Monday, January 31, 2011

A Story About Words

Image taken from

"You are a terrible are a terrible are a terrible friend." "You are not a good are not a good are not a good person." As much as I tried to ignore the words in my head, they kept repeating like a bad song that I couldn't forget. They were words from The Letter. The same letter I told everyone meant nothing to me, did, after all, mean something to me. And I hated that it did.

Words. Put them together in the right way, and they have the power to destroy...or to heal. Words are powerful. I have a great weapon for overcoming negative words. It is my overcoming weapon number five! But before I share it, I feel like telling a little story.

Over the Christmas holidays, Bob and I packed up the kids and headed off to Branson--the land of family-friendly fun and entertainment. We are thankful we live close enough to go often. One afternoon we went to an indoor water park, but I was feeling decidedly non-swimmy. So, while Bob and the kids frolicked about like little ducks, I sat at a table and read one of the books I got for Christmas.

The author was explaining how God would give new names to people after a life-changing experience with Him. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul. These new names had prophetic meaning that released God's power into their lives and caused them to step into the destinies God had called them to. Revelation 2:17 tells us that when we get to Heaven, we will receive a new name written on a white stone! That is so cool. I can't wait to find out what mine is.
As I pondered all this, I looked up and watched the kids splashing and screaming with joy. I thought to myself, "I wish I could have a new name before I get to Heaven, like Abraham and Jacob and the others. If God did give me a new name down here, I wonder what it would be, though?" And just like that, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Right in the middle of the noisy water park, I had an encounter with the real, living God! He cannot be stopped by rowdy kids on slippery slides. I sure do love Him.

I heard Him, not with my ears, but in my spirit, say, "I have called you Friend. Your name is Friend." Stunned, my response was, "How can this be?" I had known for a long time that having friendships was not one of my strengths. I had always looked on wistfully while others with the "gift" of friendship made it all look so effortless. I had decided I could be good at other things, but I just wasn't cut out for friendship the way others were. 

And then I wasn't seeing the water park anymore. The Lord was showing me flashes of my life. I saw myself as a girl of ten, crying on my bed, clutching another letter in my hand, written by my best friend. The letter explained in fourth grade language that I was no longer her friend. She had moved on to a new best friend, and I was yesterday's news.

I saw myself turning down invitations and protecting my heart all through elementary, junior high, and high school. I saw myself in my twenties, wounded by a friend who had rejected me by cutting off all forms of communication.

I saw myself standing in church singing "I am a friend of God" along with everyone else, but not really believing it. I remember inwardly groaning a little every time we sang that song at church, because I don't like singing things I'm unsure of. It makes me feel like I'm lying to a pretty tune. It wasn't that I didn't know what the Bible says about our friendship with God. It was that I was fully convinced that friendship was a disability of mine. If I couldn't manage human friendships, how could I possibly qualify for friendship with God? I had no problems being His child. But friendship--that's reserved for the big wigs like Abraham.

I saw myself unintentionally but repeatedly hurting my friends and chalking it up to this deficiency of mine.

And I saw myself opening The Letter, and having the cold, hard truth engraved in black type before my very eyes: "You are a terrible friend."

I saw all these things flash before me in a moment, and then the Lord spoke to me again. He told me that Satan had been convincing me of a lie in order to steal my God-given destiny. Jesus has called me into friendship with Him. But Satan does not want me to believe it!

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:15-17

All this time, all these years, I had believed the lie! I'm so grateful I finally saw the truth revealed so kindly by my good friend Jesus. He has always been a good friend to me. I've never had a problem with that truth. I've just never considered it in the reverse. But since that day at the water park, I've been trying on my name and feeling giddy about it, kind of like the bride who loves the way her new name sounds. I am a friend of God. God calls me friend! I am His friend! He is my friend, and I am His friend. Okay, you get the idea. I'm getting silly, but this has changed my relationship with Jesus in a way I can't really describe.
I can't wait to find out what this means. How will my destiny as God's friend unfold? And how will it shape my earthly friendships? These are things I don't know yet, but I'm looking forward to the journey. I'm ready to take back what Satan stole from me! I'm choosing to believe my Friend's words about me. Those words are life and health to me and also to you, my overcoming friends.

And this takes us right into weapon number five--coming soon!


  1. Thank you my friend!

    Your friend,

  2. This was a tear-jerker for me. I'm so glad you have your new name, and your very best friend in Jesus. And you know you you will always have a best friend in me, too, from the very beginning and to the very end of our lives.

  3. New names... how I TOTALLY relate to your words this morning. It has reminded me to stop and thank God for the new name He gave me. His Words bring life and healing like nothing else in this world. Only sad when we push them away or live not believing His voice.

  4. Thank you for sharing this perspective on friendship. Words often become an array of obstacles that hinder our growth. Oh, how God is working through your life and showing you that the ultimate friend of all is him.


  5. You have been one of my very best friends for half my life! There is something to say about you must not stink as much as you think. Even so, what a delight to embrace friendship with your creator! BF/F!

  6. Okay, funny story. After reading this I was compelled to look up the meaning of my middle name "Ruth" for some reason. Something I was nudged in my spirit to do the other day, but didn't get to it. I seriously have never known... It means "Friend, companion".

    I too struggle with friendship and have been grieving of late the difficulties surrounding it. Thank you for your post. I have known Jesus to be my friend in the past, but have recently been struggling. I know there is something for me to glean from this.

  7. Rachelle, one of my greatest joys as your mother is seeing you grow up to be one of my very best friends, as well as my daughter. Have I ever told you how much I value your friendship?


  8. Friend. The Lord speaking your new name to you reminds me of my FAVORITE worship song by Jeremy Riddle.

    Love you my friend!!


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