, in fact I think the idea of Your Secret Name was still an idea working itself through in Kary’s heart. In the beauty and stillness of that prayer Jesus whispered in my ear, “My precious child you are my beloved” I had been taught in church all my life that God does not speak to His children, that He only speaks through His word, but His voice was unmistakable.
    I will not belabor you with more details, this post is much too long, but at that moment I received a new name. To recognize who I am in Jesus has made every and all the difference. There are days when I am confronted with situations laden with desperate pain that I am reminded of the TRUTH of who I am. You see, the concept of Your Secret Name that is so powerful is the truth behind the name. So many of us live lies that the devil would love for us to believe.
    If we were to ever truly discover who we are in Christ, our “secret name” so to speak, there would be nothing to stop us! I can’t imagine all that could be done for the cause of Christ if believers caught this one TRUTH. Truly, truth makes us free. Knowing our name, sets us free! My ministry today is all about the truth of who we are in Christ! All glory goes to Jesus and absolutely YES we CAN know what is written on that stone! He wants to grant us a new name. We no longer have to be ensnared by lies but set free by truth.
    Marla, I hope I have not over stayed my welcome, I love the deep dialogue here and felt compelled to answer. I had not intended to get so wordy. You are just so beautiful for giving people a place to share. Much grace to you.

    1. Marla Taviano

      There’s no such thing as overstaying your welcome here, friend. Thank you so much for the depth of your words. I pray that many will take the time to read them today and feel God’s tug on their heart to move into all he has planned for them. Hugs to you!

  19. Brooke

    PS – After reading these two ladies pouring their hearts out, I’m tempted to go back and delete my post. I’m seriously superficial sometimes. and so blessed I should be ashamed of myself.

  20. Brooke

    after reading through more than just one chapter, i’m on board. the first chapter felt forced to me, but that’s only because i was too lazy to read on and get the bigger picture.

  21. Claudia Porpiglia

    Your first question made me smile…I came to Christ as a teen and dreamed of establishing a Christian family, one that honored and served God. I went to a Christian college (one my parents were not necessarily thrilled I went to) and immediately after college got married. Within a year the marriage disintegrated and suddenly I was an outcast. My home church disowned me, the Christian school I worked for let me go (they were in the middle of a building project and were afraid they might lose $$) and the one time I visited homecoming at my college I felt totally ostrasized. For years I avoided telling people I was divorced and I had no contact with my alma mater for about 15 years. I ended up reconnected through the alumni dept and became a representative in my area. This began a healing process that allowed me to open up about who I was and the path I have walked. I am no longer the person who is divorced but I have experienced divorce.

    The last question I can answer yes to multiple times. The divorce and abandonment that went with it drove me to Christ because I felt it was my only option. Raising a child who has severe mental and physical limitations has put me in the place of being totally dependent on Jesus Christ many, many times. An illustration of this would be the year 1998. In that year, we experienced a rapid downward descent. Fluid on the brain was found, a newer treatment was used, meningitis set in, more fluid developed, Tina dropped from 63 to 40 pounds…and several other complications required even more surgery. That was a turning point for me as a mom. I had always been able to separate my emotions in the heat of the moment so that decisions could be made…suddenly the mommy in me hurt so deeply for my child that the separation could no longer be maintained. This lead to me being willing to allow God to be God in this situation…to stop trying to find all the answers and to trust His leading. It has brought peace and joy beyond measure!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Oh, Claudia. How heart-wrenching. Thank you SO much for sharing that this morning. I’m going to pray that your words are a blessing and an encouragement to someone today. Love you, friend!

  22. Angie Cooley

    Well, for 6:30 in the morning, here are the thoughts that are flowing today…
    “Have you (or someone you know) ever felt like you wouldn’t be accepted by a certain group of people if they knew the REAL you?” –This question is one with a resounding YES! After being involved in 3 very different churches, I’ve seen, and struggled with the fact that people don’t (usually) share who they really are. We put on masks, and pretend that we have things “all together”. The standard answer for, “Hi. How are YOU today?”….Fine.
    I’ve found out, far too many times, that people aren’t “fine”. It’s easy to say, and easy to hear. I could go on and on about this, but I guess the main challenge I want to throw out there to anyone who will listen is, when you ask “that” question, be ready to hear what the TRUE answer is….and if you’re the person being asked, be willing to be vulnerable. We could learn SO much from each other – come along side each other – help each other, and avoid potential pitfalls if we would only set down our masks and be real with people.
    OK….moving on…. :O)

    “I’ll bet all of us can relate to a time when God stripped us of everything we were clinging to for security and forced us to lean fully on him. Anyone brave enough to share about this kind of experience in your own life?”
    I guess this is a “heavy” morning for me….because here continue the heavy answers….
    Almost 9 years ago, my husband and I lost our son, Joshua, when he was 26 days old. We didn’t see it coming (part of God’s plan, I believe) and it knocked us totally off our feet. I believe, looking back, that God placed us where we were at that time, by His specific plan. He did strip us from all we had, in our minds…but looking back, I LOVED the place I was with HIM then. I fully leaned on Him because I had nowhere else to go. It scares me at times, now, with all the tough stuff that I’ve read about the last few weeks in other people’s lives – I don’t want God to HAVE to use a huge event in my life to get my attention and bring it back to Him (**not saying that’s why tough things happen all the time, but I believe it can be a reason). I want to lean on Him now, like I did 9 years ago. Things get “too easy” and I forget what a joy it was during that hard time, to be able to point it all to God. Maybe He’s using these trying times in other’s lives now, to get my attention…..maybe I need to listen more closely….

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love you, Angie. Thank you so much for sharing from deep down in your heart. Your last paragraph is amazing, and you know I can’t wait to meet sweet little Joshua someday!

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