Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Than Just a Name

Those who know me in person know that "Rebekah" is not the name I go by. If there is some chance that I am introduced as "Rebekah" I will probably shake your hand, smile and say, "Please, call me Bekah." All of my email signatures and social media bear the shortened version of my name.

"Rebekah" is a name I have associated with being in trouble most of my life. My parents only used it when I was being severely reprimanded. I vividly recall flushing with dread every time they called "Rebekah Hope!" into the backyard. I would run down the mental list of mischief I'd been in, wondering which fiasco I'd be answering for this time. This is a habit I carried with me into adult life, growing anxious each time a teacher or supervisor used my given name.

I hated being called "Rebekah" all through middle school and high school. The guys in my classes quickly discovered this and taunted me relentlessly. There were two Rebekahs in my small high school. Since we had many of the same classes, it was decided early on that she would go by "Rebecca" and I was "Bekah". If someone slipped up and used my given name, I would rarely acknowledge them because I assumed they were addressing the other girl.

Last October, when I started this blog, I was wrestling with God. Earlier in the year I'd spent some time allowing myself to be courted by a guy with whom it ended up not working out. But in the midst of that the Lord stirred up dreams in me that I thought were dead. I was angry because I felt like He dangled something in front of me only to snatch it away. In the midst of expressing this to Him one afternoon, He spoke to me.

"You are not the first to get a promise from me only to see it unfulfilled within your timeline. I promised Abram and Sarai a child - and they waited, in faith, for the promise to be fulfilled. While they waited, I changed their names. As I am changing yours. It is no accident that your name is Rebekah Hope. You will no longer associate that name with anger, trouble, and anxiety. In the book of Genesis Rebekah was found as a wife through her service. You will be found serving me. Do not sit idle. Pour yourself into serving the least of these. Rebekah Hope, you have been so named for a reason. Hope in me. Serve me forever. Then it will no longer matter how long it takes to be found."
 I was - and still am - floored each time I read that. Has God really given me a promise and changed my name? I'm learning to quell my anxieties when I hear the name "Rebekah". And I'm learning to believe the promise He gave me even when it seems so unlikely.

I gave my blog this title as an act of faith. This is a daily reminder of how God has spoken over my life and a testament of His faithfulness to me. It's more than just my name.


  1. I actually checked FaceBook before I posted this comment to be sure you had already posted the link ;)

    My story is similar, but in the other direction. I was ashamed of my given name, but the Lord changed that ( and I knew i had to own the name He gave me.

    Also, on a personal note, I always read Rebekah longer in my head than Rebecca, probably because of the H at the end.

  2. Pahaha! I actually found a coding fix, and I *think* the facebook/blogger problem is resolved. I hunted down your email and sent it to you - at least I think so?

    Rebekah with the "H" is the biblical spelling. My parents say the "ah" sound has something to do with the breath of God in a name - Hence "Sar-AH" and "Abra-HA-m". But I wish I could put into text how my high school biology teacher pronounced it - now that was priceless.

  3. ah yes, i forgot I have an email I never use as my facebook account email. I never intended for this to be a serious account, so I forgot about that. Send it through a FB message.

  4. dang that is powerful stuff. i think it's amazing how God totally takes the things we see and turns them upside down sometimes. i love this story of change.

  5. Rebekah,

    I stumbled across your blog while "surfing" a bit this afternoon. Truthfully it was your name that drew me in. Then I came to this older post you wrote.

    Our twin daughters are named Rebecca and Hope, And our Rebecca goes by "Becca" -- we didn't want "Becky"! Becca's identical twin sister "Hope" was born with catastrophic damage and passed from life support to life eternal after two days. There are posts at my blog (linked to my name) from May 2008 that tell more of that story.

    And do I see that your name is "Rebekah Ward"?! Our last name is Ward. If right, that's just ... well... weird... and maybe a God-thing.