What's My Name?

I could not imagine how important one's name is. Until now.

We have been working on my visa so I can stay for a longer period of time here in Russia. My kids are young and they need care. It has been difficult with them not having a mom for three months or so. It has been more difficult for my husband having to both work and take care of them, and not having a wife himself. And knowing all these is even a lot more difficult on me, when I know that I am supposed to be doing my role as a wife and mother to my family.

However, bureaucracy is doing it's crazy thing. People want to know why I am carrying my husband's name. Well, I married him, right? But, you mean, you just took his name and made it your own? Well, he gave permission for me to use it because he married me, right? But we need you to explain all of that change on paper. Okay...

I grew up having name issues, but nothing as important as this that it's affecting my life in some major way. For me, I have the weirdest name imaginable. But I have gotten used to it overtime. I used to introduce myself this way:

Me: Hi! My name is Zernah.
Other person: Sorry. Your name is what?
Me: My name is Zernah.
Other person: Ah. Hello Jerna. ( I hate it when people mispronounce my name. Don't you?)
Me: My name is Zernah. Z-z-z-ernah (deliberately buzzing the Z around).
Other person: Serna. (Sounds better, but still... The other person usually looks pretty embarrassed by this time for not getting my name right. So maybe it's okay?)
Me: No, it's Z as in zebra.
Other person: Ah! (Eyes brightening up as if they got my name right. And they speak with such enthusiasm...) Your name is Zebra!!!

I had to live with that most of the time. I didn't use that name while I was growing up, so embarrassed to have to correct people all the time. Then I went to Korea.

In Korea, they don't have the buzzing bee sound. So any words that starts with Z has to be spoken as J. Like, zoo is joo,  zebra is jebra. Since I disliked being called by my Korean friends "Jerna", I got myself a Korean name. I go by the name Jina. So to my Korean friends, I am Jina.

Then, I came here in Russia. And from Jina my name is now Zurna. My name is ZURNA!!! And when I say it, my name sounds more like I'm a super heroine from the Amazons, ready to kick anybody's ass. Well, okay, just save the world. Or maybe, just my small portion of world. Well, I can't really save... 'cause, well, I'm no super heroine from the Amazon. Just somebody with a name like ZURNA!!!

It's only now that I have come to understand how one's name is very important. The Bible said, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." It's far more weighteir in value to give as inheritance to one's children than loads of money. If you're not so sure, just try to find out what happened to those people who had won millions in the lottery in the past. See if they are any better.

Besides that, we cannot just give our names off to someone else. If that happens, something must have happened to that person for him to give his name away. Just as something happened to my husband to give me his name. I may be off the mark here but I think there's only something as strong and powerful that could do that. It's what we call love. My husband is in love with me. And that's why I am taking his name with me wherever I go. He made a covenant with me and I with him.

But hey, I cannot just write it down on a legal paper as proof of my change of name. That would be absurd. I might have to go to a legal office to get a different explanation on paper (of my husband giving me his name and me taking it upon getting married, and that there's a Civil Code in the Philippines that allows me to change my name as I choose). But, of course, the love part is omitted as I know it won't sit too well on a legal document. 

There's someone else who has given out His name to me. He can't help but love me. Well, there is really no reason for Him to do so. Only that He is love and to love is who He is.  He has made a vow, "I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever" (Isaiah 56:5). And it is through this covenant that we are called by the Righteous God's name. He has said, "I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1). God's covenant with us on His Word is proof enough and by accepting it, we can take His name anywhere and everywhere.

There might be confusion with my name right now, but there won't be confusion with the name that God has given us. He has formed, made and created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), and it is a great honor (with nothing on our part) to be called by His name.

There's a risk though. But it's all on God's part. He risks giving us His good name just so we can have a present and a future. And if we value that Name, we will do our part to honor it wherever we may be. That's what the third commandment is about. "You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain" (Exodus 20:7). And being a Christian means that we are carrying Christ, our Savior's name with us.

When we understand how much it cost to have us carry His name, then we will be delighted to proclaim it anywhere we go, just as the Lover of our Soul is proud to carry our names with Him. He has written us on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).

Knowing that God knows my name is good enough for me. Even if others don't. Even if others mispronounce it. Even if others are confused with it.

Well, now, it doesn't even seem so bad to be mistakenly called... zebra. Maybe.


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