Linda Znachko - Doe is Not a Name, a Diaper is not Burial Clothing and a Dumpster is Not a Grave
When Linda Znachko heard about Baby Doe, wearing a diaper and found in a dumpster, she felt compelled to get this baby named, dressed and buried with dignity. She had no idea that this baby would also birth a ministry that she could never have imagined. Znachko wrote He Knows Your Name, a book that explores her spiritual journey about how God led her and how many other lives were touched thanks to this baby.
Please give us a short introduction to what He Knows Your Name is about.
Baby Doe, wearing a diaper and found in a dumpster was the news headline that grabbed my heart. God spoke to my Spirit with a contrasting message, Doe is not a name, a diaper is not burial clothing and a dumpster is not a grave. God’s plan for me was to make this injustice, right. I had no idea how that would look I only knew I needed to call and ask some questions. When I asked what would happen to this child, if never claimed, and I was told “nothing.” My yes became action to make sure that the child would be named, dressed and buried with dignity.
The book is about how this baby birthed a ministry that I could have never imagined. It is about my faith journey with God about how He led me, talked to me and opened my heart to people, who look nothing like me, to reveal His Father’s heart for His orphaned children that He wanted me to adopt in death.
Why did you decide it was necessary to put your story into a book?
As the stories were unfolding I was telling everyone about how God was moving to bring hope, dignity, and honor to His abandoned children. Then I started helping under-resourced families who had a tragic loss of a child and I realized the testimony of Jesus was impacting every listening ear. The local media was compelled to share these stories of redemption at every turn. In my time with Jesus one day, The Lord clearly pressed onto my heart to write a book. I argued with Him a bit saying, “I’m not a writer.” He reminded me of my journals and how they were full of stories, and I realized, I am a storyteller. He then reminded me of Revelation 19:10, “Worship God! The testimonies of Jesus are the Spirit of Prophesy.” I then got very excited to share the testimonies of Jesus in a book!
How did providing a dignified burial for an abandoned baby change your life?
My mother died 4 months prior to this child’s abandonment. I was responsible for planning her funeral which meant I ordered her headstone, helped her choose her burial clothes, delivering them to the funeral home, and I planned her funeral service. I felt compelled to honor this child in the same way I had honored my mother, I wanted to be family for this child who was orphaned in death. I wanted to give this baby the same honor and dignity I gave my mother.
Why do you think a proper burial is so important?
It is so important that we acknowledge that every life matters. We are all image-bears of God and we are written on the palms of His hands. When we celebrate life in death we are honoring God. It is worship to Him when we value life and bless His children.
Your book centers a lot around the value of life - why did you find this theme important to explore?
Ps 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” and John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans” These 2 verses are foundational for me as I consider what it means to live out the gospel in my community. In dark times of grief, the enemy strikes hard with a spirit of isolation and I feel that as a follower of Jesus I need to stand in the gap with families in crisis by bringing the Light. Light always overpowers darkness and my presence is a powerful gift when loneliness sets in because of loss. I believe with all my heart that death, the method God used for salvation, is the vehicle He uses to bring about LIFE. So when I stand at the grave with families I know the hope of life is in the story of Easter weekend and I tell them they are loved by their Heavenly Father, who knows how they feel and only He can heal their broken hearts.
Do you have examples of other people whose lives have been touched through all of this?
Sharing these amazing stories and families with my husband and family has captured all of their hearts. Our kingdom value for sharing the gospel of Jesus by bringing Light to the darkness of injustice has been apart of the fabric of our lives for a long time. My husband’s ministry to Mission to Ukraine, our families commitment to Safe Families of Indiana, and many others has allowed us to serve together by engaging in the world around us. I have enjoyed watching each one use their unique gifts to love their neighbor by being available relationally and by being present at my events to show how much they care. My son has recently moved back to Indianapolis to be the Senior Pastor with Antioch Indy and he has jumped into the many opportunities to come alongside me at my ongoing events to offer prayer, leadership, and community to hurting families.;
How did this incident lead you to God?
The birth of HKYN led me to a deeper understanding of and dependence on the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Bible and God’s promises come alive as I have trusted Him to walk in unfamiliar places with strangers. I am with people during their darkest hour and God gives me supernatural wisdom to comfort them and give them hope. My intimacy with Jesus, as I serve His children, has led me into deep places of abiding that has been very rich.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
My friends and family tell me often that they are blessed by my gift of hospitality.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope my readers will be inspired to listen to God. I want them to ask Him what purpose has their name on it. I want them to know they are marked for kingdom work in their generation. I want them to wonder about their legacy and to have the courage to say YES to God no matter what He invites them into.
What is your favorite line from the book?
I am most proud of my “acknowledgements” chapter. The final 2 sentences of the book, of that chapter, inspire me to keep saying YES!
When did you come to realize that doing this was your calling?
When I called the coroner’s office and the receptionist said, no one else has called. I knew then that what God wrote on my heart after hearing the breaking news story, “Doe is not a name, a dumpster is not a grave and a diaper is not burial clothing” that God was inviting me into something sacred.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
No, I don’t. I journal daily and my writing is birthed out of my time with Jesus. Spending daily time in the Word and in worship is how I am inspired to write.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on several initiates for the state of Indiana. I support the Safe Haven Baby Box, I am campaigning for Cuddle Cots to be placed in all of our hospitals and I advocate for all babies who are abandoned at hospitals.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Facebook is a great place to connect with me. Also, my website, heknowsyourname.org has been updated and has a lot of compelling new stories. I’m so excited to have just launched my monthly newsletter so readers can be inspired my how God is bringing hope to hard places. Click the SUBSCRIBE button on my website!