Called By Name

My name is Julie Williams.  Julie is a pretty common name.  So is Williams.  It is even a fairly common combination.  I have literally introduced myself to someone at a conference, a perfect stranger, only to discover that we have the same name, first and last.

Did you know there is a website called howmanyofme.com?  According to this website there are 327,606,344 people in the U.S.  You can type in your first and last name and find out how many people have the same name as you.

Apparently, there are 570,035 people in the U.S. with the first name Julie.  There are 1,862,982 people in the U.S. with the last name Williams.  I guess Williams is the 3rd most popular last name in this country.  Then it tells me there are 3,242 people in the U.S. named Julie Williams.  I guess this explains why I have met others with the same name and why I have been mistaken for other Julies.

There are some pretty incredible Julie Williams out there.  Try google searching them.  It’s an eclectic blend of awesome people you can discover.  There are artists, singers, writers, realtors, doctors, and a Julie Williams who publishes patterns for knit animals.  There is even a Julie Williams who was the Chief Counsel to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.

Oh, Not Me Then

When I hear the name Julie being called out in public, I pretty much assume the call is not for me.  I write letters returning cards that were sent to me, but not meant for me.  I respond to emails with things I know nothing about it hopes that the intended recipient and writer can connect.  I answer the phone for disappointed callers because of a wrong number.

It was only this morning that I made a phone call to check on something and the person on the other end thought they were talking to a different Julie.  I was so confused that I had to throw the breaks on the conversation and try to get everyone back to the beginning to explain that I was not the Julie they assumed I was.

There really is not anything standout-ishly special about my name or about me.

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It is funny how experience can shape our perceptions, even our perceptions of a word.  Called.

“Fear not for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name and you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

This is a verse to Israel about what the Lord says to them in the book of Isaiah.  It is also a commonly used verse on cards, coffee cups, ties, folders, posters, t-shirts, and stickers.

I have never really had a personal zest or connection to this verse.  I tend to glaze over it in much the same way that I tune out when people yell, “Julie!”  It’s usually not me they are talking about.  In the whole group of Julie Williams in the world, I must not be the one being called, I’m sure your looking for someone else.

In my younger years of religiously attending church services and activities that is how I felt.  The call is not for me.  I’m too ordinary, too plain, too average.  Then it was because I was too broken, too sinful, too damaged.   The call just was not going to be for me.

Redemption

Redemption.  This is my word of the year.  Yep, I’m one of those word people who pick a word or theme for the year and then dig in trying to really explore the word, meaning, and application in my life.

I know Jesus saved me from my sins.  His sacrificed redeemed me.  It freed me.  I have known this since I really gave my life to Christ in 2003.  But, I have just gone through this season the past few years of deep brokenness and barren emptiness.

There have been so many good blessings in this time to be thankful for, but my soul has been arid, dry, cracked, and chapped.  It has felt like so much has left my life, but not been refreshed, replenished, or restored.  I have struggled to release in my mind and my heart what is gone, what I did wrong, what I messed up, and what was broken.

Have you ever experienced a time of a dry spirit and chapped soul?

I chose the word redemption in hopes of finding greater understanding and wisdom and freedom in what I have already been given.  It’s on this journey of learning more about redemption, that I have realized I haven’t just been called, I’ve been summoned.

Summoned

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

To receive a summons is to be named by a figure of authority to appear at a specific place.  For instance a judge may summon a witness to their courtroom.

When the Lord calls, He’s not just shouting out a name to a mass of people so that one of them will turn around.  It’s not just any of the 3,242 Julie Williams turn to Him.   He’s on a mission for a missing person, searching with the unbridled passion of a father looking for a lost child.

The Lord knows my name, but He also knows everything about me.  My date of birth, the breaths I have taken, the beats of my heart, the sound of my voice, the tears I have shed, the prayers I have said, and the number of hairs upon my head.

Out of His great love, it is the Lord’s desire to answer me, complete me, fill me, satisfy me, pardon me, forgive me, sanctify me, purify me, and bless me.  Not because of what I do, or have done, or will do.  Not because of what my name is or is not, but out of the greatness of His name and what He has given for me.

As much as all of this is mine, all of this is for you too.  God’s love, God’s power, God’s provision, God’s passion, God’s compassion, it’s all limitless.  What the Lord has can overflow us all.

I can’t even wrap my mind around the 3,242 other Julie Williams in the US, let alone be able to comprehend how Jesus can know in such detail all who are living, have ever lived and all those yet to be born.  His book of life has to be pretty spectacular.  This nerdy Julie, who is a huge book worm, can wait to see it.

Live It Out

Do you hear the Lord calling your name?
Do you feel like it is a generic cry to any one who will respond?
Are you feeling dry, parched, and chapped?
Are you feeling overlooked and unheard?

Take some time to consider what it means to be summoned.

Look up and write out this Bible verse Isaiah 43:1 from a few different translations.  What words stand out to you?

Read these words out loud in your voice:

The Lord knows my name, but He also knows everything about me.  My date of birth, the breaths I have taken, the beats of my heart, the sound of my voice, the tears I have shed, the prayers I have said, and the number of hairs upon my head.  

Out of His great love, it is the Lord’s desire to answer me, complete me, fill me, satisfy me, pardon me, forgive me, sanctify me, purify me, and bless me.  Not because of what I do, or have done, or will do.  Not because of what my name is or is not, but out of the greatness of His name and what He has given for me.  

Listen for the Lord specifically calling out to You.  Respond to His call and allow him to show you many great and wonderful things.

Pray Through It

Beloved Lord, 

Thank You so much for not just making a generic request out to mass of humanity, but for specifically knowing us and summoning us by the details of our lives out of Your love for us.  Thank You for being a God brilliant enough to know us all, but intimate enough to distinguish us individually.  

Lord, I lift up to you my readers.  I ask that You would refresh them, renew them, and restore them.  Lord, let Your living waters run to the parched areas of their souls to bring a surprising regrowth.  Lord, nourish those seeds that were long ago planted, the ones that were thought to have gone dead or been defective, show us how they were merely dormant, waiting for the perfect time to blossom.  

Lord, help us to train our ears to hear Your voice, so that when You call and when You summon us we eagerly respond with praise and thanksgiving.  

In the holy name of Jesus, amen.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Amen and thank you Julie Williams!

    1. Thank you so much Diane. God is good!

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