Posts Tagged ‘alone’


under Secret Stories, Written on October 1, 2011

Every second of every single day, is a battle. A battle between myself and society, and often a battle within my own mind.

All I can do is pray, and hope for happier times to come around, to lift me out of this dark period of my life. It was only by God’s grace that I found him in my heart. It was something that came to me so quickly, and is still something very new to my life. I may not be the best Christian, but I know in my heart that I have God’s love, and if I am with him, he will always help and guide me.

To the world I may be depressed, but in God’s eyes I am hope. I may be known as Gay to this world, but in his eyes, I am complete.


under Secret Stories, Written on June 25, 2011

With my birth name meaning “gift from God” and having survived a number of suicide attempts I’m inclined to think God has a special plan for me. The problem is even after thinking God has healed me and helped me conquer depression and cutter, it’s still an on going battle. The enemy brings the same attacks over and over making me feel unloved and unnoticed.

I was once called unstable when I was struggling with depression and cutting but it still rings in my head at times because of the ongoing battle. It’s like I’m stuck in between healing and not yet being that ruthless fearless faith warrior I’m meant to be. I’m still struggling with God like Jacob did, not relenting until I receive my blessing.

On the other hand I think I may be after the wrong blessing or at least one for the wrong reasons. Perhaps God is not delivering the blessing I desire because I’m not yet ready or because what I want will be a hindrance to walking with God. Whatever the reason, I know I need to trust God’s provision even though we all know it’s so easy to give in to discouragement.


under Secret Stories, Written on February 26, 2011

I have been studying your secret name with my woman’s group at church. At the start of our time together our leader asked us to think “Where does god meet you?” This really got the ball moving for me. In prayer at home one night I asked myself this question and what follows are the thoughts that came to my mind.

The Lord has always reached me thru music. I am not a very talented musician or vocalist but there is something about musical composition that moves me.  All the different instruments come together, each with their unique part. Blended together they make something, to me, which is truly magical. But as a musician I know that not all the instruments get to play the melody.

Even within specific instrument sections you separate the most talented players by given them 1st chair.  Some parts in a musical score are down right boring and repetitious. When played by themselves it doesn’t even sound like a song.
My life sometimes feels this way. I am the 4th chair trumpet, playing with all her might the most uninteresting part.

Although I love being a stay at home mom, my days consist of potty training and laundry. It is repetitious and feels unimportant. Yet I know my part might change. God could call me to play the melody someday. There may even be hope for a solo.

So when my life is over and I get to look back on what I have done with the Lord, I know it will be a divinely orchestrated masterpiece. Not only will my own life be a sweet song, but my little part is going to blend and harmonize with the other little parts of people’s life and together we will create a masterpiece for God.

With these thoughts  in my mind I heard, rather distinctly in my ear:

You are my symphony

I felt a quickening in my spirit and I knew this was my new name. I have felt such enormous peace and freedom since then. I know who I truly am now and I am far more precious than I ever gave myself credit for.


under Secret Stories, Written on February 22, 2011

I just wanted to share a bit of the transformation that I have been experiencing over the course of these last few months. As part of working through my journey my pastor recommended that I read your book. It was really helpful for me as it helped me to wrestle with and make sense of my identity in Christ.

My pastor helped me work through a series of “exercises” as I read through your book which allowed me to take your ideas and make them real for me. I labelled myself with names both good and bad, grouped those names together, worked through the process of rooting out those names and finally with replacing the names that I put on myself with the Secret Name that God has for me.

Many of the names that I initially gave to myself were connected to my family. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic mother, a father who was oriented around maintaining control and preserving pride and a sister who became hardened by the chaos that was our household.

I kept my head above water by trying to fix everyone’s problems and focusing all of my energy on never allowing anyone outside of my family know our secret. To the world we looked pretty average, but on the inside our family was in turmoil.

About four years ago my Mom left and since then I have not had any type of a real relationship with her. I  have wanted to get in touch with her, but truthfully I have been afraid. Afraid that she would be in the same state that she was in when I last saw her. For reasons that I can only attribute to self-preservation, I have not been able to reach out to her.

Truthfully, I have allowed her addiction to define me over these past few years. I am not trusting of people, I am not open about this part of my life and I am fearful of becoming close to people because I think that they might hurt me in the same way that she did. I have allowed her problem cast a shadow across my otherwise ordinary life, it is the skeleton in my closet, the secret that I feel like I need to hide from the world.

While I was not actively contacting my Mom, she was also not contacting me and for me that is what hurt the most. And so I told myself lies: If my own mother didn’t want a relationship with me, then why would anyone else. If my own mother doesn’t love me enough to make a change, then I must not be worth it. If my own mother doesn’t love me, then I must not be lovable.

I felt: broken and above all worthless.

Despite all of this I had I grown up in the church. It’s funny because I never felt like I had a testimony. I always heard people talk about their testimony but I never felt like I “had that”.

I believe that in my past God has most definitely been at work in my life, present, faithful, loving, but in my own suffering and my own quest for self-identity I couldn’t see Him. God however, was patient with me, He continued to bless me, specifically by putting the right people along my path to ensure that I could be reminded that He was never far. After a period of trying to make life go on my own, facing challenges, being unfulfilled, scared, broken and alone.

I came to my church for about 8 months before I talked to anyone. I came and listened and worshiped and was quiet before God. I heard the message about community, to support to be supported, to encourage to be encouraged, and saw that happening but at that time I was on the fringe.

I remember having conversation with a member of the pastoral staff here about how this church has a big set of front doors. This is a church that is different, people want to come and see what is happening here. The discussion progressed to acknowledge that for young adults especially this is a church that often has a big set of back doors too a space where people can sometimes can pass through without being noticed.

Truthfully, I was on my way to the back door… after 8 months of being here I was still feeling disconnected, feeling that God wasn’t hearing my prayers, feeling maybe like it was time to check out.

I love that my church is a huge church and here is why. You have to be intentional about connecting, deliberate about buying in, purposeful about becoming engaged. It doesn’t just happen. Everyone will remain nameless and faceless if that is what you choose. Community happens not as an accident but as a choice.

So then, literally one day, I offered up a simple prayer to God in my prayer journal “God please motivate me to take chances”. Not the most articulate of prayers, not the most deeply spiritual words, no one will be rushing to embroider that on a pillow anytime soon, but that prayer represented a deep yearning within me,  a last ditch attempt for the courage necessary to lurch forward.

And here’s the thing: God provided. Every time, every opportunity, every risk that I took in the name of getting connected God was present, sometimes giving me the words to say in conversation, or the words to write on a volunteer form or the plain and simple courage to just show up.

And God didn’t just give me courage to take chances because when I spoke, people answered back, and my words became part of a conversation, relationships formed, they shared, I shared and now, I get to serve along side of them in the Body of Christ.

In my world everything changed.

My faith, my relationship with Jesus, I was changed.  Because suddenly I wasn’t in this alone. My relationship with Jesus was able to be manifested in my relationship with others. 

It would seem that God had another plan for me on my way to the back door. 

These past few months have been amazing for me with Jesus at the center of my life I have reexamined everything, my identity, my job, my salvation through grace, my experiences with suffering, my understanding and relationship with joy, and then a deep and profound calling to respond to learn to live compassionately.

I do not have to conform any longer to the patterns of this world, I am renewed. Jesus died for me – and now I get to live differently.

I love this story and for me the best part is that it it is still happening. And am I part of God’s story. We are God’s stories, these stories are still being written, the plots thickening, God is revealing Himself in our lives and above all He is showing us His love and faithfulness.

I have actually has been transformed from the inside. I believe that the best way to live is the way of Jesus, submitting myself to Jesus allowing Him to live in me and through me because the old has passed away and the new has come.

And now I know that I am worthy, whole and that I am truly and deeply loved by God.


under Secret Stories, Written on February 8, 2011

I spent my whole life looking for something, not knowing what it was. That elusive ‘thing’ or  ‘state of being’ always seemed just out of my reach. Every time I thought I had been close to capturing it, it eluded me once more. Every attempt to ‘do the right thing’ left me empty. Empty until now.

I became a Christian over 25 years ago and I know that was the most important decision I will ever make. I knew I had been saved. I had a new found faith and the Bible suddenly became so alive and real. God has moved in my life, bringing healing, deliverance and hope. But I was still searching for that one thing that eluded me…even though I could not put a name to it.

Then a couple of weeks back I became aware of the book ‘Your Secret Name’. I was drawn to it. I can’t remember how I first came to know about it. I just knew I had to read it. At the same time I was about to purchase another book, ‘Called to Conquer’, which spoke of finding ones’ calling. As I had to order ‘Your Secret Name’, I decided to read ‘Called to Conquer’ first.

Upon reading ‘Called to Conquer’, I was left with more questions than answers. Trust me when I say, that was a good thing! Soon after finishing that book, my copy of ‘Your Secret Name’ arrived and I got straight into it, devouring it page by page, hardly being able to put it down. It seemed to carry on the theme of the previous book, which I thought was quite amazing. I came to the end of reading ‘Your Secret Name’ felling a little distraught. I still hadn’t found the answer I was looking for, though I knew the book had nudged me in the right direction.

As I neared the end of the book the website was mentioned and I thought to myself, “It ain’t over yet!” I proceeded to navigate the website, completing the test with little satisfaction. Then I decided to have a look at the stories. That’s when it all began. I read of one woman’s journey to finding her secret name that had me glued to the page till I had finished reading.

The title she had chosen was one I identified with, having been there myself. As I ventured into the depths of her story I also identified with the names she had known. As my eyes began to well up with tears, I realised God was in this big time. My God had not forgotten me after all. And though I didn’t find identity in the same secret name, I knew that I was closer than ever to finding my own.

As I pondered my recent experience, I sensed God placing these words on my heart, “From rejection to acceptance”. I knew these words were either the title of a book or something to do with it’s theme, so I began some research. I found the name of the book and set about purchasing it.

While in the bookstore, I became quite concerned – to the state of feeling let down, because I could not find the book. After some time the shop keeper came over asking if they could help me find something. I responded with a resounding “Yes!” and they proceeded to show me a shelf where all the books by the author I was seeking were arranged.

As soon as I set eyes on the shelf, the book I sought stood right before me. I picked it up and staring at the cover read these words:

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the beloved”. (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV Emphasis added).

The word ACCEPTED hit me right between the eyes. THAT was my secret name!  I knew that I was accepted by God, but wondered why this seemed to be so significant. I read the book cover to cover expecting God to speak to me.

Not until the very end of the book did God speak volumes. There I found a prayer of commitment. This spoke not only of God’s acceptance, but of accepting myself the way He made me. It was at this point that I realised I had believed all the lies – the names I had been given: REJECTED, OUTCAST, UGLY, FAILURE, to name a few. I had accepted God and believed that He had accepted me, but I had yet to accept myself.

That was the missing piece in the puzzle. No wonder I had no peace. Everything seemed to converge at this point. My past and all I’ve been through now made sense. Having chosen to accept myself as God does, I can now move on into the promises and future He has for me.

As He has done for me, I pray He will do for you. So please, don’t ever give up – God will never give up on you!


under Secret Stories, Written on February 1, 2011

I wasn’t expecting such confirmation in reading this book!  God has been moving me along the road to understanding my Given Names…not the nice, socially acceptable ones I have worn all these years…(“merry sunshine, problem solver, peace maker“) but the flip side to those names, the ones that took a toll on my soul (unimportant, last and least, invisible, burdened and lonely). 

It still stops me dead in my tracks to have this book presented to me at this particular time…after all, I had been comfortable accepting my Given Names without ever really looking at what they cost me. I know that is not the case for many, their Given Names are overtly, clearly, hurtful and degrading. 

Thank you for bringing this to me at this particular time….or should I say thank you for listening to God directing you at this particular time.  I am praying that many lives will be touched and transformed through this book.


under Secret Stories, Written on January 20, 2011

I am so blessed to have heard you on Stephanie Riggs yesterday. I struggled with my name as a child and at 30 changed my birth name Stacy. I have been Anastasia now for over 20 years and came to know Jesus as Savior 5 years after changing it. I have learned what it is to have a new name and live the resurrection that He gave me. I wish everyone could get it. I thought it was identity but you have narrowed it down to name. It is why psychology does not work. They just add more labels to us. Thank you for a better understanding.

I think that sin gives us names as well. When we give in to temptation the accuser calls us every name in the book.

My family used my given name against me, I still cringe with what they called me, but Jesus said to be his disciple. I had to listen to His voice and yes I am His. I’m called child, daughter, beautiful, bride, little girl, beloved, blood bought.

Thank you again. I am buying your book!

In the Beloved,



under Secret Stories, Video on December 10, 2010
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under Secret Stories, Written on December 6, 2010

I find it completely fascinating to watch God work throughout my life the last few weeks. I have been struggling with various things- one of them being the masks that I (and most people) tend to wear. I was having this conversation the other day with a friend that I don’t want to wear a mask at church- or in life. Next thing I know- God is working through circumstances to show me that masks (aka labels) have often been controlling my life and affecting who I *think* I am.

Last weekend we had a Ladies Event at church and the lady who spoke shared with us the damage labels can do to a person and how when we truly come to accept Christ’s love and mercy in our lives we gain new labels of who Christ says we are. Just very needed at the time.

Then, this weekend, while at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving I spent some time reading a book that I ran across in the local Christian bookstore (Cedar Springs). The name of the book- Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner. It dealt along the same vein- Names are powerful things- parents spend hours/days/weeks/months poring over names for their future children. Many times the name is picked by how it all sounds together but still other times names are chosen based on their meaning. We have given names- names that we have gained through our circumstances, through our choices. We also have Secret names- the names that God whispers to us that tell us who we REALLY are.

This book was very timely- and in fact, I actually dealt with this exact issue while I was reading the book. My given name was unloved, unworthy of love (not from my parents- I have always felt loved with them). This has been something that I have been struggling with quite some time- when I finished reading the book- I knew my secret name- and it goes back to my favorite verse- Zephaniah 3:17- I am “Delighted In“. I know that I am loved, and am worthy of love.

I would encourage everyone to read this book and recognize your Given Name(s) and then rest in your Secret Names… –Tami Grandi


under Secret Stories, Video on November 26, 2010
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The song she refers to in her Secret Story (see below).
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