February 14, 2015
"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."
I recently changed my name. It has been very interesting. Although I have been married for quite some time, I made a decision at the beginning of this year to finally change my name. I'm not sure why I didn't change it immediately, but I think I was just not prepared to take on that responsibility and commitment. I mean, I love my husband. I married him. Changing my name to match his last name wouldn't make us any more married. So I held on to my maiden name a little longer than I probably should have.
Also, I was not sure I was ready to let go of my old name. It has been such an important part of me for my entire life. It helps define who I am. So I held on. The thing is, I am no longer single. That was my single name, and I am not longer single Patricia, but I am married Patricia. Although I look the same, and have the same personality, things have changed. Therefore, I needed to update my name to match this new identity.
I was amazed at how this new identity made me feel like a different person. Whenever I hear my old name, it seems odd to me. I am reminded that I am no longer that person. I am someone else, with a new identity.
God also changed a few names in the Bible. I thought about this and wondered, What is the significance of a name change? When God changed Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah and Jacob to Israel, it was attached to a blessing and a promise.
God changed Abraham's name because He promised to make him a father of nations. In Hebrew, Abraham means father of many. God changed Sarah's name for the same reason. He promised her a son and to make her the mother of many. He also promised her that kings would come from her. The definition of Sarah is noblewoman, princess. When I realized the significance of name change has two key parts.
1) When God changed names, He usually did so with a promise of a blessing attached to it.
2) When God changes a name, it changes our identity and prepares us for a new role God is about to bring us into.
Abraham was to become the father of nations. God told him that through him, all nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). That's a pretty significant role.
Name change in marriage signifies that you are with that person. I imagine to have your name changed by God must be a significant way of showing you are His. Not only does the name change mean that you are His, you are also a part of His family.