Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Que Sera Sera

My dear friend Annelie lives out in Oregon, today she called and told me about this crazy ”cliff jumping at night under the light of a full moon”; it sounded all together amazing and terrifying. I imagined what it would be like to throw myself off in to darkness, seeing nothing beneath me but the black of night and looking out over the expanse of mountain peaks outlined by moonbeams. It caused me to think about the pieces of light and truth God has been sending out for me, like lamps unto my feet in this sometimes-dark path.

Within all my anxiety, He whispers: TRUST.

Within all my doubts, He whispers: I PROMISE.

Within all my unanswered desires, He whispers: WAIT.

I’ve never been very good at waiting; as a little girl I would stay up reading a book until the sky had turned royal blue and the morning chorus of birds had started it’s melody outside my window; I hadn’t been able to wait until the next evening to finish the story; I wanted to know the ending NOW! I never savored Christmas stockings like my sister either; she would take each item out, that my mother had gleaned over the past year so painstakingly, one by one and praise and thank my mother for her forethought and fortitude. Not me, I poured that sucker out on to the floor, examined the treasures, deemed what I thought was necessary and tore in to the juicy traditional Christmas orange that was always in the toe of the stocking. I’m also a horribly impatient driver, people who know me well have seen the flares of my road rage and know that I will drive in the wrong direction and take the long way round if only to avoid waiting in traffic. So the Lord must find it deliciously ironic that he led my mother to bestow upon me the name that she has; three of my names are biblical women who the Lord called, to wait.  Yet my name is so much more than ironic, it is deep rooted in the sovereignty of God just like every other portion of this beautiful life I have been served. I have always been aware of the meanings of my names and have tried to live up to the woman it proclaims me to be, but until recently I have overlooked how I could be taught and served by the stories of my namesakes.

Sarah-I was named after Sarah in the Old Testament, Abraham’s barren wife. My mother was very adamant that I instruct people that I was Sarah “ with an H” as opposed to Sara.  She explained the meaning behind how God changed Sarai to Sarah, and how to her, the H signified the breath of God. In Hebrew times someone’s named being changed was also symbolic of a covenant; you see God changed her name when He promised she would bear a son and Abraham would become the Father of Gods chosen people. I find a lot of hope in Sarah; you see she laughed at the Lords promise that she would bear a child, I mean, wouldn't you if you were around 90 years old?! But God responded: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” So even though she had laughed and doubted, even though she grew impatient and took things in to her own hands and created an “Ishmael” the Bible tells us that God was gracious to her and fulfilled His promise and she had a son, on occasion of which she said: “ God has brought me laughter”. What sweet joy to be had in the fulfilled promises of God.

Elizabeth- Elizabeth means “ consecrated to God”. I am humbled that one of my names would possess such a meaning; to be chosen, to be set apart. Only by Gods grace can I sing praises to my King, only because He has chosen me, adopted me in to His family. My Elizabeth comes from the New Testament.  She and her husband Zacharias were righteous followers of God, but Luke tells us that they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren. Yet in her old age God gave her a baby who would be known as John the Baptist, the voice in the wilderness, proclaiming the Messiah. Elizabeth waited her whole life to feel a life inside of her, the bible says that Zacharias prayer “had been heard”. Upon seeing Mary, who at that point was pregnant with Jesus, the baby inside Elizabeth leapt for joy and Elizabeth identifies Mary as the mother of her Lord.  Elizabeth not only waited for a baby, she waited for the Messiah and God gave her both.

Ruth- The name Ruth was originally intended to be my first name and I was supposed to live out my days known as Ruth Adele Stonier, named after my mother’s dearest cousin and mentor Ruth Adele Link. I wasn’t too young to still posses memories of this Ruth, always sitting with a blanket over her legs; her hands were as soft as butter, with large protruding veins and she only had one eye. I would often stare at the empty socket on her face but would soon be distracted by how she still dressed herself like a proper lady and had a different lapel broach for every occasion. I can see why my mother upon deciding she preferred her daughter to be named Sarah Elizabeth, would not want to risk hurting the feelings of such a remarkable woman and would squeeze on to my birth certificate: Sarah Elizabeth Ruth Adele Stonier. The name Ruth means friend, and is synonymous with mercy and compassion. I treasure the name Ruth because she is in my top five of favorite biblical women. If you haven’t before I urge you to read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament; Ruth, gave up her people and culture after her husband dies to follow the One True God of her mother-in-laws people. She chose to trust and follow God, she waited at the feet of Boaz and she was ushered in to the lineage of Jesus Christ. To me Ruth emulates humility, joy and grace; on Ruth and her circumstances the commentator Matthew Henry writes: “God wisely orders what seem to us small events; and those that appear altogether uncertain, still are directed to serve his own glory, and the good of his people.”

Adele Now, unless there’s an Adele hidden somewhere in the Book Of Chronicles in the many verses of “whom begat who” that I skip over; Adele is not a biblical name. In fact I can only think of two Adele's; Jane Eyre's charge in the classic Charlotte Bronte novel and the incredible singer performing next month in Atlantic City. There are no deep stories of faith for me to derive inspiration from but I can’t very well withhold it from a blog post structured around my name! However the name Adele is worth noting because it also holds a beautiful meaning; noble.  To me, noble has never represented wealth or aristocracy, noble was that rare quality that peered out from the woods like a flash of a cardinals wing in the snow. Noble was something I searched for, like a woman staring out in to the harbor waiting with the wisest discretion for her ship to come in, instead of rolling in the deep.

My names without Stonier, spell out SERA, it wasn’t planned that way but when I was little I recognized my initials in the prefix to another word found in Scripture; Seraphim. The Seraphim's were angels, and I was reading in the book of Isaiah when I was struck by the connection, more powerfully so did I see that the seraphim were singing; “ Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord, GOD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory”


And so, this impatient. anxious. imperfect. heart belongs to a girl whose very name reminds her to wait upon the Lord and to praise His name. On Sunday, we had a wonderful sermon from Psalm 27. Our pastor Bill Kittrell did an incredible job at breaking apart the words of David and reminding us that as we wait upon the Lord, we would see His goodness in the land of the living. We’re all in different seasons of our lives; some are waiting for that proposal and ring, while others have yet to find someone at all. Some are waiting for their child to go through chemotherapy treatments, while others are waiting and hoping and praying for a child to bare. Some are waiting for grades to come through, or a promotion conference call to be had. Some are waiting for prayers to be answered, and some still have to wait to see why the prayer was answered the way it was. Yet, our God gives us so many examples of His faithfulness that we can draw near to Him and not fear that his love may be conditional, not expect to be let down or cast aside. He will not reject or forsake us. While we wait, let us wait in joy. While we trust, let us trust in thankfulness. While we remain confident in His promises, let our lives be known as a song that is filled with proclaiming the holiness and glory of our God.

In Him,
The Arc of Triumph in Paris, France