To put it lightly, I’m obsessed with my name. I always have been and I probably always will be. Even though I remember crying as a young child because in my household I had the most letters in my first name and I often get nervous when I have to introduce myself to new people because I know I’ll have to say my name more than once and at certain times in my life I’ve considered it too ethnic (read Black); I love my name, all of it. Over the course of my life I have perfected my signature. Some of my most cherished gifts are the ones that display my name. Whether it’s my first name or just my last name or only my initials, my name is very much a reflection of who I am. I am my name. So imagine how I felt as I considered changing it…
Before I met my husband I always knew I would change my last name when I got married. I looked forward to being introduced as Mrs. (insert name), signifying the merging of my life with the love of my life. But I wasn’t prepared for the emotional response I would have. As excited as I was to change my name, I was also kind of sad to “lose” my name. It felt like I was ending a really good chapter of an amazing book. My previous name has taken me places; we saw things and we got degrees and awards. We counseled people and taught students and recited poems and created a blog. I accomplished so much with my previous name but I look forward to all that I’ll accomplish with my new name.
There are several times in the bible where God changed someone’s name (Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul). Often times through these name changes, He delivered on His promises. He received glory and praise. One’s faith was increased through a name change. It did not matter how successful they had been or even how unsuccessful they had been, when God changed their names, things got better. Sarai was barren but Sarah gave birth to a son. Jacob wrestled with the angel but Israel was the father of the people of God. Saul was a sinner but Paul was a soldier in God’s army.
My children will know me by my new name. Any awards I receive in the future will be with my new name. The book I write will be written under my new name. I’m as wonderful of a human being as I was before I changed my name, if not better. Changing my name doesn’t mean I have changed; it simply means my amazing story continues. I have to remind myself of this truth. As good of a life as I was living with my previous name, life with my new name is the good life too (cue *I’m living my best life*).
So much of who I am is wrapped up in what I do. I am a teacher who teaches students. I am a Christian who serves God. I am a writer who writes. So much of who I am is tied to who I am connected to. I am a daughter to my mother. I am a sister to my siblings. I am a godmother to my goddaughter. Through all of these roles and labels my name was still my name. And now I’m a wife to my husband which comes with a new last name and my name is still my name. I am still my name.
Genesis 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.