Her Name Is Freedom

Trying to snap a picture of her she says, “I’m sorry if you can’t see my eyes! They disappear when I smile.” She laughs and apologizes again. Part of capturing someone in photography is letting their expressions, body language, and clothing tell the story. Rebecca’s squinted, smiling eyes express the big heart she has and the love she has to share. She really has so much to share. A few months ago, the Ibarra team went through a team-building workshop with Extreme life coach, Sheli, and her well-being team. Out of the work the team did together the name Freedom was donned on Rebecca. The team has since been screaming out “FREEDOM,” slightly out of gest, but also to remind Rebecca of this lesson God has been teaching her. She is free.DSC_0461

“I kind of wish they used it more,” she giggles about the name Freedom. You can tell she likes it. Life can sometimes bring out the negative, and it’s easy as humans to forget about our past lessons, our hurdles, our victories. What if our names became the word that describes our victory? How would we live differently? Rebecca doesn’t just have her new name to remind her; she also has a necklace. Terilee, one of the well-being team members, happened to have a necklace that said “free” on it and gave it to Rebecca as a token to remember. I’ll wear it almost everyday. It’s beautiful. And I always play with my necklaces during the day, so I’ll look down and see it, and I’ll say, ‘I’m free.’”

Just like everyone else, missionaries carry baggage. That’s because missionaries are people too! Without giving too much detail, Rebecca shares a little about what this freedom means to her, “Freedom from my past. That’s been a hard thing to let go. The past, as in mistakes that I’ve made and habits that I’ve had. Freedom from all that hurt and that all those things that don’t have to affect my future. My future is free. I can start every day free and fill each day with what God wants to fill it with. I’m free from the critical voice that I’ve had in my head and from feeling badly.” This isn’t just true for Rebecca. It’s happened several times with our missionaries  when they get to the field and there’s a realization that God wants to use them in big ways. God offers us this opportunity to say, “We don’t have to live in the past. We can leave it behind to follow the greater plan He has for us. We can enjoy that freedom and be guilt free.” It’s almost like starting over. Rebecca puts it this way: “It’s not just freedom; it’s like I’m clean and I’m new and I can do so many things. That’s what I want to embrace. That’s what I want to work towards.”

DSC_0417For anyone trying to pursue freedom, Rebecca offers some of her realizations on where that even starts, and it’s great advice for all of us: “One thing that God revealed to me is just the need to fill my life with truth. That’s what God put in my heart. And I can’t know the truth if I don’t know the Word.” There is so much to be said about this statement, but for now an “amen” will suffice. She continues, “So, I have to fill myself up with so much more of the Word. I have to listen to sermons, memorize Scripture. I’m going to put Scripture on my walls. Just filling my head and my heart with truth and let that be the focus rather than a focus on my past... I can recognize it but not dwell on it. Instead, I dwell on the truth; that’s what I need to do. This is a beautiful, beautiful chapter for me.”

If your biggest victory became your name, what would it be? God can truly redeem any situation or struggle for His glory and purposes, and just like with Rebecca, it can serve as a glorious testimony to the grace of God.