When You Feel Nameless…Remember

We’ve hit the one month mark until Baby #3 is due. We don’t have a name. We have two names. If you think I’m one of those women who thinks it’s precious to go 9 months without knowing the gender of her child, you can stop right there. I’d love to know if this babe is a boy or girl…I have plenty of cutesy, craft projects awaiting this gender reveal. But Baby had a different idea. So we wait. And while we wait, I keep pondering if we’ve picked the right name.

***

I’ve lived with a name so common much of my childhood it rested in the top 5 and 10 most popular girl names. From kindergarten through 12th grade, I was Jessica O. I’ve always thought a name should (or will) set you apart, but I was just one of many…more common than a plain Jane.

I remember asking my mom why she picked Jessica for me, hoping there was some great story or deep meaning. Her reply was “I thought it was pretty.” (And, of course, at the time my parents knew of no other Jessica’s.) I was disappointed.

A few years later I searched my name’s meaning and was met with “the grace of God”
or “the gift of God.” I felt vindicated. My name had some meaning, it was tied to grace. Since then I’ve heard it means “wealth” and the first English record of a Jessica was in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

I have searched for meaning by my name. Some connection that would make me special, unique. In high school, I’d sign my name Jesika and in private I adopted the Hebrew from, Iscah.

But, I discovered something new. After talking with a friend about baby names I decided to look up my name again.

“He sees.”

The Hebrew Iscah translates as “He sees.” How did I miss this?

Me. The recovering perfectionist, people pleaser. The one looking {hunting} for affirmation and praise. The sojourner who longs to be known.

“He sees.”

Immediately a verse popped into my head, “You are the God who sees me.” I remember it from a Bible lesson I taught years ago, though I couldn’t recall the reference. I typed in a Google search. Genesis 16 surfaces. It’s a woman on the run,

“And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Genesis 16:8 

The angel of the Lord tells her to return to Sarai, but he blesses her and leaves her with a prophecy. In turn she names the Lord,

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

He sees.

He beholds.

{ra’ah}

 ***

You are the God who sees me.

The woman named forsaken is seen by the Almighty. My mind races with stories of the lowly God has seen.

The girl-woman exile made queen. The little tree made to light her people’s way.

The barren who pleaded as though drunk. The one who saw God’s favor in her sacrifice.

The small town girl pregnant out of wedlock. She who birthed my Savior, treasured a sea of wonders in her heart and tasted the bitterness of the cup.

The first, though unwanted, wife wearied by favoritism…she by whom the promise was carried.

The foreigner so faithful a companion she was grafted into an eternal, royal lineage.

Then there’s the matriarch of Israel, Sarai turned Sarah, the bane of Hagar’s woes. A promise guaranteed though the natural world laughed.

According to Jewish tradition, Sarai is Iscah.

Iscah, He sees.

He has seen all of these woes, He has met every need. He holds the ledger giving account of his marvelous deeds.

And yet…so often I feel forsaken, forgotten, and forlorn. Just one of many, no distinction.

But I am seen by the Lord.

Me. The one who struggles with how all can be lavishly loved and prized as precious.

{the recesses of my darkness doubt and whisper, “how am I unique if everyone is unique?”}

I really am Gomer, the unfaithful and confused betrothed.

He sees me and I miss it.

I fail and I flounder and I float in my own misgivings. My long faithfulness is wrought with holes. I cannot see the end from the beginning (though I long to).

I hold the promise in my hand, I carry it in my heart, but—like the matriarch—I grasp for its fulfillment.

In all this,

He sees.

He sees.

He sees.

 

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3 thoughts on “When You Feel Nameless…Remember

  1. This has hit me in my very core.
    I, too, changed spellings of my name…trying to make myself stand out. The only one who needs to see me, already does.

    From one Jessica to another :-)

    • I saw one time that our name was in the top 20 of girls names for nearly 20 years…that doesn’t make it easy. But this is probably one of the hardest (and continual) life lessons for me.

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