The Name

There’s such power in a name. When you first meet someone, repeating their name can make them feel a real connection to you right off the bat. In serious or intimate conversations, when someone uses your name it immediately creates a moment of being seen or heard. When we pick out a name for a child, it’s a momentous and weighty thing — defining who a person is for the rest of their life by a name. Changing one’s name in marriage makes the union feel all the more real. It’s a visible sign of the unity that has taken place. Which makes signing your name after divorce all the more painful.

I was thrilled to change my name when I got married. I was excited to be his bride and to be known by his name to all I met. I think one of my greatest failings in my marriage was how much I loved being in it. I hated being alone and single, marriage was the antidote to my loneliness. I often fell into the trap of worshiping my marriage. Of being discontent when it didn’t meet all my needs and putting a lot of pressure to find myself by losing myself in my husband. So when my marriage was ripped from me, I was forced to face my idol. And I was reminded of that loss with every piece of mail, every form I had to fill out, and with every signature. My very name felt like a betrayal.

It hit the hardest during worship. I remember bawling during “Ever Be” as it hit me who’s name I bore and who was the only one I should worship. I was reminded time and time again that I was still united in marriage to someone — to someone who was effortlessly faithful. I was his bride, called by his name, and loved desperately by him. These lyrics still choke me up a year later:

“Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon with mercy for today
Faithful You have been and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan
Your kindness makes us whole
And you shoulder our weakness
And your strength becomes our own
Now you’re making me like you
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride
Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame
And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips”

Now as a bride, the second time around, I have another new name. A name that reflects the new union I share with my new husband. The temptation is there to bury myself in this new identity. But I know it cannot be my everything this time around. There is only ONE true name that I am known by and it is Christ. I am his and he is mine, the only one who can ever fully satisfy, heal, and cure all my needs. And that name, the one that I’m united to, is powerful. It is a strong tower, my refuge in time of need (Prov. 18:10). It is a name that always abundantly provides (Gen. 22:14). It is a name that brings salvation (Rom. 10:9-13). It’s a name that will cause the entire earth to bow in submission (Phil. 2:10-11). It is a name that was at the beginning of all things and will still stand at the end of time (Rev. 1:8). And let’s not forget, it is a name that is jealous (Ex. 34:14). He will not abide by idol worship. And why should he? He alone is God. Any other worship is false and utterly repugnant to him.

His name is both a hopeful promise and a stern warning. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19) That means he’s both forever faithful, despite our faithlessness, and also that he will bring judgment on those who don’t give him the honor he is due. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Deut. 5:11). This name is both the rock to cling to in the storm and the rock that will crush anyone who opposes it. May I ever be known by His name, til death makes our union complete.