When I was a young girl, I really hated my name. Back then, I went by Debby, and there were at least 2 of us in every classroom. My heart rate always accelerated whenever the teacher would call out the name “Debby” – especially if being called on for a question I didn’t know the answer to. Not only that, I found out my name meant “bee”. I really hated bees!
I got so mad about my name that I asked my mother if she could change it. She said, ‘no’ and asked me why. I told her I was tired of having the same name as other people in my class, and I was not a bee. I also asked her what other names she had considered. I swore I was going to change my name when I got old enough to do it myself.
My mother said when she was pregnant with me, my father and she talked about names. They had no trouble deciding on a boy’s name. I would have been named after my dad, but they could not decide on a girl’s name. My dad wanted to name me Mary Ann after his mother, and my mother wanted to name me Hazel after her mother. The only name they could agree on was Deborah which they put on my birth certificate and shortened it to Debby as a nickname.
No offense to my grandmothers, but I was glad I didn’t get either of their names. There were a lot of girls named Mary in my class, so that would have been no better than Debby. And Hazel would have been an even worse choice. I would have been mercilessly teased. Back then, Hazel was the name of a maid on a television show. I was already teased enough as it was.
Today I have learned to like my name. I have done away with the Debby and now go by Deborah because I admire Deborah in the Bible. She was a strong, wise woman. In my generation, it’s not the most unique name, but it is the name my parents wanted me to have.
Just as my parents named me, God named Abram and Sari. When Abram was 100 and Sari was 90, God changed their name to Abraham which means “father of many nations” and “Sarah” which meant “princess”. He did this to reconfirm his covenant with them about giving them a son. Abram was doubtful that they could have any children at their age. But God tells them they will have a son, and they were to name him Isaac which mean “he laughs”.
For someone to know our name means we have a relationship with them in some area of our lives. It can be a significant one or a minor one. We choose how close of a relationship we want with that person.
The same can be said for God. No matter what name we have been given, God knows it. Just like Abraham and Sarah, He may also have a unique name for those of us who are close to Him. He has a relationship with every person on Earth because we are part of His Creation. We are loved by Him unconditionally no matter what we do.
We are the ones who decide how close our relationship with Him will be. We have a choice to call Him, Father, and to take His hand as we walk through life and learn more about Him so we can live more joyful lives despite our circumstances, or to keep Him at arm’s length and never have the blessing of His presence and strength in our lives. It’s our choice.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. Psalms 139:1