The Power of Being Named

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There is power in being named and naming.  Names call forth identity and purpose.  Names can also shut down the same.  When critical seasons of change happened in the ancient world, often the person’s names changed as well because names and identity were understood to be inextricably entwined.

When I lived in South Sudan I had the honor to name quite a few little ones.  It was always something I took as a high privilege because it was a chance to call forth meaning, identity and purpose in profound ways.  Being named has power.  With our words we call forth things that are not into being and set boundaries for our lives.   With our words we speak life {or not} into those around us.

Words and names are holy, sacred, powerful things.

You who have been with me on this journey across continents, seasons and years have likely noticed seasonal re-namings of this place.  You can trace my seasons with their changing names From the Unpaved Road became Bravely You which became Illustrated Grace and maybe a few things in between.  These names have been a litany of mile markers on the journey deeper into His heart and to live more fully out of my own.

What you likely don’t know about me is that Michele is actually my middle name. My first name is Diane. My mom is also named Diane and she loved her name enough to pass it along to me. For years it was just the name that got filled in on legal documents and that I had to correct doctors offices from calling me.  I never went by it and it didn’t really feel fully mine.

But that has been changing.  Mom and I were chatting about what address I could use in social media land that was uniform and simple seeing as the obvious MichelePerry was taken and she off the cuff suggested, “Why not DMichelePerry? It’s how you sign your name anyway.”

I came home and did some digging to see it was universally available.  I started switching everything over and suddenly Diane had new meaning for me.  It was no longer the name I never used, it became a beautiful gift from my Mama that I get to carry with me always.  And it was the one letter that allowed my worlds to be aligned and tied together and completed.

Diane means a number of things, but a little research turned up some beautiful truths.  Diane can mean heavenly.  It can also be a reference to the top sail of a sailing vessel, which is the primary forerunner sail that drives the boat forward. Di– means double and Anne is grace so from a little more creative perspective it can also reference double grace.   And it is all grace.  Every little bit of it.

This site has been a travelogue of me finding myself. Owning our names and our story is one of the bravest things any of us will ever do.

Naming is a powerful thing.  And the most powerful name of all is the name God calls us.  Beloved.  Be Loved.  Be the Loved.  And no label or name of man can ever cancel out the purposes and promises of God written over our lives by His love.  His love is too powerful for that.

And so this site ceases to be about grand poetic themes, and has become about simpler, deeper moments that are as I am:  Here.  His.  Yours.  D. Michele Perry.

{But I still go by Michele… in case you are wondering. 😉 }

The Thing With Trees

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It has been a wild week in these parts.   This online home has been with me since I first set foot on the red dusty earth in Africa.  It has been through a litany of name changes as diverse as the twists in the path of my journey.  And we both have emerged stronger and more refined because of that process.

It’s my prayer that this place while honoring my past seasons, will become a community gathering place where I continue to spill words and heart about the deeper life lived in grace with Jesus looks like.  I find my heart turning toward talking more openly about confronting spiritual abuse; cultivating holistic, organic church expressions and celebrating the journey deeper into His heart.

I know some of my friends who join us here are in very different places on their spiritual journeys.  And I want you to know you are always, always welcome here regardless what you believe about church and faith and Jesus.  If you want to hang out with me here, then the door is always open.  The kettle always on.

I believe we are in the middle of another reformation that is changing the landscape of what it means to be a Jesus follower and what it looks like to build authentic, organic, healthy communities of faith.  I think I’m going to be writing a good bit about this in the coming months.

You see… the thing with trees is that the tree never looks like the seed.

Many of us have had dreams that seemed to die and some of us are still mourning their loss 10-20-30 years later.  Sometimes what we think is the dream, is actually only the seed.  And unless the seed dies, the dream will never grow into the fullness of what it is meant and created to be.

Fifteen years ago, on Good Friday God asked me to take all the scriptural studies I had worked on writing and researching hours a day for almost two years and literally dig a hole in a friend’s yard and bury them.  And that’s what I did.  I piled everything in a cardboard box and buried it.

Walking back inside after watching years of work disappear in the dirt, Holy Spirit whispered: You think you are burying a dream, but you’re not.  You’re planting a seed.  What is now needs to die so what is not yet can come forth.

Now, a decade and a half later the things that were sown into me as I dug and researched and developed and dreamed in a little apartment in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies are coming forth.  Here certainly, but even more in the content that is getting developed to mentor creatives, leaders and entrepreneurs.  The promises are unfolding but looking completely other than anything I imagined.

Be encouraged. The thing with dreams is a lot like the thing with trees.  No dream looks like its seed.

I wonder. What dreams have you mourned as dead and gone, were actually just the seeds for the life that has been growing within all along, looking different than you expected?  His promises are always yes and amen in Christ Jesus.  But that doesn’t mean they look like what we think they will.

I so appreciate you.  Friends who have been here for over a decade and those who have just arrived.  Thank you for being you, being here sharing life and words.  You are loved.

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Why Covering Should Be Left to Umbrellas

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Umbrellas do a great job as coverings, people not so much.

If I had $5 for every time someone asked me, “Who (or what) is your covering?” {i.e. who do you report to and what gives you authority to minister, especially as a woman}, I could afford to attend as much grad school as I like for the rest of my life.  We are talking become a full-time serious life-long grad student.  For at least the next 20 years.  From a private villa in the Caribbean.

I know some folks have simply picked up poor terminology and what they really mean to ask is, “Are you in mutual, open-hearted, transparent, authentic community in Christ?”  But many, perhaps even most, are asking because there is a pervasive teaching that uses the term covering in any number of ways, most of which are oppressive to women and all of them are hierarchical in nature and contrary to the mutuality of the Gospel.   And they are just plain flat unbiblical.

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…” 1 Tim 2:5  And the word men there is anthropos, as in human being.  So actually it reads, “…one Mediator between God and people”.

The conversation usually gets awkward and uncomfortable when I respond and assert my “covering” is Jesus. {You want me covered by man… no problem. Jesus fits the description.} The question then usually gets rephrased to ask, “Well, ur, I mean who are you accountable to?”  My response: “Hopefully the same person you are. God. And yes I have great relationships thank you for asking.”  Even though deep inside I’d like to fire back, “and you think it is appropriate to ask me this as the first question of introduction from a complete stranger, because?”

IGrace-bloggraphic-spirabuseseries.jpgI could go into a very long detailed biblical exegesis and explanation of all the history behind and biblical responses to the covering phenomena, but instead let me refer you to a fabulous article Frank Viola wrote on the subject that says everything I would explain and then some: Who Is Your Covering?

Other resources I have found helpful and/or encouraging:

The next time someone asks me what my covering is, I am going to be hard pressed not to reply, “Well, when it rains… my umbrella.”

Have a beautiful weekend friends!

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