Friday, April 25, 2014

What Is In A Name?

My hands dripped with flour paste for the paper mache sculpture as I listened to Jayson Bradley's sermon What Is Your Name And Why Does It Matter. It is odd to think of one’s own name as a nemesis, but that is how I saw mine.

After my Dad left the Air Force, our transition into civilian life was challenging. Jobs were scarece and we had to move from Utah to California.  In third grade I went to three schools.  I saw myself as a burden. I knew my birth kept my Mom from attaining her degree. The moving and uncertainty was hardest on my Mom. She was pregnant and struggled to keep up with my three year old sister. I often felt in the way.

Once settled, civilian culture in a small town was very different than military life. Everyone was nice, but many found me odd. The friendships that were formed didn't last very long.

In fifth grade I came to a warped conclusion. The big thing in Sunday School the meaning of your name. The Bible said that what your name meant was who you were. Kids with biblical names were the coolest. It was easy to find an encouraging life verse to tack onto a Biblical hero.

My name fell into a gray area. Rebecca was the English spelling of Rebekah, so the coolness factor was minimal. Imagine my disappointment when I looked it up:


In my frailty it made sense:

Prisoners are bound.
Captives and kidnapped victims are bound.
An anchor is bound to a ship.
Bound was a prison.

My greatest fear confirmed; I was a burden. I was an entanglement. I was an impediment. Tearful cries began. Begging God to show me my secret name written on that white stone. I didn't want to be a burden. I wanted to be a blessing. As I grew up in Wonderland, that flawed reality only solidified.

Still praying that prayer and waiting patiently for an answer into adulthood. Then one day,  reading  the account of Isaac meeting Rebekah my point of view shifted
Isaac was walking in the field, still mourning the loss of his mother. He saw the camels…

Que sappy romantic music

Rebekah covered her face, dismounted the camel and met him. Isaac then took her into his home and he loved her, she comforted him. His grief and loneliness were bound up. She was not a burden to him. She was a gift. She captivated him.

The shift from a negative:bound to a positive: captivating began.

I am interesting.
People are curious about me.
I can help ease a burden.
I can comfort those in difficulty.
I am good at organizing in a crisis.

In reading Fearless Daughters of the Bible, J. Lee Grady points out when God changed Abram and Sari’s name to Abraham and Sarah, he wove in the Hebrew H “breath” sound: the same sound that is part of his own name.

I felt Holy Spirit’s breath seal my name. Rebekah has that same breath sound. How it is spelled is irrelevant. I am identified with Divine Love. That Holy Breath renews my soul. It frees me to grow. It redeems what I thought about myself and grants me vision of how God sees me.

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