Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”
Do you remember the process of naming your child? If you are a parent, maybe you were one of those pouring over websites and books that gave ideas, definitions and meanings to thousands of names. You wanted to find the one that was just right. The perfect name for this treasure that was coming into your life. You wanted it to have meaning, to give that child a legacy. I certainly did.
Or maybe you wanted to give them a name to live up to. Like Faith, Hope or Star. Sometimes we just picked up on the current Hollywood trendy name. Or a family name. You may be of the era that remembers the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue”. Now that’s a name to live up to!
God is that intentional as well. As far back as Genesis, God carefully named His creation and made Adam a part of the process. “Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name”. Gen 2:19 MEV
There is a story behind every name given throughout the Bible. Abram, Father of Height, became Abraham, Father of a Multitude. It was a prophetic pronouncement. Saul the persecutor of Christians became Paul, the Hero of Christians. Cephas a stone became Peter the Rock. And Jesus Son of Man became Jesus the Christ.
I was not born Angela Joy. My original birth name was given to me by my Father. He had lost his sister to a childhood disease, and named me for her. I can’t explain why, but the name never felt like home to me. My daughter complains about her name as well. Sometimes we miss the mark.
I often dreamed of what I would name myself if I could change my name. There were many on my list. Madison was cruising at the top. But the night the Lord told me my name in Heaven cinched it.
“Angela” He said. “That is what I named you when I first conceived of you. My messenger of love.”
When He whispered that to me in the wee hours of a January morning, my spirit leapt, my heart fell in love, with Angela. Joy was an easy extension, for that was truly how I felt. Full of Joy.
So I stepped into this identity, wearing it like a glove for a few weeks. Finally, I knew I wanted to change my public name as well. With both parents gone, I had no reason to hesitate.
A name really makes a difference. I feel the spirit of Angela every time I introduce myself. And now my book, He Knows My Name, will share that story and the rest of the story of how God, who knew my name before I was born, continues to show me who I am.
Our history does not define us. God does. He calls us up each day to a higher place of destiny and purpose. Listen. He is calling your name.
Watch for the completion of my new book on identity this summer!