Some of the very best books I read last year were the four books in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. I’ve been wanting to tell you all about it for a while, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long, but my love for this series was so deep, I’ve had some trouble finding the right words to tell you about it.
The books are a wonderful fantasy series, with a lot of allegorical elements. If you like Chronicles of Narnia, I think you will really like these books. (They’re also great for fans of Harry Potter, but without all the stuff in Harry Potter that some parents object to.)
I’m still processing a lot of the things I loved about the Wingfeathers and their story, but one of my favorite things about it is how important the character’s names are to their identities.
I don’t want to give too much away, but at one point in the second or third book, one of the main characters gives into a hopelessness and a false promise of power, and ends up broken, changed, and struggling to keep his sanity. The thing that saves him from the brink is the moment when he is able to remember his own name, and that theme continues to play out throughout the rest of the book.
When Nia, the mother in the story, drops her children off at school each day, she leaves them with these words: “Remember who you are.” And as the battle between good and evil escalates in the story, the brothers repeat this back to each other, sometimes asking “who are you?” and sometimes declaring powerfully true identities over each other when they are too weak to do it themselves.
I was instantly struck by the parallels between this story and the very real war that we are engaged in. Although we who have decided to follow Jesus belong to the King of Kings and have the promise of new name, we live in enemy territory, and are surrounded on a daily basis by voices that want to remind of us who we were, and make us believe that our past defines who we still are.
I want more for myself than who I was before Jesus. Don’t you?
I want to remember who I am.
Over the past year or two, the Lord has been revealing places in my life where I am full of fear, and don’t completely trust Him. It’s been painful to look at the parts of my heart that still need work, but it has also been so sweet to realize that Jesus knew they were there all along and has been patiently waiting for me to turn them over to Him.
In His gentle way, the Spirit reminded me who I am, not just as a child of God, but who I am, specifically. My first name, Amy, means “beloved,” and in those moments when I was most deeply struggling with my fears, God reminded me that at my core, I am someone who is loved by Him.
My middle name, Elizabeth, led me to Luke 1. This amazing woman whose name I bear was the first person in the New Testament to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and she raised a son who was fully committed to the kingdom of God and the role God gave him to play in it. Those are things I desperately want in my own life, and as I read and studied about Elizabeth, it felt like God was confirming to me that he heard my prayers and foreknew the deepest desires of my heart from the moment I was named.
Your name is not a trivial thing.
I don’t know what names the enemy will call you today, but they do not have to be your identity. Today, as you send emails, or fold laundry, or run errands, or make lunch, remember who you are.
It changes everything.