"When You Wish You Had a New Name"
"Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it."
2 Corinthians 3:18 (VOICE)
We were standing in line at the grocery store, my 4-year-old wiggling impatiently in her favorite purple tutu, when the elderly woman behind us bent low to look my daughter in the eye.
"You’re as beautiful as your dancing dress," the silver-haired shopper said with a playful wink.
Maggie accepted the compliment with a pirouette and a smile, and the friendly chatter continued as I searched for coupons in the bottom of my purse.
"What’s your name?" the soft-spoken conversationalist asked, her aged eyes sparkling.
Maggie stopped spinning long enough to return her inquisitor’s gaze. Then she folded her arms across her chest and responded with a dramatic roll of her baby blues. "Well, my mommy named me Magdalene Hope, but I’d rather be called Bluebell."
Muffled giggles erupted from the eavesdroppers in the snaking line behind us.
"Oh …" she mumbled as she straightened her bony knees and rose shakily to her feet. "I see," she said, as Maggie continued twirling.
I paid for my wares, grabbed my preschooler’s hand and made my way to our waiting mini-van. Once I’d buckled my misnamed child into her car seat, I asked about the grocery store confession.
"Why don’t you like your name?"
"I’d just rather be named Bluebell," Maggie said, her lips pursed in a pink pout. "Or Daffodil or Lily."
"So, you wish you were a flower?" I responded, trying to follow my 4-year-old’s line of thought.
"No, Mommy!" Maggie exclaimed with a giggle. "That would be silly. Then I’d have to sleep in the dirt!"
She stared at me in the rearview mirror and shook her head in silent disbelief. "I don’t want to be a flower. I just want to be beautiful like a flower."
My daughter’s words struck a chord deep inside of me. And for just a moment, I wasn’t glancing at my ballerina in the back seat; I was gazing back in time, staring at my own 14-year-old reflection in a smudgy bathroom mirror.
For just a moment, I was remembering what it was like to be that lanky girl in the eighth grade who wanted to be called by a new name.
The girl who wanted to be called beautiful instead of bony. Lovely instead of loud.
Winsome instead of weird.
Maybe, at one time or another, you’ve wished for a new name, too. Perhaps even today you stared at your own reflection in the mirror and wondered if anyone would ever look at your life and call it beautiful. Or maybe you love someone who wrestles with that very question.
If so, may I tell you what I’ve learned since those days of 14-year-old wishing? May I tell you what I’m going to share with Bluebell as she grows?
There is only one name that calls out our true beauty.
And it isn’t a name whispered by onlookers or posted by friends.
It isn’t a name plastered on a label or sewn into a pair of jeans.
Ironically, the name that calls out the beauty buried in each of us is the Name of the One who was said to have no beauty at all (Isaiah 53:2).
It’s crazy, when you think about it — we have a Savior who surrendered the glory of Heaven so we could become a reflection of His beauty on earth.
And when we take our eyes off the woman in the mirror and fix them on the Lover of our souls, our lives begin to bloom with a radiance that can’t be bottled or concealed.
Maggie pressed her nose to the window and let out a happy squeal.
"Mommy! Mommy! Look at that huge flower …"
I turned my head to see a solitary sunflower standing along the road, its yellow face stretching tall toward the shimmering sun.
Once again, my preschooler sighed, "I wish you’d named me Sunflower."
I eyed my sulking girl and tried not to laugh.
Then, as I steered the van toward home, I prayed that the girl we’d named Magdalene Hope would one day grow to be like that golden flower. Because this mama is learning that true beauty shines brightest when we turn our face to the light of the Son.
Dear Jesus, may my life mirror Your beauty. I want to look more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 34:5, "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." (NIV)
Psalm 16:11, "Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment." (VOICE)