Change your name

ochocinco Do you remember my name? Do you know who I am?

In 5th grade Sunday Bible class yesterday, we filled out “Our History” sheets. The first question was: What’s your full name?

What did that mean? My first and last? (A common answer for the 5th graders.) My first, middle, last? My first, middle, maiden, last?

My name has changed a few times. 

As young girls do, I used to try on last names for size. When I had a crush on Mike, I imagined hearing Lisa Pepper. name change packetLater I tried out Lisa Ray. Lisa Gibbs. Lisa (boyfriend du jour). If the sound clunked, well, it was a bad sign for the relationship.

When Jeff proposed that I take on the Burgess name, I was honored. When he gave it to Morgan, I was honored again. Reminding our girls to behave when they’d leave the house, we’d say, “Remember you’re a Burgess.” They knew what that meant.

What’s in a name? A lot. It means something.

God used name-changes in the Bible to mean something, too. As decisive turning points.

  • Abram “exalted father” to Abraham “father of many (Genesis 17:5)
  • Sarai “my princess” to Sarah “mother of multitudes” (Genesis 17:15)
  • Jacob “he grasps the heel” to Israel “he struggles with God” (Genesis 32:28)
  • Loammi “not my people” to Ammi “my people” (Hosea 1:9; 2:23)
  • Simon “hearing” to Peter “rock” (John 1:42)

To some, my name is “Mom” or one of the “Four Corners” or “Daughter.” When my husband leaves me a phone message, he starts with “Hey Beautiful”—and even though I don’t live up to that name, I know he’s talking to me.

Just so, when the Lord calls me his “beloved” (Rom 9:25) or “wife of the Lamb” (Rev 21:9) or his “child of God” (1 John 3:2), “Blessed; Holy; Priest” (Rev 20:6)—I don’t think I live up to those names either.

But he’s talking to me

Yesterday, I sang “I Will Change Your Name” with the church family. I was reminded that an encounter with God changes our name. And those names define us.

In my mind, I’m still growing into my God-given names. But in his eyes, I’m already there.

* * * * *

...you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give...

You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her...

...as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:2, 4, 5

* * * * *

I Will Change Your Name
lyrics by D. J. Butler

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, Joyfulness
Overcoming one

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Faithfulness, Friend of God
One who seeks my face.

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