What’s in a name?

I’ve finally caved in. I am now ‘a blogger.’

I’ve been holding out against this for a long time. My husband’s been nagging me to blog ever since he started 3 years ago.

I’ve always called myself a Blog Widow. Not Black Widow. That’d be cool. Blog Widow. That’s up there with ‘Tupperware Party’.

Well now it’s my turn to explore the InterWeb, with my own site: A New Name. So what’s that all about?

The phrase comes from Revelation, at the very end of the bible. Jesus has a message for all these different churches. And He keeps mentioning the idea of “a name”. It’s all about how they’re known.

Some of them have “a name” for being alive and impressive, but they’re not. And some of them have real and genuine “names” – there’s a real integrity to who they are.

What are the names you want? What are the names you fear?

Imagine you accidentally overhear a conversation between friends, and they’re talking about you. What’s the worst thing they could say about you?

“Stupid”, “clumsy”, “loud”, “fat”, “ugly”, “ignorant”, “boring.” Worse?

What would you most want them to say?

“Clever”, “funny”, “beautiful”, “kind”, “musical”, “sporty”, “fun”, “godly”? What name would thrill your heart?

I’m someone who’s spent their life petrified of certain names and desperate for others. And I’ve worked my guts out trying to avoid some labels and to earn others. It’s almost killed me. Literally.

But in Revelation there’s a way out of this deadly pursuit. For one thing, Jesus makes an incredible promise to those who trust in Him. He says “I will write on them my new name.” (Rev 3:12)

You see we don’t have to settle for the names others have given us. We are not who other people say we are. But also (and this is also good news ), we’re not even what we call ourselves. When we become Christians, Jesus gives us His name and His reputation. Incredibly, we can be known – by God Himself – and given the same dignity and status as His Son.

When I married Glen, his name covered over mine. I became a Scrivener (which can be a pain as no-one knows how to spell it, especially given my impenetrable Irish pronounciation). But something much better happened when I trusted Jesus. His glorious name covered my shameful one. Before the eyes of heaven I am actually as good, spotless and beautiful as Jesus Himself. And if that’s true, then I no longer need to strive to be someone else, someone who matters.

And then there’s something more. Jesus also gives me this promise:

“I will also give them a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” (Rev 2:17)

This is not like the new family name that I received when I got married. This is like the pet name that’s only between me and my husband. This is having Jesus know me to the depths and tell me who I most truly am.

Jesus’ new name written on us is about our new status (like a surname). Our new name on the white stone is about the intimacy of being known by Jesus (like a pet name).

We don’t find our true selves by becoming self-made men and women. And we’re not at the mercy of other people’s opinions. We receive our true identities from Jesus. Both the status and the personal name.

And when we live out of Christ’s identity given to us, the striving can end and we can be who we’re meant to be. That’s the theory anyway. And I’m slowly getting the hang of it!

What are the names you’ve been given in life? Do you have a sense of your new name?

16 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Emma, thank you so much for your raw transparency. I’m shaking as I type this, very anxious and frightened because your site is already answering a desparate prayer uttered in the very wee hours of this morning. Bless you for joining this widow-maker with Glen. ;) I’ll be reading. ~ Missy

  2. Hi Missy

    Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. Maybe we can be anxious together! Looking forward to talking more.

    Hi Terry

    Sorry if my blog swallowed what you wrote! Nice to hear from you anyway :)

  3. Hi,

    I look forward to reading your blog! Thanks for sharing your story, it was helpful to see how every problem/person/situation desperately needs the gospel, and nothing else will do


  4. Hi Emma, great start to the blog! Nice design too!. You and your hubby will be fighting over the keyboard soon!

    I hated my name when I was a kid. Then I don’t know why, but I came out of my hatred for it – grew out of my hatred maybe or just accepted it, and became quite fine with it.

    Keep up the good work.


  5. Hi Josh

    Thanks for your message – I think that’s it: whatever the world may say, there is no person or situation beyond Christ’s love. He meets us in our mess – we don’t need to clean ourselves up before we come to Him. That’s wonderful – but it’s also terrifying. I always felt like sin was something I could get – but grace, grace was – and still is, threatening and terrifying and inexplicable. Like in Psalm 130:4 ‘with you there is mercy, therefore you are to be feared’. Amazing, indeed!

    Hi Andy

    Yes, this blogging could be the beginning of the end of a beautiful relationship. Or maybe Glen and I can just tap companionably, side by side, into our dotage…and e-mail each other occasional updates.

    Glad you like your name now. I was just thinking, if God gives us a new name, then does the enemy have a false name for us too?

  6. The names I’ve been given in the past are frankly embarrassing, although they may reveal something about me they’d probably obscure an equal amount. I feel I have a sense of my future name right now but it maybe more difficult to say that I sense my new name right NOW. I should though, and this post is a prod towards that.

    Your story and this post is a powerful witness to God. Thanks a lot for sharing it all. I’ve read and benefited a huge amount from your husband’s blog and it is nice to finally hear something from the wife he clearly values so much.

    God bless your blogging adventures.

  7. Great to read your story, having ‘met’ Glen purely through the interwebs.

    My wife has had troubled times with similar problems (frog4eva.blogspot.com is where she used to blog if you want the full, honest details). It’s good to hear people being open about such struggles and the goodness of Jesus.

  8. Hi Emma!

    Am grateful you started this site – your testimony of Christ’s awesome love is very touching, and my wife and I will pray that your ministry through this site and at your home church flourishes in His NAME!


  9. Congrats on the new blog!

    “And when we live out of Christ’s identity given to us, the striving can end and we can be who we’re meant to be.”

    Nice!!! His yoke IS easy!

  10. Hi Emma,

    Congratulations and all best wishes for your new site on the InterWeb. It will be a blessing to the many who struggle with self harm and eating disorders. Your story is deeply moving and a wonderful testimony to the Great Physician who saves us.

    I love the name that you’ve chosen for the website. I’m greatly intrigued by the “new name” references in Revelation. It is amazing that the King of kings and Lord of lords will share the glory of his new name with those who trust in him; and that this glory is now known only to himself and beyond our means to grasp. “What’s in a name?” There’s so much in this “new name” that we can rejoice and rest in the hope of receiving it!

  11. To Dave, Paul, Otepoti, Jacky, Steve, John and everyone else who’s taken the time to visit and leave comments –

    Thanks so much for all of your posts. This has been a bit daunting, but I’ve been overwhelmed by your kindness. And what a joy and encouragement to share your thoughts and stories. ( Paul – I’ll definitely check out your wife’s site – thank you for the link).

    It’s been a long ole day, hence the group mail, but I so appreciate you taking the time to write. Looking forward to talking more…

  12. love it guys.
    praying God uses it mightily…

    Thanks for your honesty & vulnerability etc

    Dan & Zoe

  13. Hi Emma, I’d read your most recent posts and thought I’d take a peek at the first one too. Love it. It’s so exciting waiting for my new name ! can’t imagine what it will be but I know it will be perfect. About what you say about our enemy – i think he has false names for us and i have certainly had them thrown at me. that’s when i need to fight back with who Jesus says I am in Him :-)

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