your secret name read-along (week 4)

Welcome to Week 4! I’m so proud of you for sticking with us! Your comments last week were just amazing. Today we’re tackling Chapters 8-9, and I want to say less and ask more. Feel free to answer just one (or every single one) of my many questions.

And Denise N., you’re the winner of last week’s give-away–Mark Buchanan’s Spiritual Rhythm. Congratulations!

Chapter 8

On the very first page (95) of the chapter, Kary admits to feeling like he’d lost God (or that God lost him). He told himself the lie that he just didn’t matter much to God. “How could my recent experiences harmonize with God’s preordained plan?” Have you ever felt like this?

I can really relate to the whole scenario on p. 96 of putting up walls so you don’t get hurt. Of abandoning God first, so he can’t abandon us. Of making ourselves “unlovable” on purpose, so we won’t be as hurt when people don’t love us. This is an extra-tough one. Anyone brave enough to share an experience where you did this very thing?

On p. 97, Kary writes, “We tend to hear [God] best amidst personal heartbreak.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Chapter 9

My heart ached as Kary read what was in his manila folder (p. 104-105). It reminded me of a late summer day over a decade ago. A week before I began my first teaching job, I was handed a manila folder for one of the students in my class. Full of unspeakable horrors this child had endured. It broke my heart. It still does.

Do you have a manila folder (either literal or figurative)? If the contents are too personal to share, maybe just tell what effect they’ve had on you in the past and/or the present.

“I remembered my mom sitting by my bedside at night reading me a prophecy from the book of Isaiah: ‘The stammering tongue will be fluent and clear’ (32:4).” (p.105) Has anyone ever uttered a prophecy over you? Is there a verse in the Bible you’ve claimed as your own?

Remember, answer any one BOLD question (or more) in the comments for a chance to win a cool prize. Link to your own blog post for 5 chances to win.

This week’s prize is a hardcover copy of the brand-new release, Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti’s Hotel Montana, by Dan Woolley. This one’s on my to-read list!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts today, friends!

49 thoughts on “your secret name read-along (week 4)

  1. Pingback: Minister of Justice | The Justice Journey

  2. lisa

    On p. 97, Kary writes, “We tend to hear [God] best amidst personal heartbreak.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

    i’m sure alot of people responded to this same question already but i know for me, with the personal heartbreaks i’ve had in my life, they have been the most meaningful and growth-filled times for me. times that i, now, can look back on and can say that i’m thankful for those heartbreaks. and thankful too that i didn’t stay in the heartbreak and allow it to overtake me. not that there weren’t times! for me they were times where i sought God hard for answers to why things were happening and what He was doing … or wasn’t doing. sometimes life doesn’t make sense and i want answers. God doesn’t always bring them the way i want but most times, He brings His word or He brings people or He brings nuggets of some kind to remind me that i’m not alone and that He hasn’t forsaken me.

  3. Melissa

    So, I was trying to come up with a “good” answer to one of the questions, but the more I thought about it, the more I had a question of my own. Is it ever okay to put walls up? I know that I put up some small walls after my mom’s death (the fourth major family death in as many years), as sort of a self-protection. My faith was strong, I kept in touch with friends and family, but I definitely did not stick my neck out for a good six months in fear of more hurt. I’m assuming that is normal, but should I have not done this? After a year, the walls are starting to come down, but it is a tough process.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Oh, wow, Melissa. Great question. Maybe you weren’t putting up walls so much as just giving your poor, sweet heart a rest from pain for awhile. I don’t know. Praying for you right now, friend!

    2. lisa

      i can’t say that i understand from experience but i think God knows your heart better than anyone and He understands the way that you were/are figuring out life while grieving. keep close to Him and His word. praying for you too, melissa.

  4. douglas

    I grew up with the prophetic being considered normal. So I also sought the will of God by being prayed over by special speakers. I have had a a couple experiences that I remember regarding prophetic utterances.

    As a teen, one such utterance was made over me. The guy told me I wasn’t ready to hear what he saw. He had given specific prophetic utterances for others, so I was very disappointed not to receive something more specific.

    A few years back, I was visiting another church in my city. the preacher was speaking on the prophetic and at that particular service, I felt like God was laying the call of the prophet on me.

    Around the same time, my church hosted Sammy Rodriguez Jr. I had heard him speak the year prior, so I volunteered to be his chauffeur for his time visiting. And as I was taking Sammy to the airport, he spoke a prophetic utterance over me. It reinforced the direction God had already been pushing me. even quoting to me my verse.

    I say all this to say, my verse is Micah 6:8. “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” It’s taken some time to take visible actions that express who God has called me to be. But it is the theme of my blog, The Justice Journey.

    I look forward to all that God has in store for me and all those who He has allowed me to get to know along the way.

  5. Claudia Porpiglia

    I can totally relate to making myself unlovable so it wouldn’t hurt as much when others rejected me. Between feeling that love I received as a child was conditional and being divorced at the age of 24 and experiencing the rejection of those I thought loved me unconditionally, I began to fear rejection. I would behave in ways that would drive people away and then have a pity party. I claimed to believe that God loved me unconditionally but I was waiting for Him to throw His hands up and walk away.

    Then God sent my husband to me. Paul loved me unconditionally. The first few years of our marriage had to be terrible for him…I was constantly trying to get him to reject me and tried to blame him for every issue in our marriage but he kept loving me. Eventually God began to show me what was going on and brought me to a place of repentance and a place where I recognized that He loved me…warts and all! God transformed me!

  6. sandee

    I think in the hurts and hard times, we turn to God more, because we have no place else to go and are desperate.

    The manila folder concept makes me think of Beth Moore’s Bible study called Breaking Free….

  7. Mary Hancock

    When I was young I knowingly “put up walls” around my heart . I was so very exhausted from emotional pain .
    back then I imagined it as painting a coat of shellac on the wouonded heart after each painful session..knowing that in hours , or days , shellac slowly hardens to a shell that protects . What I DID NOT know was that later , when GOD found me..that it would take many years of strippings to peel back layer after layer of purposely hardened heart coverings before I could trust enough to dare call God “My Father”. True, before meeting Christ the walls shielded me..but also imprisoned me .
    This sort of wall is dangerous!

  8. Denise

    I agree, I think it’s really easy to hear God in the heartaches and hurts of life. I think for most people that’s where they want to sit and listen most, to feel relief and like God is there, ya know. When life is “normal” and “ok” you don’t really feel (or atleast I don’t) that you need to hear from God.

  9. ellen

    I have learned thru some ministry that many times when things happen we hear the wrong (satan’s) response instead of what God wants us to hear. In quiet prayer, Jesus can reveal what He wanted us to hear and we can begin to sift thru those extra names we have collect. I am really enjoying this book

  10. Marla Taviano

    Hey, friends. Sorry I’ve been MIA today, and I won’t be around this afternoon/evening either. But I’m looking forward to reading all your comments/posts tomorrow! Until then, talk amongst yourselves!

  11. Brooke

    i didn’t mention in my blog, but i’ve kept a prayer of jabaz coin in my purse since it was trendy. before my job interview, before my first date, i prayed that prayer. not quite a prophecy, but definitely claiming that scripture for my own.

    who knew it would bring a husband into my life who like to acquire territory in the literal sense! (we own 4…or is it 5 lots of land)

  12. Megan Bradford

    First I have to say how amazed I am (why does this surprise me?) that this story of Jacob is ringing in stereo in my life. I decided to read through the Bible this year, and right now I am reading all about Jacob and Laban, the sermon on Sunday was about Jacob and Laban and now here in this book as well. There must be something God wants me to hear!

    How do my recent life experiences harmonized with God’ pre-ordained plans? Not sure I could have answered that question until this particular time in my life. The adoption of our third child has been nothing but God working. I feel like I am along for the ride and that God is in control of it all (which He is). From the paperwork to the finances, none of it should logically make sense and work out. I believe that God has always known that this child is ours and I am so thankful that we believed Him.

  13. Mary

    i know i’ve been more of a silent participant this time around (also because i’m a chapter behind!!)…

    but i am so guilty of seeking God more during heartbreak and bad times than praising Him when things are good. it’s hard for me to relate exactly to kary in his book, but thinking about how lost i was (maybe still am) in finding my “secret name” has been eye-opening for me.

  14. Rachelle

    This week my husband and I had our first home study visit for adoption through our state foster care system. After the visit I read these chapters and wow did it ever hit home.
    Our home study is our “life file”. Writing and answering questions on paper wasn’t so hard, but talking to the counselor/home study worker was very emotional. After which she proceeded to tell us what she thought. When she left I felt utterly discouraged and ready quit and just “forget it”. Why? the same as Page 96: I would rather put up a wall and “live life in the own strength”, rather than put myself out in the world for rejection or hurt. I want to take the easy stroll. But I know in my heart that is not what God is asking of us, of me.

    1. Brooke

      I’m sorry that you had such a bad round with the counselor. My prayer is that He would show His strength through your weakness in this area.

      *big hugs* i have no clue how hard that had to be for you…i won’t even pretend. but any kind of heartbreak is tough to deal with.

    2. Shelly

      Rachelle, I just prayed for you and this adoption process. I have a close friend who is going through a very difficult adoption case and I know that prayer is all we have sometimes! Hope you are encouraged in him today!

      1. Rachelle

        Thank you both for the prayers, we really need them.
        We have such a heart for adoption but after being “reviewed” I have questioned myself as to whether I have what it takes to follow through. Which is exactly what God is trying to teach me; I don’t have what it takes and I must rely on Him to be in charge.

        Last night God brought some more clarity to the comments the couselor made. I think God is also teaching me not to run ahead. I keep thinking how hard this is…then I remember that there is a child in the world tonight that went to bed last night all alone with no hug or kiss from a mama or daddy and I know that whatever I face will never compare to that sort of heart hurt.

        1. Marla Taviano

          Oh, Rachelle. I’m so sorry. Prayed for you just now–that God will work out every detail and that you’ll be able to rest, knowing he’s taking care of it. I LOVE your heart.

  15. Sharon Meekins

    My life Verse ~ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

  16. Amy

    I am reading a book with a small group of women from my church entitled Spiritual Mothering, the Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. In our discussion, one of the women started talking about validating. How she wished she had had women, older women, who had taken the time to encourage and validate her…specifically with one of her children, who was going through a difficult time. This made me think of the letter that Carl wrote to Kary…someone took the time to encourage and validate him. Clearly, Carl’s words had an impact on Kary and illustrates the importance of loving people well, validating them and encouraging people. Especially those who are going through difficult times, but even when things are going well, we should be building each other up. Yes, our ultimate validation comes from God…but I think we, as Christians, need to encourage and validate those around us more often. Those are my thoughts this week. 🙂

    1. Brooke

      How much do we miss out on helping others because we have ourselves closed off? You’re 100% right, we need to get about the work of God – and that includes encouraging others. Whether we know the situation or are just sensistive to the prompting of the Lord

  17. Shelly

    About building walls, oh yes. I have and still do. I started tearing down my walls before God about 6 years ago. I felt completely unmasked and vulnerable before him, but every time I would leave my quiet place, it was as if I’d open an iron gate, clad myself with the mask of steel I hat taken off upon entering, and only then dare to go out into the world again. I had been hurt deeply and I wanted protection. I am still learning that I must unmask before people, but I have not mastered it, for sure. I still tend to shield myself, and am learning how to let God be that shield on my behalf. (Psalm 33:20)

    My “file” is figurative. I remember opening up about an ugly truth of my past to a church leader and feeling judged and labeled, and knew that my “file” though unwritten was very much a factor in how I was viewed by the leaders. I was questioned and probed and devastated to know that they had discussed my plight amongst themselves. But then, this leads to another question about prophesying over you…. there was hope. I remember a preacher at church camp one summer telling me that there was something to my walk with God and that he believed I could be used of God if I’d be willing to follow God’s leading. I had been thrust into the limelight of service all my life as the “intelligent, popular one”, but for the first time, I knew someone saw my heart. That despite the eye-service, I truly longed to know God, and be available to do his will. Then, my Algebra teacher in our senior video predictions was assigned to talk about me. She predicted that I’d go off to college, spend some of my life on a mission field, and be a woman who walks with God and trains her children in his ways. I was astounded. Nothing about being in the school plays, singing, honor roll, sports, etc. – all the things I was known for around school. After years of thinking leaders would sit and peruse my “file” and only judge me on the merits of performance, these 2 leaders gave me hope. I can still look back to them as the prophetic catalyst that made me search deeper than my expected performance.

    I can’t say I learned the lesson at that point, though. Through some traumatic events in my later teens I became distracted. So, that’s the other question… personal heartache… I believe God reveals his compassion and strength more through the trials than in any other time. I don’t know if I always heard him. Personally, I ran to the works aspect, trying to obtain his favor as if he were one of those elders who was concerned with my behavior rather than my heart.

    1. Brooke

      i’m sorry that you were judged, especially by church leadership. but its a huge deal that you didn’t use that as an excuse to run away. and i love that “ran to works” is in the past tense!

  18. Dean

    I sat down with my journal and wrote down everything that’s in my manila folder. The list was long and discouraging. Some of it was put in there by others and some was put by me. I could remember specific events and conversations and the accompanying feelings would rise up alongside.

    I can’t tell you how good of an exercise this was. I know that none of this is how my Father and Savior see me! I spent some time scouring my concordance and jotting down references. I’ll go back daily and fill in the verses. I see some secret names for me and God starting to emerge!

    1. Brooke

      We get sidetracked by what others think of this. How amazing is it that our God is bigger than that and doesn’t see those things when He looks at us.

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