I Was Named After…

Sorry for the delay this week, folks. I’ve been out of commission with a nasty flu for several days. As they say, better late than never. :)


Sunday, February 20, 2011

I was named after…


I was named after Sarah from the Bible.  Sarah. The doubter. The laugher. The take-matters-into-her-own-hands-er.

I never thought it suited me. As a young person, I always wanted to be called something else. Anything else, to be honest! All of my closest friends had some obscure nickname for me, and that’s how I wanted it. ‘Sarah’ seemed too plain, too boring.

As an adult, I can think of no name that might suit me better. I love the story of Sarah. I love how God spoke a real promise to her and she—like most honest believers—didn’t quite believe that He was able to bring it about. Instead of trusting God to do what He said He would do, Sarah took matters into her own hands and tried to create a solution. Her ‘solution’ caused more trouble than it was worth!

But that’s what I like about Sarah. That’s why I relate to her so well. In spite of Sarah’s attempts to bring about God’s promise, in spite of her making a bigger mess than she could have anticipated, God was still faithful to her. He still did what He said He would do. His promise wasn’t dependent on Sarah’s faithfulness, but on His own.

That is my life in a nutshell: I am constantly in a state of trying to bring about my own desires. And that is God in a nutshell, too: Always faithful. If you remember one thing about your Auntie Sarah, let it be that God was faithful to me.

All my love,

Aunt Sarah

What’s in My Name?

Yesterday, I asked you to share the stories of your name, why you were named as you were, how you feel about your name, etc.  Because of the wonderful responses I received (both in the comments and elsewhere), I felt I had better swallow my own medicine and share my name story today.

My name is Sarah.

My father’s name is Earl, and his sisters’ names all end in “eine” (as evidenced by my Aunt Georgeine, who comments sometimes on this blog). Rumor has it that my father wanted to name me “Earleine,” to follow tradition. My mother wanted “Sarah Elizabeth,” after the women in the Bible. I love my aunts and my father, but I can’t tell you how thankful I am that my mom won that argument.

Sarah and Elizabeth are both Hebrew names, meaning “princess” or “noblewoman” and “my God is an oath,” respectively. I don’t think I wear either of these names well in terms of my character, but I do love them both.

When I was young, I hated my name. I wanted a nickname, and there weren’t any nicknames to be had with the name “Sarah.” Or so I thought. Now, it is not uncommon to hear folks calling me by any number of Sarah-derivatives: Sar, Sarie, Hahahaha, even “semmie” came from my real name.

Maybe I would have made a better “Earleine” than I do “Sarah,” but…I like to think I’m growing into my name. After all, if “Sarah” means “princess,” then that means I am the daughter of a King; and that has been the greatest struggle of my life thus far–to see myself as God’s daughter. But I’m working on it. And He’s working on me.

Pax Christi. Enjoy your weekend, all!

What’s in Your Name?

Who are you?

As I continue the search to discover my roots, I realize more how unknown we are. Think about it. How many people know your life goals? How many people know the pivotal moments of your life that shaped who you are today? How many people even known your eye color for certain? (I can’t say that I know all of my siblings eye colors for sure…)

I love walking in the cemetery. Though none of my family is buried locally, I love the sense of mortality that I feel when I consider the lives at rest there. Like you and me, these were passionate persons with dreams and goals and fears and faiths and allergies. When they died, close friends and family mourned them for a time, then joined them. With the passing of one, two, maybe three generations, that life is largely forgotten. The stories that families tell at Christmastime find their own graves there in the solace of the cemetery.

Who can call them to remembrance?

Maybe none of us can, entirely. Though, if you are searching out your own roots and stumble upon a name and a person that you cannot make sense of, there are usually some clues to chase after.

I confess, I find myself envious of ancient (or even outdated) naming practices. In the Bible, names meant something. An entire faith revolves around the importance of the name of Jesus–the LORD saves! If we all went through a name change as Abram and Sarai did, perhaps we, too, would have “a story in a name.” How many years have passed? How many generations have forgotten? But here, generations after the fact, in a different land, with a different language, we still know that Abram’s name was changed to Abraham. We still know the significance of that name change, and the countless stars in the sky.

I’m not suggesting that we can all be as infamous in our names as Abram. He is, of course, an exceptional example. He is, perhaps, the pinnacle of all name stories. But certainly there are stories within our own families.

Begin with yourself.

Were you named after someone, or did your parents just choose a name they liked?

Does your name mean anything to you?

Does it reveal anything about your character?

How about your surname (your last name, or family name)–where did it originate?

What does it mean?

What’s in your name?

I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this one.