July 24, 2011

A Journey To Joy: A New Name (part 1)


A myriad of ideas percolate in my mind as I sit to write. God is dealing with me in a new and different way. What once was so crystal clear has become a hazy view. So, I step out not knowing where I am going, unable to see past the first step. Yet I invite you to journey with me as I sense God’s call to share the dialogue that has taken place between Him and I. Where each step will take us I am not completely sure but I know that He cares for the heartache that many of His children carry. So join with me on a journey to joy.

Chapter 1

A New Name

October, 1970. The immigration papers had arrived at our little home in the mining village located in Yorkshire, England. Being the precocious twelve year old that I was, I quickly grabbed my papers and then stopped in disbelief at the name across the front – Myra. My name was wrong. “Just an error,” Dad said, completely disregarding my distress.

“My name is wrong,” was the echo of my troubled soul. It was like a vital piece of my self-image had just been shattered as “Myra” was not a name I had ever heard. No effort was made to re-change the document and I knew a beating was mine if I asked again.

Summer, 1977. A bride of barely one year travelled back to England proudly with her husband to visit two older sisters who had not been allowed to come with us to Canada in 1970. A family ripped apart for 7 years and now I had the resources to go back and try to pick up shorn and shattered pieces.

A whispered question, “Do you know about your name, Myra?” In 7 years I had not dared to ask, even when my marriage certificate was embossed with this strange name. The truth came tumbling out from the memories my sisters had held secret until now:

October 1957. A child was born to a mother who was too ill to care and a father who was full of spite. A couple of months before my birth a huge commotion occurred as the front door of our home crashed open. My sisters ran from the back yard to the front and watched in horror as the man next door began to drag his daughter down our stairs by her hair. She had been found in  bed with my father. Her name was Myra. Upon my birth my father gave this name to me. My mother refused to hear “that name” in the house and took to calling me, “Maria”.

A legacy of spite and a name, I thought, full of hatred.

A Journey to Joy

1972 God found me and gave me a new name. He wrote my new name on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16) In God, my name is, “Beloved”. My identity is found in Him no matter what the legacy of my earthly name. Yet the annoyance of all the legal documents being printed as “Myra”, when I am never called that, began to take its toll and I thought about having my name legally changed. A dear friend wisely suggested that I find out the meaning of both names before I change them.

With tears pouring down my face I discovered that Myra means “fragrant perfume” and Maria means “bitter”. The hand of God touched deep into my heart that day. He knew. (He knows the end from before the beginning). He knew the name I would be called and He prepared ahead to let me know that He will change the bitter parts of my life into a fragrant perfume.

My name IS Myra but you can still call me Maria as God has turned my bitterness into joy.

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