A New Name

Mar 17, 2015

 

“you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls”

Isaiah 58:12

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We have arrived at those muddy, brown days between winter and spring. When I cross the yard to the chicken coop, it feels as if I am walking on a sponge. We have had a few warmer days and a few sunnier days, but it is not yet clear to me if the damage of this winter can be undone.

Somehow I find it harder to believe in spring the closer it comes.

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My daughter is learning about the Holocaust in school. Every afternoon she shows me some newly acquired fact, as if she half believes that this time, this time, I will contradict her teacher. I will say, No, no, it wasn’t as bad as that. Instead, I only ever say yes. Yes, it’s true.

Here is what she does not say: How do you go on living in a world where such things have happened? Still happen?

Here is what I do not say: I don’t know.

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As a writer, I pick up the pieces. Even the ugly, broken pieces. I arrange them and rearrange them, and I search for hidden meaning. I find patterns, and they always say the same thing. They say, Look! Here is something beautiful. Here is good news.

Except that recently, I can’t seem to find the pattern. The broken pieces remain only broken pieces.

They are so many. They are so sharp.

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Because it is Lent, we begin each Sunday service with The Decalogue rather than a hymn. We hear the list of God’s ten commands, and they are like stones that form a wall that enclose a garden.

Gardens grow best within the shelter of a wall, but we have torn down the wall with our own hands.

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Perhaps we must first listen to the bad news if we hope ever to hear the good.

Perhaps it is sorrow for all the broken pieces and all the tumbled stones that gives us courage to stand up. To rise up, leave the sackcloth and ashes, and go searching for our new name.

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17 Comments

  1. Lisa-Jo

    posts like these are why you will always be one of my favorite writers. I’m going to be thinking about this one all day now.

    Reply
  2. Texannah

    May help for what it is worth…
    2 Corinthians 12:10
    My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness….that’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Texannah. That’s a favorite verse of mine, but I hadn’t thought of it in this context.

      Reply
  3. Marilyn

    How true this is! I am just getting back to blog reading after a long time away and this post is being savored. Looking squarely at the broken things is very important, a necessary step to health and restoration. I have spent many months looking at broken things, but hope remains!

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Marilyn, it is so good to see you here again. I hope you continue to find encouragement as you enter a new season.

      Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Diana. As ever, I am incredibly grateful for your presence here. One of these days I’m going to head west just to sit at your table!

      Reply
  4. Larry Ebaugh

    I read every word, and as usual you did not disappoint.

    You know, Christie is such a beautiful name. It truly is since it’s formed from the name of Christ. But if I were going to give you a new name, it would be Hope. God bless . . .

    Reply
  5. Danielle Diehl

    I am so weary of all the brokenness. But I can’t look away. I always feel so helpless, but feel like i’m doing something by looking and seeing and not looking away. Does that make sense?

    Reply
    • Marilyn

      May I respond to this?
      I think the inability not to look often speaks to a person’s wiring and gifting, especially of compassion. But every gift can be overdone – every gift has its pitfalls – and must be stewarded well. It has helped me, when I have not been able to look away and have profound feelings of helplessness, to set some boundaries on the amount of time I will allow myself to dwell. In a recent situation that was completely consuming, we (my husband and I) set one day a week when there would be no reference to it. Otherwise, every evening started out with a conversation about something that ended up back discussing the broken thing. At first we had to keep reminding ourselves, but after a few weeks, it was easier. That once-a-week breather really helped us.

      Reply
      • Christie Purifoy

        Such a practical suggestion, Marilyn. Like a Sabbath rest from sorrow. I love it.

        Reply
  6. Sue Tell

    Been thinking much about God’s name for me.

    Thank you Christie.

    Reply

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