a new name

There is something about a name that enchants me. In studying genealogy, as I record each name for the first time into our family tree, I often wonder about his or her life. For some, all I have is a name and the dates in which they lived, or solely, a name. One of my favorite treasures is a letter from a woman named Matilda Burris written to her husband, John William Burris, who was away from home serving as a doctor in the Civil War. When I go over the tiny pieces of genealogical information that I have, I occasionally think of Matilda and imagine her life. Her name alone sounds so colorful. As I look at the generational chart, I sometimes read each name out loud and give some sort of thanks for those who went before me and established our line as Christians, as Americans and as a family. Their names alone stand as a testament.

Several people have asked how I adopted the name “annie” for the blog. I don’t capitalize it because it is not my given name. I do know I am an Annie at heart, though. My real name is Annette, a derivative of Ann, meaning “Grace”. If any recurring theme in my life has meaning to me, it is Grace. Though my life has had ups and downs, it has often been and once, magnificently, redeemed by Grace. My mother’s name was Annie, and her mother’s name was Annie, and, if it had not been for my sister having the first girl in the family and naming her daughter Leigh Anne, my daughter, Lauren, would have followed the tradition. Our guys in the family carry a family name of Andrew, going back to grandparents as well. There’s something about a name that connects and defines, that brings joy and memories, and that reminds me of a rich heritage of family values and lives that changed and shaped my own.

A name is important to God. God often renamed people that He gave new purposes in the Bible to give them a new beginning. New identities reflect new life. He changed Jacob’s name meaning “deceiver” to Israel, which means “who prevails with God.” (Gen. 32:28) Saul of Tarsus which means “demanded or death” changed his name to Paul, meaning “little” (according to Hitchcock’s Bible Names) in the New Testament, when He had his conversion experience on the road to Damascus. After Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, he was a new man with a changed heart. His new identity defined his new life in Christ. We, too, have a white stone with a new name that God knows that is ours alone.

A name is also sacred. Jesus has a new name in heaven that man can never defile. We who are in Christ will have that Name engraved on us in Eternity. Can you imagine that Day when you hear your new name spoken over you, as you are redeemed as Christ’s own, and you bow down low in the ultimate presence and fullness of His glory?


My grandmother:
Annie Lee Bounds (17 December 1890 – 3 June 1948)
My mother as a young girl:
Annie Mae Churchwell (23 April 1929 – 8 December 1994)

My kindergarten class picture:

And so I love being named “annie” on this blog–Annie, a new name meaning “grace,” for a woman blessed with the abundance of Grace of God.