Friday, June 18, 2010
What's In A Name?
Do you like your name?
Is it a family name, or did your parents just like the sound of it?
Names are important. Almost twenty years ago, when I first started looking up baby names for the little sprout in my womb, I wanted to pick a good one.
I knew how important it was. For my entire childhood, I dreaded the first week of school. Seems like every year the teacher would butcher my last name. How hard could it be to pronounce the word Skaggs? Yet they always managed.
Yes, Scabs. Or Scrags or Snags. Scalawags, once, when a doofus gym teacher felt like being funny.
Kids would giggle and my face would turn red.
On my first day of high school, a girl laughed so hard at my name that she fell out of her chair.
I grew to dislike my family name, which filled me with all kinds of shame and guilt.
How could I not like my own last name? The name attached to the people I loved most?
I talked to Mom about the teasing and she comforted me, but how could she really understand? She and Daddy had grown up in a town where the name Skaggs was more common than Smith or Jones.
Eventually I grew less self conscious, but occasionally, when I wasn't expecting it, the response to my name still stung. Like the time a favorite English teacher signed my yearbook, "To Becky, the beautiful young woman whose name is so wrong."
My name wasn't wrong. It was just fine.
I grew up, and eventually I became a Ramsey. And four years later, grew a little Ramsey who needed a name. Someone gave me a baby name book that gave the meanings of each name, and guess which name I looked up first.
Surely, after all I'd gone through, Rebecca must mean princess, or maybe light or beauty or kindness.
I found the page.
REBECCA, REBEKAH: one who ensnares.
I was Ensnarer Skaggs Ramsey.
I didn't want to believe it, but the meaning kind of made sense. After all, Rebekah was the mom in Genesis who dressed up her favorite son Jacob in goat skin, trying to trick her hubby Isaac into giving Jacob his birthright, instead of his hairy twin Esau.
Rebekah ensnared him. She was a trickster. Besides that, what kind of mother favors one son over another? I had to share her name?
But then a few weeks ago, I found something that stunned me.
Somehow, all these years, I'd missed the scripture that explains that while Rebekah was pregnant, God said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."
So when Esau was born first and Jacob second, she remembered God's words. Esau will serve Jacob. Jacob must have the birthright. It's part of God's plan.
Rebekah was tricky for a holy reason: to ensure that God's message was followed!
Twenty years after my first search in the baby book for Rebekah, I wanted to know more. Google to the rescue!
"The name denotes merely a tying up of cattle, both for their own protection, the establishment of their home and to keep them from wandering off. Within this name lies the notion that individuals are placed together by something higher or smarter than they.
The name Rebekah literally means Tied Up but more specific (and more friendly) is Secured."
Rebekah was the one securing God's promise. This changed everything. How I love my name.
How do you feel about your name? Do you know what it means? Do share!
Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!