I am writing this blog post on Wednesday night, on the eve of attending the first ever female military veteran Christian Warriors Retreat. In keeping with the mighty power of our God, I pray that as you are reading this, He is doing great things among the 14 women military veterans that I have the privilege of spending this weekend with. I'm not able to tell you at this moment what, if any, new revelations they will be receiving from this retreat. But I can tell you that as you are reading this early Saturday morning, they will have heard some of the most moving testimonies I have ever witnessed; declarations of Jesus's mercy in the lives of my fellow Sisters in Christ who share that military background with our Seekers.
The other day, I listened to an inspiring podcast by Jennifer LeClaire, the news editor of Charisma Magazine. With a testimony of God's power to turn ashes into beauty, she shares her amazing story with women who need to understand the love and grace of God in a lost and dying world. And from my own life, and the lives that these female veterans have experienced, I know that message can be life-saving. But I also found it most interesting that Ms. LeClaire states she has received revelations from the Lord that we Believers are about to enter a season where we will receive new names, new identities, and new assignments. That is exactly what I want to speak over our retreat Seekers!
You see, I believe when God reveals our new names to us through the healing power of Jesus, it is often to let us know we are destined for a new mission in life. It lets us know we are part of a Divine Plan and that God intends to fulfill His plan through us. The perfect example is the father of our faith... God changed Abram's name ("high father") to Abraham, "father of a multitude" (Genesis 17:5); and his wife's name from Sarai, “my princess,” to Sarah, “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15–16). Both name changes portray how God planned to use them. Their names indicated their new identities and their new assignments as God began His plan to establish His Kingdom on earth.
But what happens to people when they don't know their identity in Christ? When life's experiences tell us we are a failure; or that others see us as someone to be used and discarded? When our identity is defined by what others tell us about ourselves (including the devil), then the very foundation of our life can be shaky and unstable. So think about the identities these female military veterans are carrying. I'm sure I don't have to spell out the challenges of women co-existing in a warrior atmosphere. What would it be like for them to have an identity formed knowing they are someone whom God loves deeply and fiercely? How would that change the way they think of themselves and live their lives? What if they could see themselves as Ephesians 1 describes them ... "blessed with every spiritual blessing; holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight". What if they could take off those identities that have them wearing -- the "filthy rags" determined by what they've done, or had done to them, and put on a beautiful clean identity of having been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, grace-lavished, and unconditionally loved and accepted. Just think of what it would be like for them to see themselves as pure, blameless and forgiven!
Then they would be free to walk in the new assignment, and receive the resources, the time, and the anointing (blessing, protection, and empowerment) to carry out their new mission. Think of the excitement and expectation this would bring to their lives! But let's not limit this new season to just my retreat Seekers. Are you ready for a name change? A new identity and a new assignment? Who among us would not be excited to think God looks at us as worthy of a new identity and deserving of a new calling to serve Him?
So, while I am looking forward to telling you of the radical changes that will take place in the atmosphere of our retreat, and in the lives of our female veterans, I want to tell you that just like Jennifer LeClaire, I am discerning that God is about to give us all new and more powerful names as we accept our new identities and assignments in the rapidly approaching fulfillment of His Kingdom. I just can't wait for each of us to receive that "white stone with a new name engraved on the stone which no one knows except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17). Some theologians explain that white stones were sometimes used as tickets of admission to public assemblies. Here the white stone may symbolize admission to the Messiah’s banquet. That, to me, is a picture of the Bride! And that's an identity and assignment that none of us will want to turn down!
Isaiah 62:2 "The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give".