What’s in a Name?

Our grandson, James, turned nine this week. He’s a typical nine-year-old boy with a sports minded dad, grandpa, and uncles so for his birthday we got him a Milwaukee Bucks hooded sweatshirt and a LeBron James tee shirt. In case you don’t know, LeBron James is a star player for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and the name our grandson puts on all of his school papers. Good thing he has a teacher with a sense of humor.

I expected lots of smiles and excitement when he opened the sports apparel but was so shocked at the reaction when he found a small surprise hidden on top of the sweatshirt.

That’s when God showed up at the party.

Our grandkids spend a lot of time at Firstfruits. They love to play with the toys there in the Childcare room or sit at the registration desk and pretend to be receptionists. They fill out the comment cards with very affirming comments like “I love it here.” or “This place is great!” Just what I need to hear.

Strangely, the one thing they comment on all the time are the name tags of all the women who have joined us at Firstfruits over the years so creatively displayed thanks to Mary Stack, my partner in crime. They like to create their own name tag whenever they are there. For some reason having a name tag was important.

So, I asked Mary to make James his very own official Firstfruits name tag on our signature green paper with logo and in a plastic sleeve with the magnets instead of clips or pins that can snag your clothing. (That Mary, she thinks of everything.)

I placed the name tag on top of the sweatshirt and when James opened that present, he let out a shout of joy at the sight of that green paper. He wore the name tag for the rest of the party as he was shooting hoops with his uncles in the driveway. Such a simple thing meant so much. It carried great significance to a nine-year-old.

It carried great significance to me, too. As I mentioned in my blog last week, I’ve been keeping my eyes and my heart open to the unique ways that God loves me. I encourage you to do the same. It’s amazing what you will see and feel.

God’s love not only comes with a sense of being cared for, listened to, and provided for, it comes with surprises, humor, and fun! I challenge you to let God be bigger than ever before in your life. Open yourself up to the possibility of a God that looks different than the one on the cover of our second-grade religion books.

God loved James through a name tag. God loved me through the hoots of a nine-year-old grandson.

How has he loved you?


P.S.- It looks like Firstfruits will be back to meeting in person as well as virtual next fall. We hope to see many of you who we haven’t seen in a while. We miss you.

Your name tags are waiting.

Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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