Back in my teaching days one of the first assignments I gave my middle school students in English class was a "Name" poem. Students needed to write about their first and middle names, what the names meant, how they got their names, did they have nicknames, and how they felt about their name. Surprisingly, many students didn't have any idea about the meaning of their name (which was the point--have a conversation with your parents about your "history"). I love the meaning of names.....I think it can tell so much about a person.
I was named Kirsten--which means "little follower of the Lord." When it came to naming my own children, Greg and I wanted the names to be biblical....but they had to have meaning and purpose. My firstborn, Noah...means "comfort and rest"-- and after enduring previous miscarriages, when I held him in my arms for the first time, he brought me so much comfort, and he still does. My baby, my second born-- is Micah which means "like unto the Lord". And oh this little guy is so like the Lord. He is pure and sweet and gracious and he lives up to his name.
I love nicknames--they mean that you have a special, more intimate bond--a pet name, a name that defines a relationship. I have had many nicknames over the years....here are just a few:
At UCSB (go Gauchos), my college friends called me KB (stands for Kirsten Baby--and that's a college story for another post). But KB has stuck, and many of my teaching friends also call me KB.... it is actually odd to hear my real name from these people.
Before I became Kirsten Loy, I was Kirsten Johnson... my students back in the day called me "Miss J" and when I met Greg and all his friends, they called me KJ. A lot of those people also called me "Kirsty".
My Young Life kids who are now adults call me Kiri--and now that many of them have babies, I am Lola Kiri (lola means grandma in Filipino)--goodness, am I old enough to be a grandma???
I have gone by Klove, Kloy, Queenie (self imposed) and my latest nickname, dubbed my my sweet and precious Oasis teens is KIKI.
Whatever the nickname, when I am called by one of them I feel special, I feel loved, I feel set apart.
God has names for me: He calls me child, precious daughter, beloved.
And God has names: "Moses said to God, 'Suppose I go to the Israelites and.....they ask me, 'What is his name?' What then shall I tell them?' And God said to Moses, 'I am who I am.'" Exodus 3: 13-14.
There are so many names we call God--Abba father, Mighty Warrior, blessed lamb, shepherd, Redeemer, Savior...."And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6.
Cancer has a name--it is "malicious one"--my definition, but it has no nickname, no pet name from me. It is not special and not intimate. But I have to face it, and define it, and battle with it.
And yet, whatever the situation, whatever the battle-- I have Father God, the GREAT I AM, the Name above all Names....who created me, and named me.
May all who read this today be blessed and know that I am standing strong in faith in the name of the Father.