Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Called By a New Name

There was a time in June when I met with a group of amazingly godly Maasai women. These women had been trained previously by other Kenyan women in biblical storytelling, and I was there to follow up with the women and hear their stories. I have written previously about the experience here. It was humbling and beautiful and inspiring and sad and challenging and so much more, all at the same time. These women toil, often in places where there are no other Christians. They alone are the pillars of the Church, carrying the torch of salvation to regions who have not yet seen the Light yet.

When our session came to a close, the ladies were milling around, chatting and gabbing as only women can, (that doesn’t change from culture to culture) when it was asked if I had been given a Maasai name. When I answered an honest, “No,” it was decided that today was the day that I would be called by a new name.

And so they stood and discussed for a moment, and then announced.

Nassirian, meaning “Woman of Peace.”

At first I was taken aback, humbled, embarrassed.

In my head, I heard this: “It’s only because they don’t know you. If they knew you better, they’d take it back. Your life is full of turmoil, strife. There is no peace in you about anything.”

And yet the name was spoken, and in all grace, I received it, holding back the welling up in my eyes for fear that they might be misunderstood. My heart swelled, suddenly blocking my throat, making it difficult to swallow, as it thumped louder and stronger there.

I smiled humbly. “Thank you for that name. I am greatly honored. I will treasure it for life.”

And the conversation quickly moved on to name others. But me, I was stuck there. My world paused. No one knew it but me. They will never know how that one moment in time will forever be memorialized in my heart. It will forever be a stone that I carry with me, just as the Israelites carried a stone up out of the Jordan River.

Thus far has the Lord brought me, and I have this stone to show for it. Nassirian.

One other name was given, and then the rain began to fall. Gently, softly, big cleansing drops pouring forth from Heaven.

He has heard the name. Nassirian. Woman of Peace.

He ordained the name, and though I am not yet who He has created me to be, He is doing a new thing, and new Name has been given, so that I too know where He is taking me.

The water of Heaven baptized my hair, running a stream down my cheeks, dripping off the end of my nose. It has been washed. I have been washed, and He is doing a new thing.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

I have read it often. I have pondered what it would be like to be called a peacemaker, and not in the sense of pleasing man, but in the sense of embodying grace and mercy, letting gentleness be evident to all. I can see her, the woman who God is calling out. I can almost touch her, and on good days, I feel my heart consumed by her. She is gentle in tone. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She demonstrates mercy to all other fellow sojourners, knowing that not one of us has yet reached our destination. Her hurts have been many, her bruises in various stages of healing. Because she knows the pain of mankind, and knows the comfort of the Comforter, she is able to offer comfort to all others in her path. A safe place to land.

I can see her.

And on quiet, dark mornings, when I beat the sun and children in rising, and I greet my Savior with crusty eyes, bare feet, opens hands, and moldable heart, He welcomes her to the day, this woman of peace.

He calls me by a new name. And I will ever praise Him.

Today I am linked up to ShoutLaughLove, as we journey to joy together.


  1. All you had to convey was, "Have you been given a Massai name?" and it took my breath away. A little gasp of anticipation and awe accompanied by tears welling up. What is it about being given a name? So personal...so revealing...
    I think it's a little foretaste of hearing our new name from the lips of Christ.

  2. Remember that many times others see things in us that we are unable to see on our own accord. I see that woman of peace in you. She has always been there, even in the times of strife, rebellion and learning. Nassirian.... how beautiful, how touching, how absolutely appropriate.

  3. Lynn,
    I can count on one hand the number of people who have known me as long as you, excluding direct family. We have seen much together, my friend. Your words and your thoughtfulness honor and humble me greatly. I hope you know how much I esteem and love you. Through so many years and so many miles, you are ever precious in my heart.

  4. oh shauna, this is a beautiful grace-story. i love the Spirit-working, the humility, the ebenezer stone, the now-and-not-yet aspect of God's work in progress...

    this is so encouraging to me, as a fellow pilgrim who longs to be a peacemaker and falls so much along the way. God IS doing a good work, and will carry it on to completion!


Thoughts? Feel welcome to share...