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New Names

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

William Shakespeare

When I was a little girl, I watched the TV show, “What’s My Line?”  Three contestants all claimed to be the same person and the audience was supposed to guess who the real person was.  At the end of the show the announcer would always say, “Will the real _________ please stand up.”  Then their true identity was revealed.

Throughout my adult life I wanted the “real” Norma Donovan to please stand up.  I wasn’t quite sure, though, who I was.  Having fear of man, being compliant and a people–pleaser, had resulted in me not really knowing my true identity.  But God did.

God in His graciousness began to bestow upon me new names which revealed who I really was, in His eyes.  He was showing me His heart and my true destiny that I was to fulfill.  Was I exhibiting those characteristics at the time?  No.  It’s as if the names He spoke were prophetic in nature.  They were glimpses into who I would someday become.  Just as the Old Testament prophets spoke blessings over people, God was speaking His blessing over me.  When God created the world, He spoke it into existence.

“Mary,” was the first name God gave to me when I was in my early 30’s, while driving down Grand Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona.  At the time, I was 100% Martha, always doing, never being.  I hid behind doing.  The unconscious motto I lived by was, “If it’s not productive, it’s a waste of time.”  Resting and abiding with the Lord were foreign to me.  I felt guilty if I relaxed and “playing” was difficult to do.  But God believed the best about me and knew that one day I would become one who loves to sit at His feet.  (Luke 10:38-42)

Several years later at a counseling leadership retreat, our counseling pastor prophesied that I was “Daddy’s Girl.”  My greatest desire was to receive my earthly father’s acceptance and attention.  Now I knew I held that special position with my heavenly Father.

A year later, in 1997, a girlfriend spoke the name “Bride” over me.  She even bought me a bouquet of red roses, signifying my engagement to the Lord.  I believed my relationship with God was that of a servant,  and now I was to enjoy intimacy with The Lover of My Soul.

In 2001 while touring a citadel in Aleppo, Syria, our Muslim tour guide stopped in the middle of the tour, looked at me and called me “Queen.”  I was confused and asked him if that’s what my name meant in Arabic.  He said,  “No, that’s who you are.“  As I walked towards another room I heard the Lord speak, “That’s who I see you as.”  Timid, shy, Norma was to become God’s woman of authority.

Fast forward five years.  While struggling with some sin in my life, I sensed the Lord encouraging me to come into His Presence.  While lying on the floor soaking, He spoke over me, “Pure and Faithful One.”

I was not like any of these names when God spoke them into my heart.  Like many prophetic words, it takes time for them to come into fruition.  I can’t say I’ve fully arrived.  Slowly but surely I’m becoming who God created me to be and the real Norma Donovan is beginning to stand up.

“Not only does God’s blessing communicate our purpose, our meaning, and our reason for existence, it influences how we relate to others and how others will relate to us.  It is indelibly a part of our very identity and our destiny.  It has the authority and power of God to transform our lives.  It speaks to each person’s true authentic self; it empowers and releases God’s unique design, calling, and purpose in our lives.”

Joseph Cavanaugh III

Relevant Reflections:

  1. Who does God say you are? Who are you to become?

  2. What prophetic names has God given to you?

  3. Ask God for new names, for a glimpse of yourself from His point of view.

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