your secret name read-along (week 5)

Welcome, faithful readers! Seriously, you guys are amazing. This is TOUGH staying committed to something like this week after week. If you meant to stay up with us and haven’t, NO WORRIES. God can (and will) use this book in your heart and life in his perfect time.

The winner of last week’s prize (Unshaken) is… Lori Davidson! Email me your address, Lori!

This week we’ve got something Super-Special to give away. Not only will you get a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Made to Crave (and I’ve heard GREAT things about this book), but you’ll win 2 TICKETS (one for you, one for a friend) to the Your Secret Name Conference on March 5. It’s gonna be a good one! (if you don’t live close enough to Ohio to get here and want to give them away, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of takers!)

Chapter 10

On page 111, Kary writes, “With Jacob’s situation in mind, we might wonder why God allows his children to remain in painful places.” He says that one answer would be that “times of testing instill character development.” What are some other reasons God might allow his children to remain in painful places? And do you have a personal example?

I had to smile at this next quote, because I can absolutely, positively relate. “Many times I even preferred the pen over the pulpit, realizing an audience of paper has a few advantages over one of people, like a concept called editing” (112-113). It’s easy to hide behind written (and edited) words (like blog posts, e-mails, facebook messages over phone calls and face-to-face chats). Do you ever do this?

Chapter 11

“Hoping to escape his Given Name for good, Jacob desired to mend the rocky relationship with Esau–the brother he swindled, impersonated, and supplanted” (119). Most of us have a story (or 10) about a rocky relationship. Care to share one you’ve mended–or one you want to mend but don’t know how (or one you really don’t care to mend ever ever)? (be careful what you write–this IS the internet, you know)

I think this next quote hits home with most of us. “I wanted my readers to think well of me by seeing only God and not my struggle. I feasted on the falsehood that not only the Message needed to be spotless, but also the messenger” (121). How comfortable are you with sharing your weaknesses, failures, and struggles with others? How has God used your inadequacies to bring himself glory?

As we work hard to add to our Cambodia Fund, I can relate to Kary’s story of God providing financially through his people in amazing, last-second ways. But Jacob wanted to “walk by sight and not by faith” (124). Are you trying to do this in your life?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Remember, one happy winner will get a copy of Made to Crave AND 2 tickets to the Your Secret Name Conference!

50 thoughts on “your secret name read-along (week 5)

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  3. Douglas

    I am really trying to walk by faith and not by sight. It is a hard go at times, but God is faithful, even (especially) when I fail.

    I am so guilty of hiding behind text, avoiding the facetoface, and the verbal communication. I’m striving to get beyond that aspect of my life. Working at a call centre has been helping with that, especially as I moved into a position where the people I deal with are not in my centre. But in other cities and countries. I’m fortunate not to have to take calls everyday, but deal with information sent by email/fax. But the business-to-business relations are important. I have to put up the phone and call if I want a quick answer.

    I usually don’t have a hard time sharing my struggles, but don’t always deal with trouble and conflict well. But God is working in me. I’m an introverted person, learning to push out and develop more extraversion. Being a photographer helps. Developing a business helps. Being on Twitter and using it to get out and meet local people helps. God’s glory will be proclaimed, as I step out beyond my introversion, shyness and reservedness. It will always be a part of me, but knowing this is the first step in becoming more than this.

  4. lisa

    sheesh, am i the last to reply AGAIN?!

    I think this next quote hits home with most of us. β€œI wanted my readers to think well of me by seeing only God and not my struggle. I feasted on the falsehood that not only the Message needed to be spotless, but also the messenger” (121). How comfortable are you with sharing your weaknesses, failures, and struggles with others? How has God used your inadequacies to bring himself glory?

    i totally underlined this in the book. this is so true. sometimes you don’t want anyone to really know the things you struggle with because then they’ll have some power over you. yuck. they might actually think that you struggle, that you’re not perfect, that you don’t have it all together. why am i using the word “you” and not “i” … wow i just noticed that! it’s so hard for me to share that i struggle … even admitting it to myself is hard because then i feel like i’m crazy and that i’m probably the only one that struggles with … being positive, being a mom, a wife, etc. oh the list could go on! i so appreciated that the author shared that … out loud! cause then i’m not the only one! πŸ™‚

    1. lisa

      ps … i’m already hoping for another book study like this one to come along so if anyone knows of any, please share! this has been SO good for me!

  5. Melissa

    I am really loving the book, especially digging in deeper to the Jacob/Esau story. I was sharing with my husband last night how it was neat to learn that Jacob had to make God his own…he was in the line of blessing, but he had to make the choice. It’s obvious now, but it was a fact I’d never noticed before πŸ™‚ Anyhow, I do have a story of reconciliation…I had a friend in high school who became an even better friend in college…and I didn’t have her in my wedding. I listened to the advice of others instead listening to my heart (and God’s leading at the time). I am thankful to say that this past summer I finally listened to the Lord and sent her an apology with no strings attached, and although our relationship is hurt, I am so thankful to have her as a friend again.

  6. Rachelle

    Like Jacob, I have a relationship I want to mend, I just am really afraid that mending it is going to cause pain. What’s worse is, the thing the friend and I parted over was a sin that God later revealed in my own life. Not pretty. I have made a small step to mend the hurt, but did it in a letter, it felt safer. So, uh, yeah I hide. I am trusting God on this one and hopeful that I will have the opportunity and faith to make it right very soon.

    Page 124: I am a realist when it comes to life situations. I can certainly relate to walking by sight and not by faith. And yes, God continues to reveal my inadequacies and honestly it’s not fun. But I trust him and know that he is working through my life for his glory.

    1. Tilly

      Very well put. I think many people who write on transitional justice don’t even realise how overstretched the term is. Just yesterday a professor at my university who does not work on the topic asked me why ICC insgetivations in conflicts are being discussed as transitional justice. And he has a point. If you take the term seriously, it is actually miused in these contexts.

  7. Jennifer

    “What are some other reasons God might allow his children to remain in painful places? And do you have a personal example?”

    We’re in a tough season of ministry right now, and I have to tell you that I’ve never understood just how fallen the world is until now. There are a good number of reasons God has us parked here — He’s growing us, He’s refining His church, He’s going to get even greater glory because of this — but I think the most apparent reason is that He’s reminding us that this world is fallen. And while God is certainly not silent on that matter, I think He lets us linger here in this painful season to remind us that life is about more than right here and now. Eternity, with Him in all of His glory making all things right, just sounds a whole lot more amazing to me now, thanks to what we’re going through. And when I get on my high horse and get excited about Him casting out those who stand against Him, I’m reminded that I’M the first He would cast out were it not for undeserved grace. So, wow. Just a whole lot learned by being kept in a painful place!

  8. Rachelle

    my confession is: I haven’t read my chapters this week. I am going to go read them in a bit after I settle in the family for the evening (read: feed them sandwiches and let them watch TV). My kids had the day off school today due to weather that most would laugh at…4 inches of powder snow. Here in the South we are weak!
    I can tell that these chapters, also, are going to hit home.
    Be back in a little while.

        1. auto quote sheet

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  9. sandee

    What are some other reasons God might allow his children to remain in painful places? And do you have a personal example?

    I hate painful places..but sometimes, I am finding, what I viewed as painful, or possibly painful at first, I adjust, with God and it is not quite so bad. Not what I might have wished or planned perhaps, but not so bad. I think many of the pain we experience is just a consequence of the fallen world and God allowing man’s freewill. He uses these for purposes often we can’t fathom…but I am learning (painfully, no pun intended) and slowly, that our trust and connection to Him is far more important than our circumstance. I use to hear God is more interested in our character than our comfort. Which may be true, but I think it is more personal than that. God is more interested in our intimacy with Him and wants us to believe Him and trust Him, no matter the circumstance. to walk with Him and not faint….He knows what lies ahead…and what also lies now in other countries that we do not currently suffer….so walking with Him in everything…heart to heart, hand in hand…child holding tight to daddy…I think that is what the painful places bring.

    on Chapter 11 question…I think through transparency and authenticity we draw closer to God and closer to each other. if I think you are perfect, then I have nothing in common with you, because I know how broken I am. But if we share our brokenness immersed in the love of God, then our lives speak hope, they are God’s word made flesh all over again in the walking out of our daily lives

    1. Marla Taviano

      Oooh, I like what you said about God wanting intimacy with us more than anything. If we’re in an intimate relationship with God, our character will take care of itself, huh?

    2. Shelly

      “if I think you are perfect, then I have nothing in common with you, because I know how broken I am. But if we share our brokenness immersed in the love of God, then our lives speak hope, they are God’s word made flesh all over again in the walking out of our daily lives”

      SO Beautifully said! Oh, how I love those words “our lives speak hope”! Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Sandee!

  10. Megan Bradford

    Hello there πŸ™‚

    I think one of the reasons that God allows, specifically Christians to be in painful places is so that the world can see what it means to cry out to God and to depend on Him. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for Christians not to go through the tough things the world goes through. I think the times I have learned the most in my life is when I have seen other believers struggle their way through hard situations. If God can hold that person up, surely He has me in His hand too. Thank-you Lord!

    In this season of my life I am learning very clearly to walk by faith and not by sight. I wish I could explain to everyone our financial situation with our adoption and how greatly the Lord has provided. It is not on accident or by chance, it is His hand working in people at the same time our need is expressed, it is a truly beautiful picture that I hope I can one day share in full with everyone. But the story is not complete yet, but I can see the light at the end πŸ™‚

    1. Shalla Johnson

      OK – a little late πŸ™‚ By a week actually – I so loved this post Megan! And so very very true about being in painful places.. Now on to “catch up” πŸ™‚

  11. Angie Cooley

    I’ve SO loved reading this book! The last few weeks have been so frustrating in many ways (weakness/failure/struggles), and when I’ve had ‘down’ time all I’ve wanted to do is sit and veg, or just go to bed. I’m so thankful for this group – if I wouldn’t have this “accountability” I would have put this book down, like many others I started with good intentions.
    I WANT to live by faith and not by sight – in so many ways, but this week it’s in regards to my girls. I do not pray for them nearly enough…I need to pray for them, for my relationship with them, for our family, etc. I need to stop trying to “fix” them on my own – they are God’s, and He’s using me to help them grow and know Him. I need to do a better job of being the example they need. Needless to say, the challenge in these chapters were just what I needed this week!

  12. Dean

    Like y’all, the more I get into the book the more I enjoy it and the more helpful it is. I am a pastor and I know how easy it is to even hide behind a sermon. (However, I know I can’t fool my family!) In the last few years I have been able to be much more open from the pulpit about my own weaknesses. This book is helping me even more. I once heard Andy Stanley say that if you preach from your weakness you’ll never run out of material!

    I’ve been having these kinds of conversations with my worship leader lately and I realize that it’s an even bigger struggle for him because of the expectations the church puts on him. After all, don’t we all put labels on our worship leaders? He’s supposed always be happy and his job is to get the rest of us to where he is!

    This is all taking me back to the fact that who God is and what He says about us is crucial. I love the stories Kary shares about the people God put in his life who told him the hard truth that he needed to hear. This has been been the case many times in my life. I would rather experience the pain of truth with the long-term gain of joy than the short-term happiness of flattery that leads to long-term pain! Like some of you have said, getting those labels out of the dark is the key. Thank God for the people He sends alongside us to shine the light!

    1. kary oberbrunner


      Wow man…from one pastor to another…Thanks for sharing.

      I was a pastor who hid. Now it feels so good to be free. I never want to go back.

      God’s grace and power shine through. Not my poor attempt at perfection.


    2. Marla Taviano

      Thank you SO much for sharing, Dean! I love that Andy Stanley quote. I’ve found that to be true, true, true as I speak to groups of people. I keep asking God to start using my strengths as my ministry instead of my weaknesses and he keeps saying, “Um, no thanks. I like what we’ve got going.”

  13. Teresa

    I came to know God later in my life. Through many experiences, events, and circumstances I spent my life applying labels to myself and allowing others to apply them to me. Every decision and every emotion I had were made upon these labels. I lived under an umbrella of fear and shame and guilt on a daily basis. I didn’t tell my story for a long time, in fact I stuffed it all in a backpack and carried it around with me for so long that one day the weight of it just knocked me to my feet. The burdens were too heavy to carry any longer. My friends interviened as they saw me slowing dying in health and spirit because even after becoming a believer, I could not forgive myself. As a result of all of the literal hate I felt for myself I turned to an eating disorder. I found myself at a Christian treatment center and found the most amazing Christian Counselor that God arranged with so much love. The very first day I met her I confessed everything that I could remember. It all came out and was no longer in the darkness but in the light…out in the open ready to be healed. In the dark there was no possiblity for healing. We both got down on our knees and just cried out to the Lord. It was then that all of the labels and secret names that we attached to me started to be removed and replaced with God’s truth. It took (and is still) a long time–there was a lot to process. I tell my story now to who ever God has placed in my path. When I unloaded that backpack of burdens, I was able to then began the removal of the labels. Even as I still fall in to the trap of believing who I thought I was, God will place someone in my life that He wants me to minister to and that helps remind me of the truth. And I love that at the same time I get to minister, even in my imperfection, I am ministered to as well. All of the things I went through were worth it if I can be used by God to set others free. I know that God allowed me to go through trauma after trauma and then bad decision after bad decision so that at this moment in time I would be able to allow Him to work through my story. This book was such a blessing to me as I continually need my mind renewed.

  14. Claudia Porpiglia

    There are oh so many reasons that God allows us to remain in painful situations and so many more we will not know until we see Him face to face (and then we won’t care!) A saying that I learned many years ago comes to mind, “God is more concerned with our character than our comfort”. God is in the business of making us more like Jesus and that often requires pain and struggle. Our personal pain and how we respond to it is also a tool God uses to help others. Our pain, when submitted to God, can also become a powerful testimony/tool to minister to others.

    Some of you already know some of the personal pain God has allowed me to walk through. The one He has used most powerfully in my life is that of being a mother of a severely disabled daughter. For the last almost 26 years I have been the primary caregiver and medical guru for Tina. I have had to fight battles with the state, insurance companies, school employees, etc but that has not been the worst part of the pain. Emotionally I have had to watch Tina have thousands of grand mal seizures as well as thousands of petit mal seizures. I have watched as she wants to communicate but can’t. I have experienced dreams dying and ached for what will never be. BUT…God has shown me that this is HIS PLAN for my life and that He is using Tina to bring glory to Himself!!! I would not trade the pain or the JOY!!!

    The journey of pain I just shared has driven me to “walk by faith, not by sight”. Over and over God has called me to believe things that seemed impossible and fight for things that people thought were crazy. Even today, in the midst of the reality of being a full-time caregiver, I continue to believe with full faith that God’s healing hand WILL heal Tina. The great thing is, it will come…whether here on earth or when she is transformed at death…either way it is still God’s hand of healing!!!

    1. kary oberbrunner


      My heart goes out to you….as a mother of a severely disabled daughter. You know the Lord’s compassion and grace in a way that others of us have not experienced. Thanks for your testimony of God’s perspective in our pain.

      Blessings on your day.
      May God remind you of His love.
      And may you continue to discover more of your new name.


  15. Shelly

    This week I’ll just say (AGAIN) how much I relate to this book! I shared the book with some ladies this past weekend at a prayer breakfast, and got so excited about its concept…and will continue to recommend this book to everyone I know! πŸ™‚

    The idea of the message being perfect but the messenger flawed was lost on me for so many years and the pressure to perform in perfection broke me to the point where I felt I was going insane. Thank God he never left me, and brought people and things (like this book) into my life along this journey to reinforce what he has been teaching me these last few years. I am not alone!! I think I still struggle with the delicate task of being comfortable in sharing my flaws and still tip-toeing around the expectation of what a missionary should be who is supported by funds from people willing to give, but seem to attach many strings.
    I wonder what the healthy balance is in that… I’m definitely still learning!

    1. Marla Taviano

      How fun that you’re getting to share the book with others! And I prayed for you just now that God would help you find that flaw-sharing balance.

      We were supported as missionaries for awhile, and I remember feeling compelled to tell EVERY SINGLE PERSON who came to our home that our HUGE TV was a FREE gift (Gabe’s grandparents’ home was robbed, the TV was knocked over and got a small crack in it, and the insurance co. bought them a new one, and they gave us their old one). πŸ™‚

    2. kary oberbrunner


      I’m so glad to hear how God is using the book in your life at the perfect time. Also….as an author, I appreciate the fact that you are spreading the word and sharing it with others.


      1. Shelly

        Kary, it is my pleasure to share this book with others, I believe it can be life-changing… some asked about translations. Are there plans for that by any chance?

        1. kary oberbrunner


          Oh, I really hope so. It is out of my hands though. Publishers only translate books if they are widely read.

          Even though, people are having life-change, Your Secret Name is still relatively under the radar. So, the more it gets out, the more potential it has to be translated.

          All up to God.


  16. T. Anne

    Hi Marla!
    I have a confession. When you announced we’d be reading You’re Secret Name, oh so many months ago, I bought it on my Kindle and read in one big gulp. I’ve always had a problem with my name, being it was spelled funny, and the fact the doctor himself named me because my parents were stymied by the fact I was not a boy. (Yawn, I know.) Anyway. Interestingly enough I was drawn to your blog long, ago because of YOUR name. My best friend growing up was named Marla. To say we had a rocky relationship towards the end is being kind. I feel so responsible for her not knowing the Lord. Is that even possible? Anyway, my heart is always heavy when I think of her. *love your posts on this series*

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you SO much, T. Anne. You blessed me this morning. I’m so sorry about your friend and that your birth story isn’t a joyful one. πŸ™ I know one thing–GOD knew you were a girl, and he MEANT for you to be one, and he LOVES you.

      B-E-L-I-E-V-E. πŸ™‚

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