It's all a matter of perspective.
How many times have we heard that? And how many times have we struggled to still get the right perspective on an issue? A person? Ourselves?
Let me start where this whole thought began...about 5 am this morning, the time my body usually wakes up and wants to spend time with me. Ugh. Being the non-morning person that I am, I find this highly offensive and do all that I can to shut it down...praying and naming the attributes of God alphabetically being among my favorites. I figure Satan hates that so he'll let me go back to sleep. And it usually works!
But not today. For today is my Mom's birthday...her first one in Heaven. And I'm glad for her. Of course I miss her terribly. But I wouldn't wish her back...she's in a better, more glorious place with the Lord she came to love and the many she had known and loved who had gone before her. And what a place to have a birthday party...all the cake and ice cream she can eat! Glory!
Anyway, it wasn't like this day took me by surprise. Over the weekend, my dad and I had talked about how we would get through it. And yesterday in the birding store, standing there waiting for someone to check me out, I teared up as I saw so many lovely gifts that would have brought her joy on her birthday...for we shared a love of gardening and creation that cemented our oft times fragile relationship.
Over the years, we had overcome many tumultuous times...becoming not just mother and daughter, but friends. Slowly we were learning to talk openly with one another, to hear each other's stories. But unfortunately there was still one story unfinished...one question I still had. But now it was too late to talk about it with her...
The fact that she had named me after a shoe. A shoe!!
The story went something like this: "I was in the hospital and we couldn't think of a name we liked and then as I was going to put on my shoe, I looked inside and it said 'Arlene' and I thought that was a lovely name. So that's what we named you."
Seriously?? You managed to come up with some normal ones for my sisters...Diane, Deborah, and Susan!
Can you tell that I have never liked my name? Ever. In elementary school we studied France and I had a French pen-pal and we got to pick out a French name. I picked Genevieve because I thought it was the most romantic name ever. It wreaked of castles and gardens and swirling gowns. Not smelly feet and aching bunions.
What was she thinking? For as long as I can remember, I saw myself as a shoe....to be walked on and dirtied up...kind of like a living, breathing Birkenstock.
For whatever reason, all these thoughts rolled around in my mind this morning. But just as I started trudging down the same old path of hurt, I was apprehended by the gentle and quieting voice of the Holy Spirit, "It's all about perspective. You're not seeing this right."
Okay. Enlighten me.
"Shoes give comfort. They protect and insulate from all that could harm as one walks through this world. And though you may not realize it, there are many beautiful and colorful pairs of shoes out there...not just your idea of Birkenstocks...shoes that can make one feel special and good about themselves. You have never realized it, but your name is your calling. You have a job to do. And it is vital that you do it."
By now I was a mite bit more awake and alert. And I'm thinking He may have said more, but at that point I was a little dumbfounded. And chastened. And I was thinking back to earlier the previous day when I had asked God, "What is the calling on my life?"...probably because one of my writing instructors had asked me to clarify it. Well, now I know!
For all these years, I have had the wrong perspective! I had questioned over and over why my mom named me what she did. I thought it was a mistake. But God didn't. He chose it for her to give to me...a gift, not a curse.
So this morning, I'm taking time to rethink my perspective on a lot of things...holding long held beliefs up to the Light to see how they stand. Can I see Jesus through them? If not, it's time to put them to death.
How about you, my friend? What lie have you been believing? What mis-perception has kept you in bondage? We all have them. Ask the Lord to reveal it to you so that He can step in and set you free.
Satan would have you think that some part of you...or your life...is a mistake. But God never, ever makes mistakes in any area of our lives...whether it's in forming us or giving us the parents we have or the children we have or the circumstances we live in. We just have to believe it. And that belief feeds trust, and trust gives us hope that whatever He has given us, is for good. And that there is a glorious purpose to it all.
Even something as small as being named after a shoe.
Today I will celebrate the gift of my Mom...all we had...not all that we didn't. She was a gift to me and all who knew her. Someday I'm going to tell her how God used her in ways she could never have known.
And for the first time in my life, I will thank her for naming me after a shoe.
I love you, Mom.
photo credit: Francisco (PortoPortugal) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/61863636@N00/40691158214">accomplished task</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>