I was born Keysha LaNaye Simpson.
It was misspelled all through high school (in the lunchroom) as Kesha, before that other girl was even born.
It has never been on a keychain.
It was never on a Coke bottle, and they had some weird ones.
Even the Christian bookstore, with those little cards and inspirational name meanings… they never figured out the name Keysha was worthy of a sailboat graphic with a cool saying.
I’ve even had people email me, with my name clearly listed in the email address, and then spell it wrong in their greeting! 😂
LaNaye does not even exist in the English language. Trust me, don’t google it.
However, I love my unique name. It’s definitely a conversation starter. Especially when you end up marrying someone nicknamed Clique.
My name has been the topic of many, many jokes, and several misunderstandings.
My dad just shakes his head when I ask what in the world happened back in February 1975. My mom once said she wanted it to sound French…”Ooo la la.”
They really shouldn’t have drugged women to the point of a coma back then.
Here in present day, it’s been a whirlwind weekend, so I will fast forward to my bathroom counter where I am getting ready for church this morning.
Interrupting my music playlist, I get a Facebook alert that Bellevue Baptist Church was live, so I decided to switch over to my former pastor, which I almost never get to do.
Their worship service was on fire. It was like, “I’ll Fly Away” meets “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Surprisingly, I had not heard the song before, and the chorus went like this:
“Let the rocks keep silent while we praise…
We have to give Him glory for His great and mighty ways, so let the rocks keep silent while we praise…
Oh, let the mountain hold its voice as the saints of God rejoice…
We have to give Him glory for His great and mighty ways, so let the rocks keep silent while we praise!”
It was so awesome, that Bro. Steve walked up on stage and started speaking with, “Wipe the sweat off – we’re going to do half of that song again…just back it up to whatever halfway is. I don’t want to be a rock!” (See Luke 19:38-40 if you don’t know what that means.)
The timing of that service worked out perfectly, so that by the time I finished my make up, my hair, had coffee, cried my makeup off, and reapplied what I could…I was able to hear Bro. Steve’s entire message by the time we got in the car. I was taking screenshots of the verses displayed on their screens, hoping I could go back later and make notes from it.
I don’t want to describe his sermon topic as simple, because he can take something you’ve heard a hundred times and make it sound like nothing you have ever heard before.
God’s Word is living…constantly revealing new things to us through each stage of our Christian growth.
The message was about prayer. The way we talk to God…our Father, Creator, Savior.
Through steps and foundations of our communication with Christ, his firm, but sweet voice was like a neon sign reminding me of the importance of making prayer a priority – in the mornings (and I agree with that). Also, when to pray, why we pray and how to pray.
The only thing I had time to write down was this:
If you start your day without prayer…without talking with the Lord,
then it’s like telling God, “I’ve got this.”
We want to head into our day without the One who created it? Without the One who has already been there? Why would we ever do that? Why do we keep doing it? Why do we then wonder why some days are worse than others?
So, I had church before church. It was amazing. It made me want to make that my routine every week…(perhaps without mascara) because I walked into my home church at 10:45 as a different person. My heart was positioned, softened, attentive and hungry for more. I guess that is the definition of “preparing our hearts and minds to hear the Word of God.”
The song Bellevue used as they closed their service was…
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find
Next to Bro. Steve and the late Adrian Rogers, my current pastor, Kenneth Bruce, is my favorite (and we shouldn’t mention that to my grandfather, who was also my pastor). He would have to be first by default anyway, right? 🙂
Before Pastor Bruce’s sermon, we sang the song, What A Beautiful Name It Is.
I grabbed my notebook because some of the lyrics reminded me of a blog post I had already been writing for weeks about the veil, the purpose of the priest that entered through it, and why it was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross.
Guess what? He walks up on stage and asks the praise team to sing the last few lines of that song again. He may have done that sometime before, but I’ve never seen it.
It was like Church Groundhog Day.
It was awesome. You had to be there.
Anyway, here’s where my notes really start bouncing around. He opens up his sermon talking about where kids run to when they are in pain…and uses examples like whether it is a skinned knee or a broken heart.
Important backstory: Just last night, I attended a cookout where my husband was performing as the musician entertainment, and there were kids. running. everywhere.
Let me just say that there’s a reason God did not give me boys, and there’s a reason I had children in my early twenties. I almost had a heart attack four times as they rode some skateboard-thing-with-handlebars down a concrete driveway I nicknamed Everest. Those not on the wheels-with-no-breaks were just running from slick grass over the uneven concrete.
I couldn’t watch. Moments later, my friend’s face in front of me, and the wail that followed behind me, signaled there was a man down.
There ended up being two accidents last night, one with the vehicle, another from just running down Everest…and the family dog came close to finding out if all dogs really do go to heaven.
When a pastor begins their message with an example that relates to something so specific – something I just witnessed or personally experienced (like God told him what I was doing last night) – it makes me sit up a little straighter. It’s like a signal, another neon sign, telling me I am about to hear something good. Get ready.
The Lord and my pastor did not disappoint. I couldn’t write quickly enough to take it all in.
For people like me who hear a verse and that reminds them of something else, and then I miss the next three minutes…I had to copy some notes from my daughter’s boyfriend to catch up. He looked confused. 😂
While we were in 1 Peter 3, he mentioned 1 Corinthians 2:9, which is one of my favorite verses. It was also one of the first that I memorized fifteen years ago. It is also the basis to one of my favorite songs.
I’ve made it clear there was crying. Then, there was another moment when my husband and I were trying to hold back shocked laughter when Pastor Bruce brought up Genesis 6 – of all things – while Morgan and Melody looked at us in embarrassment, mouthing, “What?!”
There is ONE passage that can start a debate – a heated one – at the Simpson kitchen table, turning Bro. Simpson (Pawpaw) against Mawmaw, with Dad and Clique chiming in to take sides, while I enjoy their fiery exchange over something that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things…but is absolutely fascinating to me.
Genesis 6 talks about the corruption of mankind, and it begins with how the sons of God took wives with the daughters of men and created a race called the Nephilim.
My family is adamantly at odds over who the sons of god actually were and what type of race was created (giants).
What? I bet you’ve heard that NAME in some popular books and movies – Nephilim. Those works were not biblical, for the most part, or were they? It depends on which Simpson you ask. 😉
Do you see what you are missing by not reading the Old Testament?? I cannot and will not explain the theories of who the sons of God were (except it was NOT the Son of God), but never in my life has anyone brought up that verse in a sermon… and I LOVED it. I immediately texted it to my dad after church. Obviously, I was on heaven’s radar and God was pulling out all the stops to make sure I realized all of this trouble was just for me.
I have mentioned a lot of names so far in this post…my name, my family, my children and grandparents.
There were many other names mentioned around the world this past weekend, including those of the royal wedding and celebrities who attended.
You know where this is going. This blog post was a done deal when my pastor said something I had written down in my bedroom earlier that morning, while listening to Bro. Steve (who was live streaming from Memphis).
Philippians 2:10 (NKJV)
…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.
The song lyrics yesterday…
We use the term “big name” to describe a person who is famous.
🔸A certain name can get you VIP seats.
🔸A certain name can give you a job.
🔸A certain name can earn special club access.
🔸A certain name can get you in the history books.
🔸A certain name can give you an earthly crown.
However, there is only one name that can offer you eternal life.
The Lamb of God.
What a beautiful name.
If you want to be connected and in the right crowd, then make sure His name is at the top of your group’s list.
His authority is so powerful He can even give you a new name. He did it for Abraham, Jacob, Paul…and He is doing it for my own children (but that’s another story).
Your name might not be on a keychain, a soda bottle, an award certificate, a marriage license or any other place you long for it to be…but He has your name written in the palm of His hand.
All you have to do is reach out and take it.
And to every girl who always wanted to be a daddy’s girl…He knows your name.
if you write verses in a journal, then here are the ones I managed to save from Bellevue’s service.