It's finally happened! My granddaughter, Ella, has finally figured out what she is going to call me. "Fama." I'm overjoyed!
Several months ago Ella started talking and bestowing some of the usual names on other family members. Daddy was "Dada." Mommy was "Mama." Grandpa started out sounding like "Bapa" (which we loved!) but in recent days seems to have slipped into the more traditional "Papa." But Grandma? Nothing.
It wasn't always like that. Last spring I remember going to babysit and walking into the house while she was finishing her dinner. When she spotted me, immediately her arms reached out and she yelled, "Mama!" When I picked her up from her high chair, she wrapped her arms around my neck and put her head on my shoulder. I was in absolute heaven! After that, "Mama" slipped out a few more times, but soon the confusion set in. You could see the slightly confused and embarrassed look on her face when she called me "Mama."
You see, our girl is smart, and it didn't take long for her to realize that there was a problem here. How could she call both her mommy, who she saw everyday, and her grandma, who was in and out, "Mama?" Something had to go. And that something was a name for grandma.
So I have waited, and waited, and this weekend, my patience paid off! Finally, Ella, gave me a name. "Fama." Now our connection is complete!
I was thinking about this whole name thing this week and I realized how special a name is to our identity. I never feel like I know someone if I don't know both their first and last names. For years, my job involved working with about 500 employees, but just their names. I rarely saw what they looked like. So when occasionally I was able to meet the individual and put a name with the face, I felt like I had completed the connection.
Whether we like our names or not, the fact is, they are deeply important to who we are. They give us a framework upon which we hang the rest of our identity.
In Isaiah 43:1, God says, "I have called you by name, and you are mine." The fact that Ella now knows my name makes me happy. But the fact that God knows, and calls me by my name makes me rejoice! So whether He's calling me "Fama," "Laura," or "Daughter," it doesn't matter. Because, anyway you say it, I am His!