Here, I am very rarely called by my given name, Bryn. On the street with strangers, people often call out “Good morning, white lady.” At our national office with Campus pour Christ I am called Mrs. Craig or Mama Craig. Our boss calls me “the beautiful wife of Craig.” At the boys’ school all the teachers and kids know me as “Keenan’s Mom.” Literally! I am greeted with smiles, handshakes, and a “Hello, Keenan’s Mom!” every day when I drop the boys off. To some of our students I am Tantie (or Auntie), which is a sign of respect for someone a bit older than you. Even though we have tried to correct her, one of the students I meet with calls me Brain—she even spells it that way in text messages, so I know I am not just hearing it wrong with the accent.
At first, to be honest, this took a little getting used to. Even though I went through a phase when I was little where I insisted on being called Hannah, I have come to really love my name over the years. When we first moved to Africa, I would cringe a little on the inside when I was continuously linked to another, not being known by my own name. So much of our identity is wrapped up in a name. It comes to define us. There are not many things sweeter than the sound of a loved one calling your name. A child learning to say the word “Mama” and calling his or her mother that on purpose is enough to make that mom’s heart melt all over the place. On the flip side, there are few things as embarrassing as getting someone’s name wrong when you very well should know who they are, or more crushing than having an aged parent or grandparent forget your name completely.
Yet, as I reflect on who I am, I come to realize time and again that the most crucial identity I have is that I am the daughter of the King. Linked once again to Another, but that very linking literally gives me life. He tenderly calls me by name and knows me completely. I think of John 10:3, where it says …and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. That fact blows me away every time I sit and really ponder what that means. The Creator of the whole wide world, the universe, and everything seen and unseen KNOWS my name and leads me gently as a good shepherd does his sheep. It is not just that He is a gifted guy who has a knack for remembering things. This is out of love and adoration for His children. He cannot help but call me by name and tenderly lead me.
In my “logical” mind, that does not even make sense. I am so small. There are days that I feel even smaller, when the people around me day in and day out do not even call me by my name. Nevertheless, there He is. Guiding His girl. Saying my name and whispering to my heart the extent of His love. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness that the Lord knows my name and calls me His. I want my life to be one that is a clear reflection of that very love, just as much as the teachers at the boys’ school know that I am Keenan’s mom.
I long for the much-undeserved title of “daughter of the King” to be my very obvious identity. I pray that my ears would always be in tune with His voice and that I would respond to His intimate calling every moment of my life. So, as others call me by names of association here, I can just smile to myself with the knowledge that I am blessed beyond understanding to be linked to the King of Kings, a dear husband, and ridiculously great kids!
© 2013 Thrive.
Questions to Consider: How do you fight the temptation to place your identity in your roles instead of who you are in Christ? How do you keep your ears in tune to His calling of your name?