When choosing names for my daughters I not only wanted something that was somewhat unique, but that also had significant meaning. Our oldest took us four years to conceive after being told we wouldn’t be able to have children at all. Her name means Gracious Promise. That seemed appropriate. Our youngest daughter’s name means Beautiful Valley, and she truly is a beautiful girl both inside and out. She brings lots of joy to our lives. Both names are appropriate to the character of our girls.
My own name bears great significance to me. Consecrated by God or Woman of God. God has set me aside for a special and specific purpose. He has a plan for me. I’ve not encountered many people who share my name, and I can never find it on those sparkly key chains that grace the spinning racks at Hallmark. But my name brings me hope and encouragement because God picked it out just for me.
Each year I create a bulletin board with the names of each of my students along with their meanings. I often use the meaning of their names to encourage them. “Your name means knight,” I can be heard saying. “A knight doesn’t back down from a challenge. You can do these math problems. They may be tough, but you’re a knight! You can do it!”
Our names bear significance to our Heavenly Father as well. Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you O, Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” The God of all creation knows your name. He sees your heart. He knows your pain. Wow! He calls you by your name.
I love the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus. The moment is recorded in John 20:10-16. She stood before the empty tomb, and Jesus appeared before her. She didn’t recognize him even though he spoke to her. But when he said her name, “Mary,” she knew him and cried out in recognition of her Lord and Savior.
God knows your name and has summoned you by it. In fact even now, he calls. He longs to draw you to himself. He has a plan and a purpose for you. Listen! He is calling. Do you recognize his voice?