Not long ago, I was challenged to do a deep dive in scripture. We were looking at the names we’re given and how they affect our lives. We looked at Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, and Jacob/Israel, all of whom lived as their old names proclaimed until God called them up to a new way of life with their new names. One of the challenges was to look at our own experience with names — our given name or the names given through rash words and kind or unkind moments.
I like knowing personal history — I wrote three novels about it, you know — so I set out to discover what Jacob/Israel name change I have had and how that has affected how I live. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I was astounded!
When I was born, my mother had every intention to name me Priscilla Dianne. She just had to wait for the nurse to come through with the paperwork for the birth certificate. I was on my way to being called Prissy through my life. Actually Priscilla Dianne in its origins means Ancient Divine. Not bad.
But God had other plans. He had another name for me and He set it up for that nurse with the paperwork to need the information right at a time when Mom wasn’t able to give it. So, my father, who loved my mother to distraction, named me after her and added a middle name. I am Roberta Faye. To be perfectly honest, I never liked the name Roberta. Don’t ask me why. Now I not only accept it, I may start using it in everything I do!
See, Roberta, in its origins of Old German means, bright and shining with fame. The meaning of the Faye is less clear, but may be derived from the Latin word fides, meaning faith. So, Roberta Faye could be said to declare me as a Bright Famous Woman of Faith. I’ll take that.
The problem is, I haven’t known or thought like that throughout my life. I felt anything but bright and shining with fame. I felt unwanted, barely tolerated, unloved, and illegitimate – meaning an encroacher on the family.
On this side of healing, I see what happened. Bear with me.
When I was born, God skipped Mom’s naming of me to have me named (declared) bright and shining with fame and faith. He had a plan for me to speak to people and help them move from death to life, from trauma to freedom, and the enemy of our souls did not like that. He didn’t like that at all, and he set to work to try to make sure that Roberta Faye never fulfilled the calling of her name.
First came the parents that chose other than her, who didn’t believe her and instead betrayed her. Then came the bully who repeatedly named her as uglier than sin, stating that no one would ever want her. There was the molester who stole innocence and set her on a spiral of wrong thinking about love. A rapist, the abusive husband, the bosses, the leaders, all of whom repeated what she had been told: she was unwanted, unworthy, and useless.
All sent against me from a very early age to stop me from being that bright and shining with fame and faith woman. I am in tears as I realize how amazing the work God had for me is that the enemy worked so hard to destroy me. Just like Joseph, though, I can say that all that was sent to destroy me God turned into a message, a passion, a destiny. The enemy of our souls meant it for evil, but God… Gloriously, amazingly, BUT GOD!
Just like God chose my name and set it up for me to not be Ancient Divine, He knew all that would come against me. And in His goodness, He is turning all those horrid experiences into a message of truth and hope for others. It is because I have felt those feelings of abandonment, betrayal, fear, dismay, broken heart, and crushed soul that I can speak to others.
Abram, Sarai, and Jacob all had names that defined them that weren’t that great, and God renamed them with names that called them into His purpose. I’m different in that my name spoke of my purpose, and I’ve faced all sorts of opposition to my living that purpose out. Now God is calling me up to that purpose, and calling me out into living it.
He may be doing the same for you. What’s in a name? YOU and YOUR PURPOSE! I’d love to help you figure that out. Hit me up for a coffee break, and we’ll get you started.