Thursday, August 25, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year 4- Day 238: Today, I am grateful for the value in naming and being named. 

Naming matters. We took the job seriously as parent. We wanted them to have a sense of uniqueness among all the Smiths of the world, but we didn't want strange or awkward spellings to frustrate them the rest of their lives.  

Growing up, I rarely had my first and last name both spelled correctly until I married a Smith. That one is easy. Valerie isn't hard, but there are alternate spellings... although the "erie" on the end of mine fits my Halloween birth...and would have been unique. I have never introduce myself as "Val" - as I've never cared for the less feminine, shortened version of my name. As a young adult - when I left for college... it was easy to speak up and express the preference for Valerie. At home - given names are not used as much as endearments and nicknames - but out in the real world, they our first impression on the world. 

Randy doesn't ever use his legal first name except on legal documents. The popular nickname has been his moniker for all of his life. He wanted the kids to have names that fit for life. Not just a season. As a child... you don't get much voice. Naming matters.

In light of our own experiences, we wanted names that were not strange, but somewhat unique for our children. Correct phonetically spelled names...but somehow their own. Chase was not on any list of popular names in 1991 - neither was Walker in 1996. Our future daughter, Emma, was also named ahead of the popular curve, too. Ashley, Jessica, Brittany, Amanda and Samantha were the top 5 for girls in 1991. 

A name is a first impression. It follows you wherever you go. There was a time that a man's name and the value of his word were synonymous. A word and a handshake... and the deal was done. A century ago, mention a man's name and those who new him would give a quick character assessment. Now, we "Google" a name for information. 

I love that our creative God gave Adam the gift of naming the living creatures. 

"The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him." -Genesis 2:20

 That our God numbers the stars and calls them by name is something that my human brain cannot fathom. Each one valued enough to be named. 

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. -Psalm 147:4

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. -Isaiah 40:26

My favorite piece of this scripture is "not one is missing". 

God changed Adam's name from Abram to Abraham as part of a promise. Daniel and "the boys" were given Babylonian names to strip them of their heritage when they were taken captive in the book of Daniel. An angel instructed Joseph in a dream about the naming of the baby Mary would bear in Matthew 1:21:

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

When asked how the a crippled man was healed in Acts 4 , Peter responded:

 "let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

And a glimpse of the future in Philippians 2:10:

"so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,"

Names are important. The act of naming is the giving of a gift for a lifetime. The name of Jesus holds power, authority, healing and hope. 

Earworm is awake and singing Jim Croce's "I've Got a Name" and Matthew West's "Hello, my name is Child of the One True King". He can't make up his mind so I get two songs this morning. 

Today, I am grateful for the value in naming and being named. 

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