Did We Give the Kid the Wrong Name?

 Image courtesy of kangshutters at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of kangshutters at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve often thought that I am most like Martha (as in Lazaras’ task anxious, task oriented sister), not Mary. When is the last time I sat, much less sat at the feet of someone? Sat and listened? Um, what is that? What does it look like?  I have no idea! Trouble is, my honest to goodness name is “Mary”. I am not Martha by the simple fact that “Martha” is not my name. “But I seam like Martha. I act like her. I don’t naturally act like Mary. “Mary” doesn’t fit as my name”, or so my thoughts go.

When we named our son, a large part of me wanted his middle name, Joseph, to be his first name. I accidentally called him Joseph many times in the first months after he was born.  Furthermore, an alarming number of friends, who don’t know my preference, occasionally call Joshua by his middle name! Every time this happens, I think, “We’ve made a big mistake! His natural name is Joseph! Besides, I just plain prefer the name Joseph.” And then I start to think about making it a big discussion with my husband to do a legal change of his name, and how much that would probably cost, and all the trouble of explaining it to people, and then I doubt it would be the right thing to do, and then I feel a little depressed and I give up. Until the next time someone calls him Joseph.

But as we were rough housing/snuggling recently, I realized that my heart whispers “Joshua”. That is his rightful name. It just is. And, really, deep down, I’d rather him be named after the big kahuna, because I’d rather him emulate the big kahuna, than anyone else. (Jesus is the big kahuna. ‘Joshua’ is thought to be a close derivation of the Hebrew.) Similarly, as logical and real as it seems for me to be Martha, I’d rather emulate Mary, as Jesus encourages us to do in Luke 10:41-42.

It reminds me of

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love, 1992)

Every time I read the above, I realize just how true this is for me. The resemblance is uncanny. I tend to go around town falling over backwards to keep people from having any conflict with me. It sometimes gets so bad, that I often assume that anything I ask of them will be a big inconvenience. And so I don’t ask for any favors, and I don’t even ask them any questions. And so we just sit there trying to keep my kids alive and agreeing on everything.

Names are a gift we give our children. Literally. “Rebecca” was the only Christmas present our first received. It was only 2 months before she was born, we needed to just pick a name already, and as soon as Erik ticked it off his list, I knew that it was the perfect name for that little being who I had been calling “Trouble”. (I’ll write some time about the nearly 7 months of bed rest during that pregnancy.) I think it was the Holy Spirit inspiring us to give her that specific name.

In a similar way, my name inspires me. I have to assume that my parents knew what they were doing when they gave it to me, and the grace that this points to is something I can lean on when my task-oriented nature rears it’s ugly head. God our Father has given my this name. And as Joshua grows, we will teach him more and more about living out his name. Choosing a Holy Spirit inspired name is really a very simple, yet deeply meaningful way to bring the Lord’s light to the world. May we all grow into our names more and more.


Miss Mary Clare


The Unfinished Nursery

I used to stand in awe at mamas who posted beautiful pictures of there soon to be baby’s beautiful nurseries on social media.  Oh, I thought that would be me.  I had these beautiful visions of nesting in my mind when I was newly pregnant with my son.  I would get everything organized.  I would have matching this and that, and it would be so coordinated and beautiful.  However… Continue reading

What the Enemy Tells Us

I like to match up my most super serious blog posts with absolutely ridiculous memes from Saturday Night Live

I did a terrible job today.  I am never going to get anything done.  I’m sure my husband is disappointed in me.  This house is embarrassing.  My friend/sister/acquaintance is so much better at this than I am.  I am ruining my children.  I will never be good at this.  I’m never going to be happy as a mom. Continue reading

Oh! Brother!

phil, pat, peter, mary (33)

“ There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.”– Astrid Alauda

I LOVE my brothers. I do. Truly. They are among my best friends. I am the only girl among four boys, and I am second in line. We lost the brother just younger than me when I was only three. It’s my earliest memory as a child, and it certainly impacts our sibling dynamic. We may not have all had a chance to meet him, but we all know him, each in our own way. On top of delighting in my brothers, simply because they are my brothers, I treasure my relationship with each one – even the one who is no longer here with us…or should I say – especially the one who is no longer with us.

I have been spending a lot of my thought life dwelling on my love for my brothers lately. Continue reading

May It Never Be Said of Me: “She Has It All together”

2009 or 2010 photo

I used to want to “have it all together”. That is: wherever I am to be prepared, well fed, well dressed, well informed, and witty to boot. Further, I wanted to appear to others to “have it all together”. I truly cared what others thought of me, and I wanted it to be based on external appearances. It’s a standard I often hear touted for moms, whether they work outside or inside the home. Without realizing it at the time (from about age 17 into my thirties), I strove like a Pharisee to clean the outside of the cup while assuming the inside would follow suit. Or maybe I thought that if I exhibited “having it all together”, I would gain accolades, and then be happier. Continue reading

running on packed snow

"Snow on Second Street" by User:AnnaKucsma - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Run, run, run, slip.  Run, skid.  Run, run, run to the side to avoid the runner who just fell in front of me ..

It was Thanksgiving morning.  I was running in the middle of a pack of 5K runners, on several inches of snow that had been trampled & packed down by the 10K runners a few hours before.  The air was crisp and cold, the landscapes around us were beautiful, but every step was a discouragement.  I could feel the power in my stride dissipate every time my foot struck the hard, slick surface. Continue reading