New Q&A for you and a new must-read book! We recently had the opportunity to read Esther Fleece Allen’s new book, Your New Name, and friends…it’s incredible. It is full of faith-filled lines and encouraging words. Esther opens up about her personal story in a really raw, vulnerable, and powerful way and conveys the importance of knowing our true names- the ones God calls us. Keep reading to learn more about this valuable concept and amazing book!
LSK: We are so captivated by the concept of this book! Can you share what inspired you to write about naming?
EFA: When reading through the book of Ruth [in the Bible] I saw how it was a story of three widows, one of who renamed herself in the middle of her grief. I realized there have been many times I have renamed myself during awful circumstances. Victim. Abused. Forgotten. Left behind. Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi [whose name means sweet] renamed herself to Mara [meaning bitter,] after her husband and sons die. Yet– Naomi’s life didn’t end bitter. God challenged me to not rename myself in the middle of a storm. Naming is much more significant than labeling ourselves due to our circumstances, and I hope this book helps the reader throw off the labels that limit them and ask God for their new name.
Hint: God’s names for us are more beautiful than our circumstances!
LSK: You write beautifully about how we discover our new name in Christ and how this new name is given to us, not earned. Can you share about how God pursues us, adopts us, and names us?
EFA: When God makes us his own, it comes with benefits [Psalm 103:2.]
Our mutual friends [Michael and Lauren McAfee] recently adopted their daughter from China and chose the beautiful name Zion for their little girl. Not only did she become theirs instantly [and not out of her works or behavior,] she took on a new name and their name! So it is with us when God saves us. God does not foster us; he adopts us, and with it comes spiritual blessings like a new name, carrying His name, and more! Labels limit us to circumstances and seasons, but a new name stays with us forever. We won’t be called by our strengths or weakness in heaven, we will be identified as His children, and called by our new names!
LSK: God’s protection is an amazing gift from Him and you talk about how it is important to rely on His protection when the enemy comes knocking on our doors, trying to tempt us to doubt our new names. What does this look like and how can we be on our guard?
EFA: In my first book, No More Faking Fine, I tell the difficult story of walking through stalking from my biological father. During these years I wrestled with the protection of God. I lamented a lot during these years. But as my faith was challenged, I discovered the protection we are offered in scripture is a spiritual one. I was thinking my life should receive a physical protection, and while that can and sometimes does happen– this is not a guarantee. If my name is hidden in God’s name, my spirit and soul are protected forever.
I hope to give the reader some tips in Your New Name of how to fight off the lies of accusations that come at every single one of us. One thing that will surely help us fight off these attacks is knowing our new name.
LSK: One of our favorite quotes from your book is on page 105 re: wrestling with God. You write, “Scripture rarely talks about struggling without also talking about persevering. Not only are we to hold on to our faith; there may be a new name for us on the other side.” How essential are perseverance and endurance on our journey of faith with God?
EFA: God is able to keep us in the faith. The book of Revelation speaks to us learning new names for God when we overcome. A lot hinges on us overcoming, so I dedicated a entire chapter to it! When we’re tempted to give up in the middle of the pain or when we’ve been misunderstood or mislabeled, Gods calls us to overcome until the very end.
Many of us start well, but we need the courage and perseverance to end well, too. I look forward to learning new names for God in Heaven! There will always be more about God for us to learn. Not only will we be renamed, but we will learn more about His Names in the process. Whenever I’m tempted to give up, I remind myself that overcoming is less about me, and more about how He has already overcome, giving me the power and victory to do so also.
LSK: Above all, is there one thing that you pray readers will take away with them and hold on to after reading your book?
EFA: One of the biggest take-a-ways for me when writing Your New Name is the power we have to rename our offenders. After a season of lamenting the wrong that was done to me, renaming became a tool to help me forgive. I share a personal story of how I was able to re-name my biological father after years of neglect and torment. This forgiveness came not because I am great at forgiving (I’m not!) but because I believed my new names given by God, and attempted to live out of them. We have the power to rename and forgive others after we hear our new name. This will be a lifelong journey as we learn to become great forgivers, and live out of our new names!