Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of a name, especially your own name? Were you named for a specific reason?
I saw this video that someone posted on Facebook about Grandmother names. It’s a humorous video. But for me, it wasn’t funny. It really hurt to watch it. (I’ll share why in a little bit.) Now, I can laugh with it.
The Importance of A Name for Meaning
My first name is Jacqueline and my middle name is Jean. The name Jacqueline was after my mother’s best friend. My mother had chosen the name Jean at the hospital. The doctor who delivered me told my mother that he always wanted a girl but never had one. If he had, he would have named her Jean. She told him that she would make Jean my middle name.
The Importance of A Name for Identity
Names are important. I’m grateful for Jackie Kennedy. Until she came around, there were not a lot of Jackies when I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. It was then that my name became cool.
Names give us our identity. I love that in the Bible, the names were very significant. Take the name Isaac. How appropriate when Abraham and Sarah were told that they would have a son in their 90’s, they named him Isaac, which meant laughter. Sarah’s first reaction was to laugh.
Then there’s Simon. When Jesus first met him, he changed his name to Peter, which meant rock. Moses in Hebrew means to draw out of water. Pharaoh’s daughter drew him out of the Nile river.
The Importance of A Name for Belonging
Being known by our name gives us a sense of belonging. It’s awful not to have a name. That’s how I felt when we visited our grandchildren and why the video was so hurtful.
Robert and I had been in prior marriages for twenty years. Robert and I both have sons My son is much younger and is not married. Robert’s son is married with two children.
They live in San Antonio and we live in St. Louis, so we don’t see them very often. Robert and I were recently married when the children were about fourteen months and three years old. Huck is now nine and Helen is ten.
When the children always saw Robert, they called him Grandpa Robert. Me? They didn’t call me anything! The children are very loving, and we have a wonderful time together. But over the course of many years seeing them, I never had a name.
We were about to make a visit. I was really feeling sad. I told Robert that I couldn’t go on this trip again without being given a name.
As usual, we were greeted by Huck and Helen with lots of hugs and, “I love you” from both. After we arrived, we all went to lunch together.
Robert and I sat with the children at one table and my son-in-law and daughter-in-law sat at another. Huck began to tell us all about his upcoming summer camp adventures. One of the topics was Native American Indian activities. That’s when Robert jumped in and started talking about how significant names are in that culture.
Huck enthusiastically said how some people are named for birds, and mountains and strengths. I asked Huck if he knew how he got his name. He said, “No.” Then I asked Helen how she got her name? And she said, “No.”
Robert told them both that I needed a name. They didn’t have one for me. They looked at each other kind of surprised!
You Don’t Know Until You Ask
I knew that the other grandmother was named Ma Ma. I asked how they gave her that name? They both laughed and said, “Because we couldn’t pronounce her name.”
Then I asked why they called their aunt K.K. Again, they laughed and said they couldn’t pronounce her name of Katherine.
I told them my name was Jacqueline Jean. So, I wondered if they would like to call me J.J.? They both gave an enthusiastic, “YES!”
Huck ran over to his father and said, “We’re calling her J.J.!”
It was a really sweet moment. I wanted to kiss Robert right there for bringing the subject up immediately upon our arrival.
I had also prayed to God before the trip that an opportunity would come and that I would finally have a name. I now have a name!
God Knows Us By Name
Isaiah 43:1 says, “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
The gospel of John says, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
What’s the importance of a name, especially your own? Plenty. Know that you are named and claimed by God. Names are important. Do you have a name story to share? I’d love for you to leave it in the comment section below.
Ed KoehlerOctober 7, 2018 1:20 pm
Judy and I enjoyed meeting (re-meeting?) you last night. I enjoy your post on names. My grandfather name, by the way, is Binka. Yep. Judy chose Grammy, which she enjoys, but I received Binka from our granddaughter. As always, new talkers struggle with pronunciation, so grandpa came out as Binka, and I rather liked it. She’s now 4 and a half, and she knows my given name is Ed, that I’m officially her grandfather (whom she introduces to friends as “an artist”) and she knows that Binka is my special grandpa name.
Your ministry is great and may God continue to bless your work for His kingdom.