What’s in a name

When I was born my folks expected a boy. My mermaid cousin had been born just a few months before me, prior to her it had been over 120 years since a girl was born in our family line. So the odds were in favor of a boy, but here I was instead. At first my parents thought they had a name for me, but my mom knew too many “mean girls” with the same name. Instead, they named me Gretchen. No namesake for anyone in our family tree. No particular connection to anything, it was just a name they liked.

Over the past fifty years I have had a lot of misunderstanding about my name. My father’s students once gave him a gift for me and the card was addressed to Guchard. Apparently Gretchen was not odd enough, they had to create their own name for me.

My friends have called me Gert for the better part of our friendship, along with some variations of Gert. The same with my mom and brother. One of the wedding receptions held for my husband and me included a cake with an inscription using my nickname, Gert.

In college I worked with special needs adults, aged eighteen to sixty-five. My name took on a variety of pronunciations, including completely different names. Some of the clients called me Gretchen, others called me Rachel or Crystal. One of the younger clients called me Mommy Gretchen.

I now work in customer service where due to regional pronunciation and familiarity my name has continued to evolve into names like, Princess, Precious, Bridget, and my personal favorite, Duchess.

As you may imagine, I have had a love/hate experience with my name most of my life. There is one name I have never hated though, no matter what may be happening in my life. My Heavenly Father has always called me His Child. Even when I rebelled like the Prodigal Daughter I was, He loved me. He has called me Precious, Beloved, Beautiful One, and Sweet Girl. Each name specific to where I was during my journey, the battles I may have been facing, or the cries of my heart that could not be described with words. God understood them all and He loved me in spite of it all and often through it all.

I do not know your situation today, Best Beloved. You may be facing a broken marriage, a strained relationship with your child, even a sense of insecurity at work. You may have never been shown favor, value, or love in ways that would fill your soul. But. Dear One, God is the soul-filler. He is the Redeemer, Restorer, Healer, Savior.

Come to Him, call to Him, He will come to you. Be honest about the broken places, He knows all about them already, He just wants you to entrust Him with them. When you allow Him to move into your life and heart there will be a change. 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 NIV, bold mine).

Come. Let His love and mercies wash over you, restore and heal you. Let Him give you a new name; one that will never spoken cruelly, mispronounced, or misunderstood.

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About gretchenr17

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Writer, farmer, fellow sojourner... at every turn I learn a bit more about God's wild mercies.
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