Monday, February 5, 2018

How to move forward when you just need to sit down

Scott and I have been members of the congregation at First Baptist Church Walterboro for 21 years. In one of our first Sunday morning worship services at First Baptist all those years ago, Scott sang a solo. He sang with a split-track CD as accompaniment instead of the piano or organ. The split track enables the sound operator to keep the volume up on the instrumental accompaniment while at the same time silencing the recorded voices singing the demo. This was new and unfamiliar technology for First Baptist at that time. We know this because Scott ended up singing “Somebody’s Prayin’,” right along with Ricky Skaggs’ voice at full volume all the way through the entire song that morning.

We laugh about it now because we made it past that learning curve and have serpentined our way around many others. Just last month we used accompaniment tracks from a CD, a flash drive and an iPhone all in the same worship service and managed to do it without any demo voices being heard, also while projecting visual images on a screen. But what about next Sunday? We have a desire to be on top of it all, but it’s a challenge to keep up with the latest technology and music.


In the last 21 years, First Baptist has had three pastors and will soon be searching for a fourth. All three of the previous pastors came for the same purpose, but each one was completely different in how they carried it out. We yearn for more and better with each new pastor. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that yearning. I do think, however, that maybe we unjustly assign the responsibility for it to the man instead of to God.


Churches have always had a challenge keeping up with technology, leadership styles, sermon topic trends, musical preferences, community service missions and human need causes. Some make the stride better than others, but even those that do will eventually lag behind somewhere. The reason: humans. I agree with the adage, “If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind,” but sometimes, because I am human, I just need to sit down for a bit.


Hal West is currently serving as transitional pastor for First Baptist Walterboro. Hal was pastor of First Baptist Church in Moncks Corner for much of his life’s ministry. After his retirement as a full time pastor, he began working as a consultant to other churches that were in transitional situations. Hal has come to Walterboro to help First Baptist in the transition not only to the next pastor, but to the future life and mission of the church as a whole.


In one of his first sermons here, Hal began to address how we as a church will face the future; how individual lives will play an important part in the direction and influence First Baptist will have on our community. Churches (which, by the way, are made up of humans), regardless of whether they are traditional or contemporary, seem to like the way they do their own things. Usually it’s a mix of doing something different from every other church along with just enough of recognizable familiarity to offer comfort. Hal’s sermon encouraged us not to lose the meaning of our traditions, but to carefully be aware that sameness is not sacred. He compared doing the same thing we’ve always done to an old shoe. It’s a favorite, it’s so comfortable, it’s the first thing we reach for especially at the end of a tiring week, but it’s worn out.


We love that old shoe, but we long for new and shiny. We want both, but wearing two different shoes will make walking awkward and probably affect our balance. How do we update yet still remain a vehicle that represents the solid rock of Jesus Christ? How do I keep moving forward when I just need to sit down?


I found an answer in scripture. Here it is: Go ahead, sit down, and while you’re there, take off BOTH shoes. God told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5).


The shoes don’t matter. Worshipping God does.


Worshipping God means trusting Him for the future. If I do that, I don’t need to keep striving to keep up with the latest whatever. God will take care of it.


I am human and humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). In that act of creation, God set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I’m not sure I have the words to explain that, but I know how it feels. Longing — it feels like longing. The longing I have for more and better is about Him, not about songs, technology, instruments, sermons, flowers, candles, the time of day or anything else we utilize. None of that should ever be an excuse to not worship God.


The design of this longing was never meant to be satisfied by anything in this world. Having that longing satisfied will not look like the world, at all. Maybe our worship shouldn’t either.


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God —t his is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2


Offering our true and proper worship is not always easy. There are so many human expectations and distractions. But, somebody’s prayin’ for us.


“Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34


This was originally posted February 4, 2018 on The Press and Standard site

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Life's struggles offer us opportunities

At our house, we often quote memorable lines from movies to emphasize our feelings about something. One that we repeat a good bit is from a scene in The Help where Aibileen Clark confronts Hilly Hollbrook about attempting to appear superior to everyone else, which usually involves trying to control everything and everyone around her. Aibileen asks her, “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?” 

Ain’t you tired? We say that a lot at our house.

Yes. Yes, I am. ‘Tis the season for being tired and worn out.

We learned in early autumn that my husband, Scott, needed some major surgery. Specifically, a craniotomy to remove a benign brain lesion. It wasn’t an emergency, but he was encouraged to have it done before it developed into a more urgent situation.

It took a while to get it scheduled but we were finally given a November surgery date. The doctor told us to expect a few days in the hospital and a least a month of recovery at home.
We made preparations and did as much as we could before the surgery. We were praying for and expecting a positive outcome and recovery, but we still reserved a margin of time afterwards to deal with any uncertainties. We cleared our calendars for November and December. Any Thanksgiving and Christmas activities would be decided upon based on how Scott felt at the time.  It was a relief, and a little disappointing too.

As we began to let those around us know what was going on, a good friend asked Scott, “How do you keep from getting mad at God?”

He asked that because this wasn’t Scott’s first craniotomy. Or his second. This would be number three. I asked the neurosurgeon if he had ever performed this same surgery three times on any one patient before. He shook his head, no. Only God knows why Scott would have to endure having the grey matter of his brain seeing the light of day three times. I can understand wanting to question God about it.

I’m also tempted to consider and weigh in with something about living an upright life, trying to avoid sinful behavior, attempting to do good and serve God. Someone who lives that way doesn’t really deserve having to do this three times, do they? Wouldn’t just once be enough?

When you experience something more than once, you gain experience, but you also develop perspective. Having been side by side to this event three times now, I’ve come to believe that God sees each and every one of these kinds of human struggles as opportunities for Him to prove His love and faithfulness to us. And ours to Him.

We’re now on the other side of that third surgery and so far, the recovery has been positive. Any new perspective I’ve gained this time is related to how close God is in the midst of times like this. I could hardly whisper a word or blink my eyes without recognizing something or someone that reminded me of God’s love and care. Those reminders would still have been there regardless of any pathology results.

Besides movie quotes, we also sometimes quote Bible verses around our house to emphasize a particular sentiment. The verse I’ve been repeating a lot lately?  It’s Job 16:7a.

“Surely, God, you have worn me out...” 

I know how you feel, Job. 

Job had five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and three thousand camels stolen from him on the very same day all seven thousand of his sheep were killed along with all ten of his children. Then he woke up the next day with a debilitating skin condition. Job was one of the good guys who feared God and shunned evil. Still, there probably wasn’t any other man on earth at the time that had experienced so much trouble and loss in such a short amount of time.

Job’s wife tried to convince him that death would be better than living in this misery. He responded by asking her if we should only accept good things from God, and not trouble as well. Job was worn out, but still clinging to God in spite of the trouble.

If we live in the world, there will be trouble. Jesus spoke those very words to his disciples just before he was arrested, tortured, and killed. Trouble indeed. Not even Jesus escaped it.
But then, in the same breath that Jesus said there would be trouble, he finished by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:32

Overcome the world. It’s what He was born to do. This year I’m more grateful than ever to celebrate the birthday of the One that overcomes the trouble in this world and brings peace to all of us that are worn out from it.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14



Life's Struggles Offer Us Opportunities

At our house, we often quote memorable lines from movies to emphasize our feelings about something. One that we repeat a good bit is from a scene in The Help where Aibileen Clark confronts Hilly Hollbrook about attempting to appear superior to everyone else, which usually involves trying to control everything and everyone around her. Aibileen asks her, “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?” 

Ain’t you tired? We say that a lot at our house.

Yes. Yes, I am. ‘Tis the season for being tired and worn out.

We learned in early autumn that my husband, Scott, needed some major surgery. Specifically, a craniotomy to remove a benign brain lesion. It wasn’t an emergency, but he was encouraged to have it done before it developed into a more urgent situation.

It took a while to get it scheduled but we were finally given a November surgery date. The doctor told us to expect a few days in the hospital and a least a month of recovery at home.
We made preparations and did as much as we could before the surgery. We were praying for and expecting a positive outcome and recovery, but we still reserved a margin of time afterwards to deal with any uncertainties. We cleared our calendars for November and December. Any Thanksgiving and Christmas activities would be decided upon based on how Scott felt at the time.  It was a relief, and a little disappointing too.

As we began to let those around us know what was going on, a good friend asked Scott, “How do you keep from getting mad at God?”

He asked that because this wasn’t Scott’s first craniotomy. Or his second. This would be number three. I asked the neurosurgeon if he had ever performed this same surgery three times on any one patient before. He shook his head, no. Only God knows why Scott would have to endure having the grey matter of his brain seeing the light of day three times. I can understand wanting to question God about it.

I’m also tempted to consider and weigh in with something about living an upright life, trying to avoid sinful behavior, attempting to do good and serve God. Someone who lives that way doesn’t really deserve having to do this three times, do they? Wouldn’t just once be enough?

When you experience something more than once, you gain experience, but you also develop perspective. Having been side by side to this event three times now, I’ve come to believe that God sees each and every one of these kinds of human struggles as opportunities for Him to prove His love and faithfulness to us. And ours to Him.

We’re now on the other side of that third surgery and so far, the recovery has been positive. Any new perspective I’ve gained this time is related to how close God is in the midst of times like this. I could hardly whisper a word or blink my eyes without recognizing something or someone that reminded me of God’s love and care. Those reminders would still have been there regardless of any pathology results.

Besides movie quotes, we also sometimes quote Bible verses around our house to emphasize a particular sentiment. The verse I’ve been repeating a lot lately?  It’s Job 16:7a.

“Surely, God, you have worn me out...” 

I know how you feel, Job. 

Job had five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and three thousand camels stolen from him on the very same day all seven thousand of his sheep were killed along with all ten of his children. Then he woke up the next day with a debilitating skin condition. Job was one of the good guys who feared God and shunned evil. Still, there probably wasn’t any other man on earth at the time that had experienced so much trouble and loss in such a short amount of time.

Job’s wife tried to convince him that death would be better than living in this misery. He responded by asking her if we should only accept good things from God, and not trouble as well. Job was worn out, but still clinging to God in spite of the trouble.

If we live in the world, there will be trouble. Jesus spoke those very words to his disciples just before he was arrested, tortured, and killed. Trouble indeed. Not even Jesus escaped it.
But then, in the same breath that Jesus said there would be trouble, he finished by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:32

Overcome the world. It’s what He was born to do. This year I’m more grateful than ever to celebrate the birthday of the One that overcomes the trouble in this world and brings peace to all of us that are worn out from it.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

The was originally posted by The Press and Standard, December 24, 2017


Sunday, October 22, 2017

God works in mysterious ways

About a year and a half ago, I attended a week-long conference in North Carolina. I went alone. There must have been about 400 other people at the conference. I didn’t know a single one of them. It was a little overwhelming, but the mountains were beautiful and the conference schedule kept me busy from daybreak to sunset.

Towards the end of the week, I made my way through the serving line of the conference center cafeteria for lunch, then carried my tray out into the dining room. Still not completely comfortable but pressing on, I looked around for an empty chair and some smiling faces among the strangers.

I sat down at a table with four or five women I’d never met.  We all were wearing conference name tags but still introduced ourselves. We chatted about conference speakers and the delicious desserts. Then we went a little further with the personal identifications asking questions like, “So, where are you from?” and “What do you do?”

In the midst of those get-to-know-you pleasantries, Lindsey Brackett, a young woman from Georgia, said she was writing a novel. The conversation went on around the table. When I answered the “where are you from” question, I probably responded with something like “a small town near Charleston.” In a crowd of strangers somewhere other than South Carolina, I’m inclined to broaden my geographical whereabouts in hopes of finding some general recognition for this part of the state. Lindsey piped up and asked, “What small town?”

Just as soon as the word ‘Walterboro’ came out of my mouth, Lindsey’s face lit up. It turns out, the setting for the novel she was working on was none other than Colleton County. We spent the rest of that lunch hour chirping about familiar people and places in Walterboro and Edisto.

Of the 400 strangers who came from all over the country for the conference, how did I end up at an 8-seat table with someone writing a novel set in Colleton County? I don’t think it was just a coincidence. 

The novel Lindsey was working on was inspired by her own family vacations to Edisto Beach. Lindsey’s mother once lived in Walterboro, as did her maternal grandparents. As a child, Lindsey made trips to Walterboro and Edisto for family visits. She drew from her own personal experience as she created this beautiful work of fiction.

Lindsey’s novel, Still Waters, was published and released on September 8 this year. Chapter 1 of the book begins with repercussions from Hurricane Katrina thwarting life plans of one of the main characters, Cora Anne. The storm threw her life off course and she ended up at Edisto with her grandmother for the summer.

The crushing memory of a tragic childhood event kept Cora Anne from being at peace with her family and at Edisto. The memory of that event also included a white capped ocean and dark skies. That storm, too, altered the direction of Cora Anne’s life long before the winds and waves of Hurricane Katrina ever stirred.

So, how does a book that seems to have somewhat of a storm theme end up with a title like Still Waters? The book cover hints at it with a depiction of the sentinel tree at Botany Bay. Weathering storms often takes its toll, but what’s left standing in the aftermath is the calm, still water that brings the peace of being able to claim survival.

The day that Still Waters released, Lindsey was busy doing all the promotional things authors do on release day. That same day, Colleton County began preparing for Hurricane Irma. Irma’s path changed several times before Edisto Beach took on the high tidal surge a couple of days later. Edisto weathered the storm, but the Botany Bay sentinel tree became a casualty claimed by Irma. The landscape there was changed forever.

Was it a coincidence that a fictional book about facing the storms in life was released within days of an actual storm hitting the very setting of the novel? I don’t think so, and here’s why:  “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17.

These things that some people might attribute to coincidence, I tend to see as confirmation that the Creator of human life holds us close. He knows every detail. He puts people in my path that have a story I need to hear. He allows storms in my life so that the clutter and dead wood will be washed away. He never lets go even when there’s nothing else left.

Lindsey said it so eloquently, “And this is why I write. Because no matter how the storms change us, when I tell a story, I can remember how things were and they can live again. It's in the looking back we find the lessons for moving forward.”

The God who was, and is, and is to come, holds us together through it all. 

The was originally posted by The Press and Standard October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Still Waters - An Edisto Story

It was in the 1940s when young Alice Rayle made a wrong turn and ended up lost on the back roads of Colleton County. She eventually saw a stranger and stopped to ask for directions back to Walterboro. That stranger who knew the way home was Travis Malcolm Beeson. The intersection of those two lives put them on the same path, headed in the same direction, for the rest of their lives.

They married and raised three children; Lynne, Gayle, and Travis Jr. Alice was a Colleton County Extension Agent and eventually a teacher. Travis Malcolm, known by his friends and family as Tom, was a World War II and Korean War veteran and a forester with the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Together they worked hard on their tobacco farm. Every August when the tobacco harvest was complete, the family would head to Edisto Beach to rest and revel in the undulation of the seasons and the tides.

Alice’s wrong turn and the wave of lives that flowed from it are the inspiration for Still Waters, a contemporary southern novel written by her granddaughter, Lindsey P. Brackett. Still Waters released September 8, 2017 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Still Waters is Lindsey’s debut novel. She first started to cultivate the storyline over ten years ago. She began to jot down ideas and make mental notes. Even as marriage, children, work, and life required more of her time and attention, she still held to the hope that the book would one day become a published reality. Her motivation came from unexpected places like reading Twilight books with seventh students. She also had a beloved family member who frequently asked her, “Have you written that book yet?”  That family member died before the book was finished and became an impetus for Lindsey to see it through to completion.

Alice Rayle Beeson died unexpectedly when Lindsey was just ten years old. Lindsey explains, “Much of the story of Still Waters was motivated by the ‘what if she’d lived’ scenario. What would she have been like for me to experience as an adult?”

That what-if idea became the fictional grandmother character, Nan, in Still Waters. The story centers on Nan’s granddaughter, Cora Anne, a recent college graduate wrestling with having her own life plans waylaid and facing the seemingly undesirable, albeit temporary, path her family persuades her to follow. Cora Anne resists because of a tragic memory and years of subsequent guilt. Tennessee Watson, Cora Anne’s childhood friend, and Nan both want to help Cora Anne move beyond it, letting go of the guilt and preserving the love that has always been there.

The most significant character in Still Waters is not a person, but a place— Edisto Beach.
Lindsey, who has cherished childhood memories of summer days on Edisto Beach with her grandmother, says, “Edisto for me is such a place of restoration. I always feel kind of revived in my soul after I’ve been there because I truly make a conscious decision to set everything else aside. What keeps Edisto this way is the people who love it.”

From the very first thought of writing a novel, Lindsey knew it would be set at Edisto. That sense of restoration from Edisto is what helped develop the characters and the story. Lindsey said, “I knew I wanted Edisto to be what heals Cora Anne, not because she fell in love.”

Lindsey is an award-winning writer and is currently a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She has published articles and short stories in several print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine. She also writes a column for several North Georgia newspapers, where she and her family live. She blogs at lindseybrackett.com.  Still Waters has been endorsed by Hope C. Clark, author of The Edisto Island Mysteries.
Lindsey will be in Walterboro Thursday, October 19, 6 – 8 PM, at the Colleton County Memorial Library. She will be available to sign books and talk about her Colleton County family history. The event is free and open to the public.  She will have copies of Still Waters available for a $15 purchase.

Lindsey is also scheduled for book signing at the Edisto Island Bookstore Saturday, October 21, 3 – 5 PM. This is also a free event and open to the public.

A portion of the proceeds from Still Waters book sales in the month of October will be donated to relief for recent hurricane victims.

This was originally posted on The Press and Standard website Oct. 14, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The sun stood still

Last week, prior to the recent solar eclipse, I found myself in a discussion about all the hype surrounding that event. Parties were planned. Travelers from other states made arrangements to come and be in the direct path of the eclipse. There were signs on the interstates that flashed warnings about high traffic expected on the day of the eclipse.  People scrambled for the special glasses.  Schools and business gave notice that they would close early. The culmination of all this preparation would be merely looking up at the sky off and on for about an hour, then waiting for two minutes of darkness to pass. At the time it seemed a little over the top.

In that discussion, we wondered about the last time humans celebrated sun-gazing with such enthusiasm. I thought about the Bible story where God made the sun stand still. Joshua was leading the Israelites toward their promised land and they found themselves facing not just one army, but five different armies that had joined forces to try an stop them.

God led Joshua and the Israelite army in defeating the massive Amorite army. As their enemies fled, a storm blew in and the heavens hurled down large hailstones on them. Many of the enemy soldiers died from being pummeled by these enormous hailstones. There must have been some heavy-duty clouds in the sky that day. I think they must have been some very selective clouds too because it seems that only the Amorite army lost soldiers by the hand of those hailstones.

The sun came out after that ugly storm. Those that weren’t pounded by hail were now clear targets, but it was still five armies against one. Settling the score over the land ownership might take some time. Joshua looked to the heavens and asked God to help.

God’s response: “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.” (Joshua 10:13) The Creator of heaven and earth made the sun hold its breath and hang in place another full day just so humans would have enough daylight to be able to lay claim on the land that He had promised them. He did it without affecting life on earth or causing early onset global warming.

I’m sure they were all looking up to the sky that day. Some with wonder. Some with fear. None of them could control it but all were affected by it. It was the heavens that declared the glory of God and the skies that proclaimed the work of God’s hands.

Thanks to our 2017 technology, we were able to see the eclipsed crescent sun through our magic glasses. We stood looking up to the heavens.  Just a few minutes before the moon was directly in front of the sun, we were blessed with a last minute thunderstorm. The clouds rolled in. It was no longer the sun that kept us looking upward, but instead the flashes of lightning.

Later that day, as we were driving down Robertson Boulevard, we saw the biggest and brightest double rainbow in the eastern sky. It was then that I realized that God had been showing off for us all day long. He made the moon move directly in front of the sun. He could have chosen another path for it, but He didn’t. It was perfect precision. His voice boomed in the thunder. His smile flashed in the lightning. His promise and love for human beings and was reflected in the color spectrum of the rainbow.

 The sun standing still, the rainbow, the solar eclipse, all are God’s way of saying he loves us and will fight for us. Look up and see for yourself.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

This article was originally published in The Press and Standard, August 25, 2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jesus knows who I am, even if no one else does



Last month there was a story in the news about a baby born in British Columbia, Canada. The child was not born in a medical facility and therefore did not receive an official gender designation or a birth certificate. The news article I read only mentioned one parent. The parent identifies as non-binary transgender, which is neither male or female, or maybe it’s both. I’m not really sure. Anyway, the parent wants the child, named Searyl, to develop and decide for themselves what gender they identify with. 

Identifying pronouns was another thing the news article tried to explain. This new parent refers to the baby as “they.” I am so confused. The parent didn’t want the baby to be labeled as “he” or “she” and as I understand it, the preferred pronoun for the baby is “they”, which to me is plural, but there is only one baby. If this keeps up, we’re going to need some entirely new words because the old ones are only confusing me more. 

I hope that somehow this child will be able to find “their” true self, but I am not sure how “they" will be able to reach a decision on gender identity without any cultural influence at all. It’s not a neutral world. If it were, there would be a lot less to argue about in congress.
Recognizing personal identity is often difficult even when the lines and pronouns are clear. There are some details that I might think are clear markers for my identity, but then other people may see me and never associate those characteristics with me at all. My name is one of those things.

For several years after moving to Walterboro, I got called Jan a lot. Jan was the pastor’s wife. If it wasn’t Jan, it was Mrs. Scott. Scott is my husband’s name. Mrs. Scott is neither my first name or my last name.  Just to make matters more perplexing, Scott is my husband’s middle name. His first name is Timothy, but I’ve never heard anyone call him that.
It’s not just names that give us identity. Often, it’s what we do and where we go. Earlier today as Scott and I walked out of the Cracker Barrel and joked about wanting to know when awards night was because we want to be present to pick up our trophy for being the most frequent diners there. Some of the servers there know what kind of salad dressing Scott likes. They know we both like the Wednesday broccoli cheddar chicken special. They don’t know that we’re also working on a frequent diner prize at Subway too.

The one thing that’s common in both of those examples is the relationship to my husband. The people at church who couldn’t remember my first name still associated me with him. The Cracker Barrell cashiers do the same thing. My identity is often defined by my relationships.  

Psalm 51:5 offers a description on my identity too, “for I was born a sinner.” Many of the New Testament books written by the Apostle Paul include multiple mentions of my sinful nature. I was born with it. We all were. None of us can help that we were born that way, but the truth is, we do need help with it. We cannot fix it ourselves. The only way to change our identity as a sinner is with a relationship. More specifically, a relationship with the only one that can take the sinner moniker from us and carry it himself. Jesus. 

Isaiah 43:1 says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  He knows my name. He calls me by it. He’s not going to call me Jan. He might even call my husband Timothy. He knows our names and who we are. Our identities are not in question with Him. He calls us all into a relationship. He wants a relationship with us so that we will no longer be identified as sinners, no matter what pronoun we prefer. 

The was originally published August 6, 2017 on The Press and Standard website