What’s in a name? Giving children a family identity

“We’re the Snow family, mama.” E said to me the other day. I smiled the same way I do whenever I write “Snow” on the left hand corner of an envelope.

As a child that’s something I couldn’t do. I remember in elementary school an assignment that was supposed to be really simple reducing me to frustration and tears. The instructions were ‘draw a picture of your family and hang it on this wall for parent’s night.’. I sat there with my colored pencils trying to come up with a way to represent my very complicated family. It was easy for the other kids- mom, dad, themselves, some siblings. For me, I had a mom and dad but they were divorced. Each of them were remarried and both their spouses had kids and I also had a couple half siblings.

I asked my teacher what I should do but she couldn’t really understand the emotion this assignment brought out. I thought that if I drew me and my brother with my moms family that it would leave out my dad and if I drew us with my dad’s family the opposite would happen. I didn’t want to draw every one together because honestly I couldn’t imagine my mom and dad in the same room. In the end, I drew my mom and step dad and his and their children on one side of the page, my dad and step mom and her children on the other side and I drew my brother and I alone in the center of the page. I didn’t know where we belonged. I didn’t have a family identity.

I used to have the same issue with things like holiday cards. (I was a very creative kid and loved mailing stuff!) Who’s name do I put in the left hand corner to represent our family when we had 3 last names under one roof? I sent our cards with no return name on them, simply an address, there was no name that I could put that was a family identity.

My husband and I just celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary. I’ve been told that it was suprising that my brother and I both wanted to get married at a young age after having grown up the children of divorced parents. I can’t speak for him but for me I view my marriage as a chance to create something that I never had. Through marriage and having children I have created an identity and a name. A single unit that I belong to. The name of this blog is a testament to how much I love having a family name as an identity.

In life we have the choice to continue unhealthy cycles which unfortunately is what many people do. Or, we have the choice to run hard the other way and learn from where we came from and choose to do something different, to create something better.

Ask God for help and for wisdom. He is strong enough to “…give unto them beauty for ashes…” (Isaiah 61:3)

And remember, if you are a follower of Jesus, you have an identity and a family in Him which trumps any other identity and is more secure than our earthly families. Ultimately there awaits us a healing and a redemption which includes a new name. With this post, I’m not trying to say marriage and babies is the only way to find healing from the past or to create an identity. Marriage is temporary in the light of eternity where believers are the bride of Christ and belong to Him.

“…for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren..” Heb. 2:11

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:6

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Jn 1:12

“…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give hime a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Rev. 2:17

 

 

 

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