It's odd the way the mind works. I don't understand why so many of the memories of the eighteen years I spent growing up in the tall yellow house on Dartmouth street are buried so deep in the memory banks of my mind, that I have yet to access them. Then others are crystal clear, every technicolor detail is tack sharp.
The day Daddy told us he was leaving Mama is vivid in my mind. And while the pain of that event is certainly a pivotal point in my childhood, there were some things Daddy did that shaped me in the right way, that helped me to find my identity in my relationship with Father God. The day Daddy told me about my name is one of those good memories.
We were in the dining room of our tall yellow house, sitting around the big wooden table. In the corner of the dining room sat the oil furnace that heated our home. Through a small glass window in the front of the furnace you could see the glow of the flames. On the two large dining room windows hung the cafe style curtains with valances that Mama had sown out of the bark cloth popular in that day. Daddy was at the end of the table and I was seated near him when he made this simple statement, "I named you Elizabeth, because it means "consecrated to God".
Mama wanted my nickname to be Beth, but when I was a baby my nicknamed morphed to Bethie. That would have been fine but it didn't stop there, it kept right on morphing until it became a name that is was in no way derived from the name my Daddy had given me. I grew up being called Becky.
I remember that at one time Mama determined to get it back to Beth, but with 6 siblings calling me Becky, as well as every other relative, friend and acquaintance, she was fighting a losing battle.
While Becky is a perfectly lovely name, and the name it's derived from, Rebekah, I even used as a middle name for my own daughter, I never liked my nickname being Becky. One of those tack sharp memories from my childhood is of me sitting in my third grade classroom filled with Debbies and Tammys and Susies and feeling a strong dislike toward my nickname, Becky. However, I never associated my dislike for my nickname to it's disconnect from the name on my birth certificate.
My husband and daughters and I moved to Portland the summer I turned forty. It wasn't long after that that our church went through a season of what many would call "revival". Night after night God met us in powerful ways. Many people came to Christ and were baptized in water. Many of us experienced life changing encounters with God. It was during that season, sitting in a service in our church, that I heard Father God speak clearly to my heart, "I named you, Elizabeth, because it means "consecrated to God". It impacted my heart just as much, maybe more, than it had the first time my earthly father had spoken those same words. And the memory is just as tack sharp. I remember exactly where I was seated in the church, the way the light came through the window when He said those words to me. And at that moment, I became Elizabeth again. I told my husband, my family, my friends, my acquaintances that I wanted to be called by my real name, the name my Daddy had given me, the name my Father God had called me.
On my part, the transformation never felt odd or unfamiliar. In fact, the opposite was true. Though I'd been called Becky for the past 40 years, when someone forgot to call me Elizabeth and used the name Becky, it now felt foreign to me. Strangely, my husband had called me Elizabeth most of our married life, so the transition wasn't hard for him, but for family and long time friends, the name Becky still crops up once in a while.
For sixteen years now, I've walked comfortably in the identity given to me by my Father. I'm no longer wearing a label given to me by my family, relatives or friends. When someone calls me by the identity I used to wear, it feels as foreign to me as if they called me Jane or Suzanne. I am now, and from the moment I was conceived, the identity given to me by my Father God, and handed down to me by my earthly father. I am Elizabeth. I am consecrated to God.
Be sure to click on the photo below to see how to enter my giveaway of this beautiful
Ghanaian Market basket!