When You Need A New Name

It's weeks before the new year's beginning when I start wondering what I'll name the year that's about to be born.

Out of all the years I've lived, I've only named one--and that year, it named me, too.

I called 2011 by this one name, Faith.  And God, He poured out His Grace on a life, filled up every last day of the year with Himself.  I might've given thanks for this a thousand times over, but what He gave in return?  A new name.


And I wonder now if I really named that year at all.

Because maybe this is the truer thing:  Maybe He tore the veil and I caught a glimpse of what He'd bring from a year, if only I'd let Him name us both.  And so I did.

But it's when I stand on the edge of another year's coming that I tremble with the weight of all this naming.  It feels as if a life's emerging and I'm too scared and small and broken to hold it in my hands.

Because I am.

When I write for the last time in 2011, wrestle out one thing He's teaching, I think maybe, just maybe, I've stumbled on the name of 2012:  Home.  But I pull back before I can say it sure because I only know this--I don't want to choose a name.  I want to see this year for what it really is, call it by the name He's already given.

And I'm terrified this blinded soul of mine can't glimpse what He's unveiling.

So the new year's born without a name and the days of January find me digging through the past, doing the one thing I know He's asked:  Letting go.  And it's harder than I thought to clear away the ruins of a life, make room for what He's going to build.  The grief runs high and the strength runs low and it's a day late in January when I'm brought to my knees on that cold basement floor and there's no getting up under the weight of all that loss.

That's when I know it sure.

He's already lifted the veil, shown me the name of this new year and I've just been too scared to take hold.  Because maybe I've been afraid of this very thing.  Maybe I've been afraid of the cost of the naming.

Because finding my home in Christ, it might mean a thousand things I don't understand.  But this one thing I've already figured out and it's ripped me open, laid me low:  Settling into this Home He Is means letting go of every piece of home I've ever known.

And who can stand tall and unbroken when everything's been stripped clean away?

I can't and I haven't and, oh, this stripping away hasn't left me feeling free and unburdened the way I once thought it might.  Because this soul's been scraped bare and raw, pieces of the past wrenched straight out of the ground.

And who doesn't feel a bit of aching emptiness when there's nothing left of the life that once was?

It's the last week in January when I write this out steadyGod is Home because God is Love.  Yes, *Love* is our Home.

But it's not until February slips in and I stammer out what I'm learning--that it's not about letting go but about holding on to Him--that's when I see it clear and strong.

I might've named this year Home.  But my Home?  It's Love.  And this Love?  It's Him.

This year bears His name, just like all the ones before.

And I don't wonder anymore who's naming who.

He's already named me Loved and I can't imagine anything more beautiful, glorious, and life-giving than that one word.  But I remember this promise:

"...'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him'..."  {1 Corinthians 2:9}

And who wants to doubt that what He has in store is better than anything we've known before?

He's named this year Home and there's no telling what He'll name me, too.  But I'm letting go and holding on to Him--because it's only Him Who holds us together anyway.

And He really is the only Home we'll ever need.


  1. Who doesn't feel a bit of aching emptiness when there's nothing left of the life that once was? Yes. This is me too. Walking all different still feels awkward, uncomfortable and so unfamiliar. I do miss that. Thank you for being honest about it. Thanking God for your hand to hold, and your words to feast upon so that I don't feel it all so hard. Grateful...for you.


    1. @Bernadette: Oh, Friend, to know that these words of mine are lessening the hard for you--this is sweet grace to me! It seems a number of us are on the same journey right now, this letting go of what's been and reaching out for what He's leading us to. And what you've said here is spot on--we're learning all over how to walk in a new land. Thank you for the reminder to be patient while we find our feet. I am deeply grateful for you, too.

  2. Dear Courtney,
    May the Father of mercies comfort you. He is holding on to you, no matter what. He really is the only Home you need. You are right in that. May He settle you in so deeply that your spirit feels free to take off your shoes and curl up beneath a quilt in front of the fire. He loves us both more than we know.

    Love and prayers,

    1. @tinuviel: Your words here paint a picture that breathes comfort into a weary heart tonight. You keep reminding me where it is I'm really going--straight into that Home He Is where I can curl up beside Him and just *belong.* You are grace to me, Friend.

      Thankful--so thankful--for your love and prayers. Sending both right back at you across the miles tonight.

  3. hi Courtney,

    such a complicated mix of mourning and joy, fear and hope, letting go and holding on...it's no wonder if you don't feel "free and unburdened", when you're being pulled in so many directions at once! but as Christina says, through all the tearing down and building up, you're held in--and held together by--God's unconditional love. i'm praying that our Lord will comfort and encourage you with the knowledge that the tearing down is "of a moment", and the building up is for always--


    1. @chris: Thank you for seeing the joy and hope mixed in with all this mourning and fear. There are so many days when I just want to push past this part of the grieving and move right into the rebuilding. But I know it well that there's no rushing the process and there's nothing to be gained by refusing to work through the loss. Your words here, they're comforting me tonight--the tearing down is for a moment and the building up is for always. And without the tearing down, there is no building up. Thank you, always, for prayers.


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