by: Trisha Forsythe
Names are special and unique. Parents spend a lot of time choosing the right name for their children. Our names have meaning and are special not only to us, but our parents. Our names also give us an identity.
Recently, I had a “passive aggressive” run in with a parent about the misspelling of her child’s name. It was an honest mistake–a typo and an easy to fix typo, but this mom laid into me in an email and then posted it all over Facebook. My name was even spelled wrong in the post. I had to laugh at the misspelling of my name because even though it was meant to be an insult or to make me mad, I stopped getting mad about the misspelling of my name a long time ago. Why? Trisha with an “sh” is not the common spelling and Forsythe is a hard Scoth-Irish name. Both of my names are always going to be misspelled (and mispronounced). I know it is going to happen, but I do understand her argument and frustration. I still get irritated with the people who have known me my whole life spell my name wrong. Have you ever felt the same way? Have you ever reacted the same way—whether it was your name or your child’s name? It is normal.
Yet, I got to wondering—does that change the uniqueness of who we are and our character. I think not. We are shaped by our belief in ourselves, our life experiences, and more importantly what Jesus has said we are. I like the idea that we are princesses (and we don’t have to fight over the order of things). I like that God “knows the plans [he has] for you” and that the “plans [are] for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you.” He knows us and chose us. These promises don’t change just because our names are misspelled or mispronounced.
What I want my name to carry with it is that I loved people the way God instructed, and Jesus taught us. I want to be remembered as someone who was strong enough and brave enough to shout out “Let me tell you what God has done for me” or “Let me show you how Jesus provided for me.” I want to leave a legacy that points to Him (a mission that I am struggling to do every day). I want it to be said of me that I loved God, shared the gospel, and “she loved people.” Proverbs 22:1a says “A good name is to be chosen rather than riches.” That is what I want; how about you? Are we going to let it go when our names are misspelled and that doesn’t take away from the fact that we are loved, and we have a mission to share the gospel–that a misspelled name doesn’t change how God sees us? I hope not. I hope that when we are ridiculed or “blasted” on social media, we remember who we are in God’s sight and that we respond with love so that our “good name” points to God and His love.