Swahili is an African language spoken in Kenya.
After I introduced myself to a new Kenyan friend during our recent trip to Kibera in Nairobi, he replied, “You have a beautiful name. Do you know what it means in Swahili?” I shook my head and said, “No, what does it mean?” He said, “Kezia (pronounced ‘Kesha’), in Swahili, means ‘an all-night time of prayer and worship.’” My face lit up in a wide smile when I heard this.
Prayer and worship speak Jesus’ heart for me. When I became His follower, my anxious and insecure self found rest and confidence in Him through them. Over the years, when life is an uphill battle, darkness closing in on me, and it looks like the enemy is winning, I find the strength to press on and fight back through prayer and worship. Or, when life is like walking on a smooth path, joy surrounds me, and all is as it should be, I celebrate through prayer and worship. They are how I respond to life’s precariousness. They are also where I find the space to experience His holiness, His humility, and His care for me all at the same time.
God has once again confirmed His call on my life. Unbeknownst to my mother, she gave me the name He would repeatedly use to speak to me to tell me, “You are my daughter. I named you. I had you in mind before you were born. Your identity is in Me.”
This discovery from a brief conversation in Africa spurred me to research the origins of my name. I want to share with you some of what I learned about it. I hope this prompts you to seek His heart for you and ask Him to show you how He has always had you in mind, even being yet unformed (Psalm 139:16).
This name is Hebrew in origin. It means cassia, but it also means “It is done” (John 19:30). Job gave this name to his second daughter after his sufferings (Job 42:14-15). (Source: www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Keziah.html)
Cassia was one of the principal spices of the holy anointing oil used to anoint priests, kings, and their garments. (Exodus 30:22-25)
The robes of the coming Messiah will smell of cassia. (Psalm 45:8)
Cassia comes from the Hebrew word “qiddad” or “qadad” which means to bow the head, to stoop, and to strip off. This Hebrew word intimates a picture of surrender, of prayer and worship, which comes full circle to what my name means in Swahili. (Source: https://bibleapps.com/strongs/hebrew/6916.htm)
In Maasai Mara, Kenya during our safari adventure
To give you context of why I am excited about this: My mother never read the Scriptures before naming me. She had no idea that my name was Hebrew or that it was from the Bible. She read it from a book years before I was born. It was an unusual name for a Filipino girl in my time, yet she liked it so much that she decided to give it to me. Her decision was no random event but a promise from God.
Knowing that my name carries God’s promise over my life is a tremendous source of confidence as I continue to walk with Him and serve Him. Being His disciple is not always easy. I am thankful, more than I could accurately describe, for the privilege of doing what I do for His kingdom. But I must admit: There have been many moments I wanted to quit because of how hard it gets, how scary it can often be, or how He had to (and still do) strip me of my ego more times than I could keep count. Being stripped is not fun. It hurts. Tremendously. So I cry over my ego; in defiance of His work in my heart, I blurt out, “I want to quit!” But He continues to remind me of His call over my life, such as this conversation I had with someone I had just met on another continent. He is persistent like that. He never gives up, for which I am grateful.
Today, I want to tell you: As a disciple of Jesus, you are His child. You belong to Him. He had you in mind even before you were born. He called you. He chose you. Your identity is in Him. Many will tell you otherwise—do not let them.
Yes, life is hard. It has the habit of getting complicated, no matter how careful you try to make it simple. It does not always work out the way we want to, even as a child of God. But anchor your heart and life on this truth: God is good. He truly is. And He will cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
So press on. Wait and see how this truth unfolds in your story. Do not forfeit the opportunity to witness His power manifest in your life and those around you because it might be difficult, painful, or impossible. Because it often is difficult, painful, and impossible for us. But not with God. Make yourself available for His call over your life. Open yourself up for His Kingdom to exhibit true life and love. Carry His message to the rest of the world to awaken all to this truth: We are His images. We are His representatives to the universe. He is calling us to live and to love deeply and abundantly. He breathed life into our nostrils so that we may exist for the sake of the other and to bring glory to His name.
November 6,2022 @3:46pm in Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand