Do Your Kids Know Their Name? Their REAL name?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who I am. I’ve written plenty about it, too. I think understanding who we are is one of those epic whole-life quests.

Today in women’s Bible class my wise friend Vera Jean said some truths are hard to hold onto. She said just when we think we’ve grasped them, we’ll find they’ve slipped through our fingers. She said we’ll spend our whole lives grasping, holding onto, and losing understanding. She said as we go, we hold onto it for longer and the grasping gets easier.

As I look ahead, already feeling my identity-confidence slipping, I find peace in that.

A few weeks ago I read the book of Isaiah, so full of truths I’ll soon forget and need to relearn. But for now, they’re fresh. Reading Isaiah reminded me that I’m God’s—His child, His slave, His to direct, His to cherish. By the time I arrived in chapter 44, I was sold out, so eager in my commitment to being whoever God wanted me to be. So when I read these words…

This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant…
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and will take the name Israel.

I ran to my desk, grabbed a Sharpie and wrote “The Lord’s” on my hand.

Because I belong to the Lord. Because my name is “The Lord’s.”

Today, looking back on Isaiah 44 I can’t help but think about my “offspring.”

My journey toward understanding who I am is important. It’s important because it’s not just about me; it affects everyone around me, my kids most of all.

My identity, my name, is something I pass down. If my name is fear or insecurity or pride, my kids will know it. And they’ll live their entire lives under the weight of it. If I find my identity in my appearance or my accomplishment, my children will too. Or they’ll spend years, tears, and too much energy trying not to.

But if I live into my identity in Christ, if I wear His name and walk in His way, I’m passing down something powerfully life-giving and freeing, not a burden but a key. I’m planting my children by “flowing steams” when I pass down a legacy of sonship (daughter-ship), redemption, and glory.

I am “The Lord’s.” That is the name I want to give my kids.

The other day at Chick-fil-a I looked over at London eating ketchup-coated chicken nuggets. She had something doodled on her hand. I looked closer and saw this:

And I cried quiet, happy tears.

Because she’s six. And she’s writing His name on her hand.

I know things may change. I know she’ll struggle just like I do to keep her identity straight. I know she’ll look in a mirror a hundred times and wonder, “Who am I?”

But I know too that a name is a powerful thing, and I have the opportunity and responsibility to teach her her name, to forever bless her in binding her to her Father.

Today I’m rejoicing in my identity, resting in belonging, knowing that who I am shapes who she’ll be. Knowing that Who I am has so little to do with me. Knowing that the same God who made me and claimed me and named me has done and will do the same for her, for both my girls, for all our offspring, springing up like grass in a meadow…