I traveled through time this weekend. In the grey in-between time when light fades fast and crickets start to sing, I sat on a swing in the woods of my childhood home, and I found myself fifteen again on a sad and sleepless night, swinging my sorrows away. In that season, one who loved me saw me and yearned for me and called me home.
Now ten years have passed and how the tables have turned: he reached for me in my sadness and he is reaching for me now in his. He recognizes Holy Spirit Comforter in me, and the absence aches within him.
So I have chosen a field where my work is to sit with pain, to hold grief in my hands. Daily I am learning humility. Who am I to transgress the intimacy of tragedy and trauma? Who am I to think I am worthy to carry the secrets of ravaged hearts and bodies? And when it hits so close to home…how can I be brave in love?
Beyond inadequacy, I find rest in surrender. This is what Father God says: “I have known you and have named you rightly: Pure Autumn Fragrance River. Your name holds purpose and hope. Open your hands; I entrust to you the broken pieces of my heart. As you weave your love through this land, as you draw my people home again, you heal my heart.”
I know now—my name is a gift, waiting to be unwrapped. My name crosses borders: language, generations, walls surrounding hearts. As I have come to love words, their shapes and sounds, I have come to love the music of my name: the hard-edged English k’s, the silky sh sounds from a Chinese dialect I do not speak. As I have come to know the power of true and rightful naming, I glimpse the power of the meaning of my name. My name was given by a father and a grandfather but the meaning—the purpose, the promise—comes from Father God:
Pure | Psalm 24:3-4
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Oh I can count mistakes from here to the sky. There are days when all I see is filth and grime. So often I have acted upon selfish ambition, so easy to speak a word in bitterness, so compelling to choose death over life. Yet God invites me even so, “Come, you who are washed in the blood of the Lamb—you are pure, you are lovely, you are worthy to stand in my presence.”
Autumn Fragrance | 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
This is my heart’s cry: that the fragrance of the Lord would be so strong on me that His love, grace, and peace weave through every situation I enter like a mystery, invisible but tangible, undeniable.
River | Ezekiel 47:9-12
“It shall be that…everything will live wherever the river goes…Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
Yes, I long to be a channel for streams of living water to flow from my heart, to see a lush, green orchard where once was desert. No earthly wisdom, power, or ritual sustains me; it is the indwelling, the washing of the Word that births fruit in every season. It is only when I am filled to overflowing that those who drink of this water will themselves be filled, will feed, heal.
Yes, this is humbling work, the most beautiful, the most simple. This is where the ease comes in, this is where the grace is: walking in the fullness and the promise of the name I have been given.