The thing I have always loved about Graham has been his focus on identity. The Warrior Class forced me to put that love in writing, which has been an awesome experience. And the reality of the importance of identity just keeps growing, like a rose reaching its fullest fragrance.
This past winter, I experienced a personal perfect storm. Having never had health problems in all my 67 years, I got them all at once. High blood pressure, palpitations, back and foot pain from plantar fasciitis, excessive tiredness… didn’t know who I was any more. By the end of the year, visits to doctors had been of no help, and only God was my redeemer. I remember saying to Him in the midst of my pain, “I have never known you as healer, never had a miracle personally, and I would really like to have that happen right now.” A desperate prayer. One that was answered in unexpected ways. Who is smiling right now?
I have a dear friend I walk beside who suffers far more than I could even begin to experience. In my praying for her and talking with her about a particular rough season she was having with night terrors, God downloaded a beautiful revelation with a crafted prayer to help her in the night season. I had never had trouble sleeping until the palpitations and anxiety started, so as I desperately prayed that prayer for myself on January 1st as I went to sleep, remembering fondly that a new year always brought me new revelation.
I woke up to an open vision of Jesus in a room with a little baby. He handed the baby to me and asked me if I would love this unloved baby. I was consumed with a love for this amazing beautiful child, I couldn’t control my emotions. She was so beautiful, so precious, I kept saying over and over again as He put her in my arms. Then He showed me that she was me, and that I was experiencing the love that passes any understanding, the love that Jesus has for me. He was loving her through me, though she had been totally unloved by human hands.
As Jesus was leaving the vision He said to me, “And by the way, you were not given the name that we had for you in Heaven. “I was quite taken by this comment. I knew we got a new name in Heaven, but that we are named before we enter earth was a new one for me. So I asked him what my name was and he smiled and said, “Angela.”
I lost it completely. I LOVED that name. It felt so right, so ME! I had for so long wanted to change my name, never feeling like a Doris. So here was this gift of Love and a new Identity, one that was touchable and palpable and real. And in all my years of wondering what I would change my name to, this name had never been one of them. He saved the best for last.
Needless to say, I wanted to tell the world my TRUE name, but human reaction was forefront on my mind, especially family. But as I tested the waters, I discovered the world was very friendly towards the idea and confirmation of how it fit me came from unexpected sources. Angela means messenger of God.
As I slowly wear this new identity, Doris has not been discarded. Angela and Doris have walked arm and arm through all these years. Angela represents the much loved daughter of the King, while Doris struggled on questioning if she was loved.
A new identity, or awareness of your true identity really, is life changing. Old behaviors melt away. Angela Joy wouldn’t do that, wouldn’t behave like that, wouldn’t think that, I would say to myself. When love leads, things change.
While we all may not get a new name revealed to us, we all did get a new identity when we made Jesus Lord of our lives. The old did die, and the new man is real. The greatest lens to victory is the one viewed through love. It is a process, accepting this new identity.
Subsequently, my health is better than ever. A new diet has made a huge difference, and a lot of prayer. I have had spontaneous healings without even asking for them. I did get my healing miracles. But identity came first. It always comes first. Know who you are, and pray from there. It makes all the difference.