He Knows Your Name
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." - Jeremiah 1:5
That day forever changed my future. I had just graduated from college. You may read that "just" as in recently which was true but ironically I read "just" as not good enough, which is actually how I felt. Forget that I was the first in my family to graduate from a four year university. It took me five years and I had no honors and no job which to the perfectionist in me felt like I had no future.
I was struggling with my first battle with depression. It runs deep within my family but I couldn't have that - I was always so bubbly and happy. I felt like a failure to admit I may actually have inherited my family's mental illness. Following the days after college graduation, I couldn't get out of bed. The weight of not being a success or putting my degree to use was suffocating. No one was projecting that reality onto me but myself. Until college graduation my life had always had a plan by society's standards. A guideline of classes and a timeline of when to start and finish. But now what?
I was praying for direction and guidance to whatever God had planned for me. That pray continued for 40 days and 40 nights, no joke. I went home like normal to take my 8 year old twin cousins to the pool which was about to be the farthest from normal experience.
There I ran into Dr. Artherholt and his family who had returned from two years of Christian missionary work in India. Dr. Artherholt and his wife had returned from Texas that Friday and I had come home from visiting Clay in Peru where he was studying medical Spanish. All brought together for one weekend in small town Red Oak, Iowa. That alone is totally God orchestrated and amazing!
My mom worked as Dr. Artherholt's nurse for eight years. He also saved my life as a baby after I became septic from a UTI. Needless to say, he has always been an instrumental part of my life.
Sunscreen and swimsuits, a pool isn't exactly where you expect to experience God, but I guess Jesus was baptized by John in a river. Dr. Artherholt began speaking to me as though he had heard every prayer, “It is so humbling to see the powerful ways God is working in your life. He has truly blessed you. He is calling you for a greater life purpose and to help God’s children. God is powerfully using you as a leader amongst your peers. Clarity is coming. Believe in Him, continue to walk in faith, and He will prepare you and guide you.”
Tears streamed down my cheeks. Those were the perfect words answering my prayers for guidance, career direction, and most of all clarity that I had prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. Dr. Artherholt then prayed over me with his family placing hands on me, asking God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear His message. He prayed that God would send His angels to protect me and guide me. We prayed this in Jesus Christ’s name, said amen, and parted ways.
Awkward, was how it should have felt praying in the middle of my town's country club pool surrounded by my peers, including every child I ever babysat, and the people who have known me my entire life - but it was awesome! That was the first time I can remember not caring about the thoughts of others because I knew God's call to action was far more important.
I gathered up my little cousins; we all said our good byes, shared hugs, and left. Seconds after my car had exited the driveway, I felt as though I was going to faint. Terrified, because I was driving with two children in my car, my heart started beating faster. I considered pulling over.
As I drove, I watched the white picket fence on the side of the road pass me in slow motion, almost as though time stood still. Suddenly, a light began to shine so brightly through the trees that I lost sight of the road in front of me. The colors exploded into the most vibrant pigments I have ever seen. Then I heard a voice. It was the most kind, strong, and welcoming voice I have ever heard. I believe it was Jesus. He said, “I will show you what most will not see.”
I now know that was a reference to Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me, and I will answer you, I will show you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
The vision was gone as quickly as it came. What seemed like thirty seconds was only a moment. I looked in my rearview mirror to check Lauren and Andrew. They were completely un-phased, I knew that they had not seen what I had just experienced.
We arrived at their house anxiously turning on the T.V. to watch Miss USA. Lauren had the greatest time as I watched her fall in love with pageantry – practicing her on stage walk, and jumping on the couch when her favorite girl in the pink dress, Olivia Jordan, won Miss USA 2015. After the pageant, I left thanking God for giving me the most perfect day with my family.
As I walked out of the house, I looked up towards the sky to see a group of delicate clouds, almost as if they had been hand painted. I took a photo, feeling like I needed more time to study the clouds. When I arrived home, I rotated the photo upside down and was in awe of what I saw. It was a perfect depiction of two crosses and a dove: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This was months before God gave me the name Chosen To Reign. In the two years since, Jesus has shown us that He has called me into ministry and Clay into medicine, so we can prepare to serve as a force for His Kingdom; healing people both physically and spiritually. I may not know exactly what the future holds but I know it is good and I know God is for me.
The same is true for you. (See Romans 8:28 & Jeremiah 29:11-13) Jesus says:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7
He knows your name. Do you truly believe that? Because if we did I believe we would live our lives so differently. Maybe we wouldn't worry so much about our plan because we would know He has a plan and it is perfect in all of His ways and all of His timing. Maybe we wouldn't binge watch Hulu because we would know the present is called just that, because it is a gift. You can let go of your striving. You don't have to believe what the world has projected onto your life. You don't have to accept the labels the world has given you. You can lay down your brokenness because Jesus picked up the cross and broke His body for you. You do have a new life, a new name, and a new future. You can live your life free and forgiven because you are chosen, adored, and treasured by the King of the Universe who conquered Heaven and Earth to give you a life worth living.
"God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." - Christine Caine