My social media feed has been full of posts which contain a list of twenty questions to answer. If a friend likes it, they too can post to their page and encourage other friends to participate. The first question to answer is, “Who were you named after?” This question always makes me laugh when I am asked about my name. My name, Gretchen, comes from Margaret which means pearl. As a child I hated my name and wished my parents had given me something else- nearly anything else.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I realized the beauty of my name. I was meeting with some older women in a prayer group when another woman brought up names and their meanings. As I mentioned my name’s meaning, she immediately reminded me a pearl is made by hard work, the oyster must coat the irritant in its shell to protect itself. Eventually, the grain of sand or stone is surrounded by the smooth covering which is now coveted.
She went on to say that the struggles in my life, the experiences I had were like a string of pearls. Others may see the beauty in the outcome, but they didn’t know the battle I had faced to get there.
As we continued to talk, she shared the verse in Revelation which says we will be given a new name that only God knows. A name that has never been made fun of, misspelled, mispronounced, or spoken in anger. A name that is pure.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it (Revelation 2:17).
Shakespeare may have said, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” But when I think of the names we’ve been given on this side of Heaven and the names we will be given one day, I am encouraged to embrace the name I have now because it is part of my story and it’s a story only I can tell.
Best Beloved, what is your story? What name do you bear? Is it something you endure or something you embrace? Instead of being critical of what we are called maybe it’s time to remember by Whom we are called. What is our mission? Our purpose? Whether we are called by the right name or the wrong name, it matters most that He knows our name and we belong to Him.