God Loves Names

Renee Ann Smith —  July 14, 2014 — 46 Comments

A woman I never knew gave me my name.

At least that’s what my sisters tell me. I was only child #4, but I guess 3 kids were enough to deplete the girl names my mom and dad could agree on. So my mother got my name from a French friend and called me Renee, with an accent I don’t use anymore.

As a child, I always wanted a cool, all-American, popular-girl name like Kim or Julie or Amy. I didn’t appreciate having to spell out my name for adults and then trying to explain where the accent went.

It’s interesting how names go in and out of style. The names that were popular in the 1840s or 1940s—or 1960s when I was born—are not necessarily popular today. And even the popular names vary according to each country’s traditions.

When preparing to welcome a child into the family, moms and dads often agonize over choosing a name. They pick names they love or names they hope their kids will live up to or names that carry a legacy of family or faith.

I don’t think my mom intended to give me a name with a legacy.

Most Sundays, dad stayed home to read the paper, and mom went to church to sing in the choir. They did send us to Sunday school when we were little—since we could walk there. But we never prayed or read the Bible at home. My parents never talked about God or told us we should seek a relationship with Him.

As far as I know, my mom didn’t know what my name meant when she chose it.

So years later, after I became a Christian and looked up the meaning, I found it ironic to discover that Renee is French for Rebirth.

And it tickles my fancy that God watched from heaven as my mother gave me a name that only He truly understood the significance of.

God loves names—
Listing them in His Book of Life,
Calling them out to challenge & change us,
Whispering them in the dark to let us know we’re not alone.

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New Name Good Shepherd John 10“The sheep hear His voice. He calls His own sheep by Name & leads them out.” ~John 10:13~

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And He loves changing names.

Remember how He called timid Gideon, hiding in the wine press Valiant Warrior? And Simon Peter who sank in the water & denied Christ became Peter, the rock?

God gave them those names because He saw something in them that they hadn’t seen themselves—and maybe didn’t even believe was there.

And someday he will give us each a NEW NAME, too.

New Name Revelation 2:14

“I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror. I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with Your New Name, your secret new name.” ~Revelation 2:14~

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I’m confident we’ll love those NEW NAMES, specifically chosen for us long, long ago by the One who knows us better then we know ourselves!

Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you.
~Jeremiah 1:5~

I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

Thanks for the blog visit! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I snapped these iPhone pics at a recent baptism in the creek that borders our church property & tweaked them with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

This week I might be linking up with Miscellany Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Motivation Monday, The Art of Homemaking Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The MM&M Monday Link Up, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop,Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Modest MondaysBook Notes, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Unforced Rhythms, Salt & LightBusy Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Turn It Up Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, The Bloggers’ Digest, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Testimony Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Imperfect Prose,The Bloggers’ Digest, WW Create with Joy, WW Catch My Words, WW Ms Mystery Case, Woman to Woman, WW Books & More, WW Mom’s Own Words, WW Stacy Uncorked, Jenny’s Wordless Wednesday, Mrs. Tee WW, Raising My Boys WW, WW @PD Mama, WW Blogspot, WW 5 Min for Mom, Mama to 5 WW, Wake Up Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday, A Little R&R, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, The Barn Princess, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Whimsy Wednesday, In Him We Live, Words of Life Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, In Him We Live, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Throwback Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Cozy Book Hop, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Little Things Thursday, The Barn Princess, Create It Thursday, Throwback Thursday, Hearts for Home Hop, Christian Connection,Christian Fellowship Friday, Faith-filled Friday, Fantastic Friday, Faith & Fellowship Friday,Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Fellowship Friday, Friday Finds, Fridays Unfolded, Everyday Jesus, On Your Heart, Anything Goes, Paula’s No Rules Weekend Hop, Missional Weekend Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Situation,Heart Reflected, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Beauty Observed, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, and The Sunday Community.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

46 responses to God Loves Names

  1. I love that God names people according to who we will be. I can’t wait to hear my new name! Linking up at Sharing His Beauty.

  2. Happy to be your neighbor at Unforced Rhythms Renee! I’ve always been drawn to the significance of names. My name is Arabic and it means the darkness before midnight. It’s also connected to the English name Elizabeth which means consecrated to God. My mother named me Lisha after she rebelled against my fathers choosing of Miriam. Her cousin gave birth a week before and named her daughter Kecia. She liked it and called me Lisha. She put no thought to its meaning but like you suggest here..God knew and knows the new name he’ll give me.

  3. Enjoying being your almost neighbor at Sharing His Beauty today. I had to chuckle reading your story about your name and how your mother came to choose it. Take a look at the spelling of my first name. I’ll bet you’ve never seen that spelling before. Well, I have my mother to thank for that unique name. My mother was raised in a tee-totaling missionary Baptist Church in Tennessee. She was afraid if the spelling of my name was “Sherry” people might think she had named me after the alcoholic beverage, sherry. No convincing her otherwise so my Daddy told me. Should we start a club of unique parental decisions on naming their babies?

    Seriously, I appreciated your post and our names before God and the names we will be given at our homecoming. So powerful and beautiful! Thank you!

    • Ha, ha—what a great name story! I enjoyed visiting your blog—especially the poignant post about your sister-in-law & the great review of Ann Gabhart’s book. Thanks for sharing your heart & life with us. Blessings!

  4. How neat to have such an awesome meaning to your name. Pamela means all honey and I’ve always wished for a spiritual meaning. It’s in the Lamb’s Book of Life though–in spite of it! ~Pamela

  5. Oh, how I love that the God of this whole big universe knows our names. Not only knows them, but planned them and uses them to call us into the people he planned us to be. Blessings to you, Renee. Thanks for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

  6. This is going to be one of my favorite posts of yours. I love the meaning of names. My parents named me LeAnn after a friend had named their daughter that about 5 years earlier. I am 68 years old so that was not a common name at all. In fact, LeAnn Rimes was one of the first time I saw that name spelled like mine. It has always been spelled different ways through the years. Now there is even a movie with a girl names LeAnn. I do have two granddaughter’s that have it for a middle name.
    I loved your thoughts and I do know God knows us by name. Even the new name has great sacred significance.

    • I love the unique spelling of your name, LeAnn! LeAnn Rimes is lucky to have the same 🙂 So glad you came to share the story of your name here. I’m always happy to hear from you. Blessings!

  7. Hi Renee, I’ve visiting from #TestimonyTuesday. I never considered the importance of names until I moved to South Africa and was given a name by my host families. The first was Keamogetswe, meaning “I am welcomed” in Setswana, and I spent two years being reminded that I was welcome in that family and in that village. The last few months I lived with a host family that spoke a different language, and they called me “Rhandzu”, which means “love” in Xitsonga So I was reminded of how much I was loved. Names have power, and I think we often forget that!

    • Love the stories of your new names! Makes me look forward even more to what God will call me. I enjoyed visiting your blog & shared your Bloom post on Twitter. Blessings, Jen!

  8. You have a beautiful name and its meaning is so wonderful too. I was named after my mother’s middle name Hazel and from the Hebrew name hazā’ēl it means “God Sees.” English says it is from the Hazel Nut tree. I was teased as a child, called witch Hazel, Hazel nut etc. I got over it and like my name.
    Would you believe that my sister-in-law heard on a radio talk show that a couple just named their first child “Hazel Moon xxxxx ” (xxxxx stands for their last name. My sister had to let me know as this was so unusual. I don’t know if the persons know me or know me as a blogger, or just thought the combination was cool. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” At: http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

  9. Rebirth. That’s beautiful. For the record, I think Renee is a lovely name! I really didn’t like mine for some time either as I wished it was more French like!

    • I always enjoy visiting your blog, Jolene, & enjoyed reading how God works in your writing process. Thanks for letting Him guide your pen & for stopping by to visit this week. Blessings!

  10. What an awesome name!! I didn’t know that’s what Renee meant and how good of God to bless you with that name. I love the very personal way that He speaks to us in our very own circumstances so that we know it came just from Him just for us! Thanks for sharing at Testimony Tuesday.

  11. I love the significance of names. Knowing the importance that God places on the names he gives, we chose names with meanings we loved. I wonder what my new name will be… Stopping over from Three Word Wednesday.

  12. There are many thought-provoking posts being shared this week for Three Word Wednesday. I’m enjoying that. This has me reflecting on the significance of names. And, as always, blown away by the great lengths God goes to speak to our hearts. I love having you join us every week for Three Word Wednesday. Blessings. xoxo

  13. I absolutely love the meaning of your name!!! And I wonder what new name we will all be given in heaven:) Popping in from #TellHisStory…Thanks for this reminder of how personal and chosen our names are by God.

  14. I have always loved the name Renee. Maybe because I have an aunt named Renee, but didn’t know what it meant. Indeed, God worked a wonderful thing when He named you! I have always wondered what my name means, but haven’t been able to find a meaning anywhere. I love my name and have grown to be ok with not knowing what it means. My mother found my in a family lineage book a few generations back. Today, the name pops up every once in a while. I think it’s a beautiful name, but, I look forward to one obtaining my secret name and also having my old one explained! 🙂 Beautiful post!

    • Thanks for your kind words about my name. When I just did a quick Google search of your name it said, “Keeper of the keys. Pure.” Love that! I’m so glad you stopped by today, Kaylene. Blessings!

  15. Renee – I so enjoyed this post. Like you, I did not like my name, Joanne. To me it didn’t sound feminine and it certainly was not a popular name. My parents chose it to name me after my Grandfather (Joseph) & my Grandma (Anna). It was not until in my adult years when I discovered it meant, “God is gracious” did I begin to appreciate my name. I wonder if as a society we have not looked at the meaning of names as closely as we should. Grateful to have read this post today. Have a great weekend!

  16. I love that names have such an important part in scripture – We see people being names things specifically for the meaning, names being changed due to different circumstances, and, of course, our new name in heaven! That was enough to convince my hubby and I to think long and hard about the name for our little one. We’re naming him Caleb – which means “whole hearted”

    Thanks for linking up with the Faith and Fellowship blog hop!

    • Love the name Caleb! One of my students, who is a might warrior for God, shares that name. Good choice! Thanks for visiting me & for hosting us each week, Susannah. Blessings!

  17. Wonderful post, Renee! I have always enjoyed my name, although it did (and still does) cause many problems by way of pronouncement and spelling. I was named after a lady I never met… It’s kind of a long story. I can’t wait for God to give me another new name in His Heavenly Kingdom! Thanks for sharing this over at #EverydayJesus 🙂

  18. Lots of new thoughts to think about the amazing ways God sees us. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  19. I love this post…and I can’t help but wonder about my new name…and what it will reveal that God has always known about me!

  20. Nothing thrills me more than knowing God’s intentional design took place long before we came to be. He cares and can be trusted in all things. I so look forward to hearing the ‘new name’ he’s picked out for me. Can you even imagine? Thanks for a thorough and uplifting post, Renee.

  21. My parents names us all after people in the Bible and paid a lot of attention to what the name’s meanings were–it’s been fun to see how those different meanings have been very characteristic of each of us in different stages of life!

    • I love visiting your blog, Rachel & am looking forward to when you’re a famous, eccentric writer & I can say I knew you when! Thanks for sharing your name story. What characteristics of Rachel from the Bible do you see in your personality? Maybe someday you’ll share on your blog. I’m also looking forward to reading about your time in China. Blessings!

  22. This was such a beautiful post to read! Thank you for sharing it on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I was named an all America name 🙁 so I can’t wait to find out my new name too! This article also brings to mind the Proverbs ~

    “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” ~ Proverbs 11:22

    Have a wonderful weekend, JES

  23. Renee, thank you for this! Absolutely loved it! The meaning behind names has always been important to me and we spent a long time trying to figure out special ones for our boys. We ended up with Ethan (“strong” and that is the same meaning as my husband’s name), Luke (“light”), and Jackson (“God has been gracious” since we had him after a miscarriage and I was so sick with him and began having contractions at 25 weeks. God protected him and we made it to 38!). Their middle names are after dear people too. So fun to hear someone else understand why names are so important 🙂 We are foster parents so if we were to adopt, we could change a child’s name. We’ve talked about that a lot since so much identity is wrapped up in that and we would want to make sure we gave them something special and still honor their heritage too. Your post really spoke to me given those circumstances! I’ll probably do a post on that on my site, uncommongrace.net if/when we cross that bridge (most likely since only 40% of kids in our county return home sadly). I’d love to be able to have a name communicate how much God cares for him or her 🙂 Thanks again!

  24. Michele Mancuso October 20, 2014 at 1:35 am

    I really enjoyed reading your blog! We named our son Anthony Michael (Anthony after my husbands brother that tragically passed and Michael because his brothers middle name was Michele and Michael just seemed more fitting)
    I didn’t learn till later it’s meaning and that they were strong biblical names. We conceived our second child. We didn’t know what we were having but definitely wanted another strong biblical name. Sadly we lost the baby at nine weeks. I had to undergo surgery for the removal. During my surgery amazingly I was visited by our child! I saw a toddler dressed in white linen dress to her knees. She was barefooted dancing for me holding a little yellow stuffed animal. The room was very clean and white everywhere. She was called and skipped away into another room where I could see many people. I felt I knew those people like family but couldn’t see or go in there. Then right before waking up a grown women in her mid twenties with a golden radiance approached me. Softly touched my arm and said “Ma, it’s Renee, you can wake up now” when I woke up my nurse was at my feet writing in my chart. I asked her if someone was just beside me she said no. My nurses name was Tina too. When I got home I broke down crying when I read the meaning of renee. “To be born again through baptism or the Holy Spirit” it’s amazing! He gave my angel wings and such a fitting name! Bittersweet gift of a wonderful amazing vision!

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