Sunday, March 1, 2009

Out From Under the Covers

I thought it was so neat when the main character, Jody, in the novel, The Yada Yada Prayer Group, would give a birthday card to the woman in her prayer group celebrating her special day. Jodi always wrote out the meaning of the woman’s name in the card as a special way of celebrating her.

I thought about the significance of names. In my family, my mother’s name, Sophie, means wisdom. She named my sister, Judy which means praise. I named my daughter Amy, which means beloved and my daughter, Carrie means strength. This name stuff reminded me of studies I attended years ago of Women in the Bible. It always amazed me how my teacher would feature a character and explain the meaning of the person’s name. I’ll never forget studying Naomi and how she named her sons, Mahlon which means sickly and Chillon which means puny. What kind of parent would name their kids like that?

When I learned the meaning of my name, I wanted to hide under the covers for the rest of my life. My mother named me Mary, a Hebrew name which means bitterness. Yikes! That’s worse than puny and sickly, Naomi’s boys. Oh, but then I remembered Jesus and how he walked the earth changing people’s names and calling them forth to what they could be. Was there hope for me? I asked him if He would change my name. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Remember when He changed Peter’s name from Simon to Cephas?

About two weeks later, I got an email that seemed to drop forth from heaven. In my email inbox was the day’s Girlfriends in God devotional written by Mary Southerland. She wrote a beautiful piece about the meaning of Psalm 40:2-3:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Mary shared times she’d been in the pit in her life and how God rescued her from depression. When somebody asked her recently if she is totally set free, she responded this way: “I have asked God to take this struggle out of my life but he said no. Why? I don’t pretend to know all the reasons, but I do know that my name, Mary, means “bitter, but when broken, sweet”. She went on to say how her battle keeps her broken, close to God depending on him. So that’s what the authentic meaning is of my Hebrew name! As soon as I finished her devotional, I wrote Mary and she wrote me back! Praise the Lord!
I like my name now! I’ve been resurrected from under the covers. Jesus called me forth. Now I understand that in my brokenness, I’m dependent on Him. It is good that He keeps me humble and useful for His kingdom.

Do you know the meaning of your name? I hope you feel special today.
Don’t forget to visit here be inspired today by some wonderful writers!


  1. I'm so glad that you found this devotional to read. It is funny how things just come when we need it the most.
    Thank-you for sharing this story today.
    God Bless,

  2. Mary Southerland's busband, Dan, was my pastor for many years. I remember when Mary went through that dark time. She's a sweetie, isn't she?

  3. God is always on time, he sent that when you needed it the most, what an Awesome God we serve.!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I can remember when I didn't especially care for the name Mary but I feel differently about it now. The first thing that comes to my mind is the fact that Jesus' mother's name was Mary. It can't get much better than that.
    When babies are dedicated at our church, the person officiating always gives the meaning of their first name and their middle name. I think that is pretty neat.
    Have a great day Mary.

  5. what a wonderful post... though I must admit that my mind wandered off and began to wonder... "what does my name mean"... By the way, I love your name, Mary, regardless of it's meaning.

    My name... it means "from the south"...
    My christened name is French and means "God will increase"... hummm, now thats more to ponder.

    but mostly, I loved in your post the way God answered you via email. Now that was something! ;)
    blessings. Dixie

  6. You are special regardless of your given name. You are a child of God! Yes, you are special--very special! Thanks for posting these good words.

  7. Thanks for sharing as I have always had trouble with my name. My mothers name is Mary and she named me Karyl (Carol) and people are always pronouncing it Karl-- well how many female Karls do you know -- this hurts my feelings and seems I am always having to correct the spelling as well as how it is pronounced -- Your devotion meant a lot! And I am a blonde blue eyed person incase you might wonder! Blessings to you-- so glad to know others have name troubles-- it is your identity!

  8. Your name is special for the simple fact that it was Jesus' mother's name. You are the beloved of the Lord and He has a new name for you! In the meantime, you are a blessing to others and that is more important than any name. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week in Him.


  9. I am new here! What a great blog :)

  10. What a great post today!

    I, too really looked at significance in a name when naming my children. My Mother and daughter's name are Mary. I have always loved this gentle name!

    We named our son Jacob when my husband's brother died. His name means "supplanter - one who takes the place of" We never imagined the significance that Jacob's name would play out in his life.
    As the years have gone by we have noticed certain struggles that he is going through - I am drawn back to the Biblical story of Jacob's struggle with the angel at the Ford of the Jabbok. I hope and pray that his walk with the Lord will deepen and that as Jacob in the Bible struggled, that my son will come back to the ONE who puts our struggles to rest.

    Thank you for sharing the importance of a name!
    Blessings on your day today,

  11. I'm a little late with my replies. Glad I didn't miss yours.

    I think my name means pure. I hope I have lived up to it most of the time!