Thirty five years ago on Valentine's Day, I met my family for the first time. My mother, the one who grew me up, and my Father, the one who was there, came to meet me at my foster home. My foster parents had many children living with them. They waited until the children came home from school to say goodbye to me before they gave me away. I was loved.
I have had seasons of wanting to know more. Wanting to know where I have come from. The story. The reasons, perhaps? I've wondered if the reasons would really matter. I mean, when it comes right down to it, I think maybe it doesn't really matter. The past can be like that sometimes. At least in my experience.
Recently I read a story of a woman whose name has shaped her life. It's meaning has given her meaning. And I was thinking about how we name our children so carefully. And thinking too, that I wonder if God has His own names for us. Secret names that no one knows but Him and us. We have forgotten them now, as if it were a dream perhaps. But when we see Him in heaven maybe He will call us by our real names and it will be like we suddenly remember who we really are. I like to think that.
Anyway, I got to thinking that I wonder what the real meaning of my name is. So I looked it up. My name, the one my birth mother gave me was Trisha Marie. And my name, the one my mom gave me, is Rebecca Jean.
Marie means many things. "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child"
Rebecca means "a snare"
and Jean means "God is gracious"
When I learned of this it really mattered to me. The name my birth mother gave me, "of noble birth". "rebelliousness and wished for child". I don't know the story of why I was given up for adoption....but I do know this. God had a plan for me. I'm so grateful to the woman who carried me. I'm so glad she gave me life.
Rebecca means "snare" and I have to honestly admit that it has been a snare to me. Being adopted is wonderful. Or at least it has been for me. My parents are amazing. They have loved me deep, and let me tell you, that has not always been easy. Despite this, truthfully, a baby can not be separated from the mother who carried her without knowing. I believe I knew when I left her. My mom, the one who grew me up, used to tell me that when I was a baby I used to always sleep with my hands clenched tightly into fists. And she would always love me up and hold me and rock me to try to settle me down. And I was not a cuddly baby. I just wanted to be set down. Little baby fists clenched to the world. Yes, it's been a snare. A wonderful, life saving, loving experience, but still I've been tripped up by it.
And Jean. "God is gracious". Yes. He is. I know little else. I had a dream once, shortly after J and I were married, where my grandmother and my mother were in our old house with me. And I was crying at them and asking them why life had to be this way. With all of the trouble and heartache that comes. Why is life so messy I cried? And they both said, these things have happened so that you would be strong. And I woke up just sobbing. My loving husband was so startled by my crying that he actually sat straight up in bed and hit me. For real. Punched me on the arm. Apparently he thought he was being assaulted. We still laugh about that.
These are my thoughts this Valentines Day. Love. Grace. No matter where you've come from. So that you can be strong.