Anonymous – [uh-non-uh-muhs] – adjective
1. without any name acknowledged
2. of unknown name, whose name is withheld
The teachers at Rhema’s after-school therapy center have some new plans for Rhema. One of the goals is to teach her to identify and name her family members. Her teacher asked me to bring in pictures of each of us that could be added to her PECS book. They plan to start off by teaching her to point to the picture of a family member when prompted. Eventually she will be prompted to verbally identify each family member.
I was so excited! I was thrilled by the thought of Rhema learning to identify us by name.
At home, I rushed around with a sense of urgency trying to find 3 separate photos – one of Brandon, one of me, one of Hope. I never print photos anymore. They’re all on my computer. But I did manage to find decent pictures of Brandon and Hope that we could laminate and put in Rhema’s PECS book. However, I could not find one of me…
And then, KAPOW!
It hit me like a ton of bricks. My almost-6-year old has to be taught our names, taught who we are. Sure she knows us. But she fails to acknowledge us; she does not address us or call us by name. Memories filled my head of a therapist asking repeatedly, “Rhema, where’s Mommy?” And my daughter unable to understand the question or even respond with a glance in my direction.
I try very hard not to let these things get to me. As JoyMama so wonderfully wrote, I choose to focus on her strengths and gains – she is growing, laughing, running, playing and even speaking words. She is happy and she knows she is loved. But some days, out of no where, the reality of her current development knocks me off my feet.
I went to the bathroom to wash my face. Looking in the mirror I saw a tired woman who needs to dye away the gray, go shopping, and lose 10 pounds (at least). I’m a mess, I thought. And someone has to teach my little girl my name through a darn picture!
My name, my name…
God, really? After all the mothering I’ve done, all that we have been through, it comes down to this? She has to be trained and coached and prompted to name me???
I feel so…. anonymous.
I realized that the chorus to a beautiful old hymn was floating through my head:
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
Later I looked up the Bible passage (Isaiah 54:16) on which the hymn is based. A lamenting Zion complains, ‘The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.’ But God says, I could never forget you! “Behold, I have graven thee on the palm of my hands.” Another version says, “How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”
A commentary I read stated that it was common practice among the Jews at that time to make marks on their hands or arms by punctures on the skin, with some sort of sign or representation of the city or temple, to show their affection and zeal for it.
This morning I wrote my name on Rhema’s hand before sending her off to school. And I wrote her name on mine. But it didn’t come close to the image of God engraving us on his hands.
Peter Wade writes, “We are not chalked on God’s hands, nor painted on; we are graven. If we were chalked or painted on His hands, He could wash His hands of us. If we are graven on His hands, however, as a sculptor engraves a name in granite, then we are literally on His hands forever.”
What amazing, illimitable love.
Rhema knows my name. And her father’s name and sister’s name. Of course, she knows. But I’m slowly realizing that my worth is not in the name – what I am called or even if I’m called at all. Mess that I am, God knows and remembers me. Therein rests my value.
“I have graven thee… The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there.” – Charles Spurgeon