This morning Sandi Patty did a program for the faculty and staff at the college where I work. She sang two songs, but spent most of the time telling her story (we'll get more songs at the concert tonight...). She talked about the brokenness of her life as she went through a very public divorce 20 years ago. She shared a story about where healing took place as she sat "broken on the back row" of a church in Anderson, Indiana. (For the complete story, read her very moving book, "Broken on the Back Row.")
As she began to experience God's healing in her life, she was struck by the stories in Scripture in which people who have an experience with God get new names. Jacob became Israel, Abram became Abraham, Simon became Peter, Saul became Paul. She began thinking about her own name, which had accidentally been changed by her record company. Her family name is "Patty," but on one of her earliest records, it was printed as "Patti," with an "i". She didn't bother to change it, and actually used the incorrect spelling for the next 20 years or so.
But as she began a new experience with God, experiencing His healing in her life, she felt it was time to reclaim her own name. That's why for the last few years, her CDs have her real name, "Sandi Patty."
As she shared this story, I got to thinking about my own name. My given name is Gerald, though I go by Jerry. But the truth of my life is that, so often, I have chosen to identify myself with the enemy. I have chosen to be identified with him. I have fallen short of God's glory, and so my name could truly be called "sin." But just as Sandi experienced God's healing and grace, and changed the incorrect spelling of her name - got rid of the "i" - in the same way, I can say that God's healing and grace has changed my name by doing the same - getting rid of the "i." Instead of being identifed with "sin," by God's grace I am known as "son." God's son, His child.
And one day soon He's promised to give me a new name, known only to Him and me, bestowed in His kingdom. Jesus, thank You for changing my name.