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My name is Retta Sundblad.  I am also 31002-171.  That is my registration number in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  When I first arrived at FPC Bryan, I was treated to a strip search, a squat and cough, (to make sure I was not carrying drugs in) and finally, I was given a number.  I was told that I would use that number for everything, from medical, to visits, to phone calls, to commissary. That number was my lifeline.  

While in prison, I read a book by Heather Morris called The Tattooist of Auschwitz.  It was the story of a man who tattooed the numbers of the prisoners in the concentration camps.  One quote stood out to me.

“How can someone do this to another human being? He wonders if for the rest of his life, be it short or long, he will be defined by this moment, this irregular number: 32407.” ― Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Everyone likes to know that someone knows their name and understands them. It shows closeness, familiarity, an intimacy. It shows that the person has put in some effort to form an intentional relationship, a bonding of the souls.

In our connection with Jesus, we are not just another number or name. Jesus knows our name and He knows us. He knows our innermost being, our thoughts, our dreams, our disappointments. 

Perhaps there are things in your life that have broken down your self-respect, your self-esteem, your confidence. Maybe you have been in an abusive relationship, whether physical, psychological or emotional. You do not enjoy life as it is supposed to be enjoyed. You have hardened your heart towards everyone, including God.

Possibly you blame God for your problems, for what is happening in your life. Maybe you feel that God has abandoned you, that He doesn’t care about you, that He has discarded or deserted you. You feel that you have been cast off, totally rejected.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

He sees you, through and through. He sees your life’s chaos. He sees your pain and he cries with you. Tears are running down His face. He is calling out your name.

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” – Isaiah 49:16 (New King James Version)

Your name is engraved on the palm of His hand, just like the tattoos of the Jewish prisoners in concentration camps. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, your name was engraved on His palms.

Engraving is permanent. Your name is permanently on His palms.

That is how much He loves you. He adores you, just as you are, because He made you.  He knows your name because He knows you totally and completely. He knows who you are because your name is engraved on the palm of his hand for eternity.


Our gracious heavenly Father, thank you for looking down and seeing me just as I am.  Thank you for loving me enough to engrave my name on the palms of your Son’s hands.  Help me to understand that your love for me is unconditional, that I can never be good enough, do enough good deeds to deserve your love.  Let me lift my head, knowing that guilt and shame have no place in my life.  Give me the assurance to know that I am a daughter of the King of Kings.  Show me that I am forgiven, cleansed, healed and whole in your love.  Only You can restore me to a fresh life. I choose to trust you. I am grateful that you love and care for me.  Amen.  

Who is Retta Sundblad?

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Retta Sundblad

Retta Sundblad is a wife, mother, and grandmother. After forty years in the corporate world and Christian ministry, her world would come crashing in with a federal indictment.

After intense pressure by the U.S. attorney, she plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison.  

During her incarceration, she received a scholarship and was able to complete her Bachelor of Divinity degree.  She is currently working on her master’s degree in Christian counseling.

Criminal justice reform is one of her passions and she has given several interviews about her experiences to reporters from The Marshall Project, The Appeal and The New York Times.  She is putting together programs that can be presented at churches, community groups and schools, after she is released from home confinement.

She wants to exemplify that prison does not have to end your life.  You cannot just survive it, but you can thrive afterward.For more information, you can contact her at › he-knows-my-nameSEO title preview:He Knows My Name – Divine Purpose Magazine – Purpose Is Seeking God’s Perfect WillMeta description preview:


  1. Dave Ruskjer on October 21, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Good stuff!

    • Vicki Olton on October 22, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment Dave. God bless you.

  2. Aleisha Cate on October 22, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Nice article, Retta! Thank you for writing this. The opening really grabbed my attention!

    • Vicki Olton on October 22, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      We are happy that you were blessed by this article.

    • Von Griggs-Laws on April 17, 2021 at 8:42 am

      Thanks for allowing me to learn of your experience and the reminder of how significant we really are to God.
      Blessings and joy on your journey, Von

  3. Denise Miller on October 22, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    What a wonderful needed reminder that we are precious to God. That it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do nothing can change that our name is imprinted on to his palm.

    • Vicki Olton on October 22, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks for this. God bless you!

  4. Kavanaugh Llavanchia Williams on October 23, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    HE KNOWS MY NAME!!!!! Thank you!

  5. Tammy McCotter, h.c. on April 29, 2023 at 1:10 am

    This is beautiful. Most have never worked behind the wall so they can never understand what you speak of. I completely understand what you are saying but I do. I worked in corrections for more than 20 years and I can attest that what you spoke of is so true. I would always say that people are people be instant but it is not. Beautiful story.

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