Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Name

One of my favorite times with George each day, is when we work on his homework. I know, that may sound a bit crazy...probably the teacher/former homeschooling mom in me. I truly love to watch my kids learn and grow academically and because George is in school, I do not get to see the progress he is making.

George has math homework every day, so I am getting a good taste of how he is doing with numbers. Right now he is having to re-learn how to correctly write his numbers. Apparently, whoever taught him in the orphanage, did not exactly get the numbers right. For instance, a 3 looks more like a m, and his 7s are always backwards and 8s have a straight line down the middle. 10 looks more like 01. So, George gets frustrated that we are now telling him his numbers are not quite right.

But, the positive side is that we get to work on that every afternoon together, and there is always the reward of being able to run outside and play when he is done. While he may get a bit frustrated, he doesn't give up, and that is a wonderful quality he possesses.

The teacher/homeschooling mom in me is absolutely obsessed with putting names on papers. So, I remind George to write his name at the top of the homework page. He now writes "George" so beautifully! Even one week ago, all his es were upside down and his lowercase g was a mess. I looked at this wonderfully written name and I immediately praised him, "Great job! Look at how beautiful your name looks?" and George replied, "Georgie not done...I'm a Weldie too."

I asked him, "Do you know how to write Weldie?"

He said, "Watch me!"

And sure enough, he wrote out W-e-l-d-i-e. We high fived and both smiled ear to ear.

As I thought of this last night, driving the kids to Awana, I was reminded of the scripture that says God will give us a new name. In Revelation 2:17, Jesus says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it..." What struck me here was "to him who overcomes"...and I am overwhelmed with the thought of all that George has had to overcome! He watched his father die. He lived in absolute poverty. He slept in the bushes. Bad men with guns came into his villiage. He had to watch out for snakes, flies, crocodiles, hyennas and other animals that kill in Ethiopia. He then gets left by his mother at an orphanage. He is told he will have a new family. He is flown half way around the world. He is thrust into a family full of siblings. He does not understand the language. He misses his food, his music, his smells. And yet, here is is...going to school, high-fiving his mom as he writes his new name, and giving us all hugs and kisses each night. He has overcome...and now God has blessed him with a new name.

But, I just couldn't stop there. I remember that what Jesus was saying is also said by Isaiah!

I turned to Isaiah 62 to read about the new name. Isaiah is referring to Jerusalem and how she will have a new name, but I couldn't help but see the similarities to George here. Indulge me for a while :)

Verse 2 says, this, "The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow." Verse 4 goes on to say, "No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate...for the Lord will take delight in you and your land will be married." The chapter finishes with these words, "They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." (v. 12)
I was overwhelmed with the similarities..and also the consistency of God's character. While this chapter is specifically about Jerusalem, God feels the same way about ONE CHILD. God saw a son who had been deserted, who's heart was desolate. Can we even begin to understand what it must feel like to be deserted? Completely left alone? Betrayed by the people you trust more than anyone? Deserted, alone, isolated, desolate. These words describe the boy we picked up in Africa.

God SAW this boy who was deserted and he placed in my heart a longing, a desire that I didn't quite understand. God told me, "Seek after a boy I have in Ethiopia waiting for you." And so, Joe and I sought after the boy.

God has given Deserted and Desolate a new name. God has given George a family and with that family comes an identity called Weldie. All of us are identified by that name! How many times do I hear "Boy! I can tell he is a Weldie." or "She sure looks like a Weldie!" There is a strong identity in that last name (especially now that we are in such a small town). And God longed for George to be identified with a family; a family that loves him. George is no longer Georgebush Lema, although that will always be a part of him, he has a new name...George Weldie.

George can also have the name Sought After and No Longer Deserted...both of those names would fit him. He was sought after, and slowly, the feelings of desertion are fading in his memory. And he knows he is a Weldie too!

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