This cold and rainy morning, I sit writing at the same table where the boy and I read over a dozen letters from dear friends and family the morning of our engagement. There was nothing but pure joy and expectation in that moment, nothing but glee and giddy hearts ready for what’s next.
Fast forward a few months later, and the two of us are sitting on my bed talking. Cue fear: I realize here that I in no, no, no way want to change my last name. or my identity, for that matter. LAUREN NATION—it may sound silly, but I love the name I have been given and worn for the past 23 years. It’s my name; it’s who I am. And changing that in an instant is well, scary. Because along with the silly name change comes an identity change—you are no longer simply you. You are a part of a whole, which is a truly beautiful thing, but realistically, it’s also overwhelming.
This hesitance to change identity is not simply a reaction in humanity—we battle to “stay who we are”, daily even, in our “marriage” to Christ. We are called to a new name in this, and often we do not choose to embrace it. It is quite apparent, however, that name changes are a big deal in the Word of the Lord. God changes the name of Abram to “Abraham”. It is insulting when Daniel and his friends move to Babylon and have their names changed—it is an attempt to change who they are, unknown to the Babylonians that their roots lie deeper. Once Jesus enters the scene, He again and again changes the names of those closest to him. As Saul reaches his transformation on the road to Demascus, his change in identity is symbolically shown as he becomes “Paul”. Again and again we see that name changes are powerful and they are representations of becoming changed in Christ.
It is no wonder, then, that in the greatest symbol we have of Christ’s love for us, marriage, a name change is required. It, too, is symbolic. It shows that you are no longer the same person, as hard as that may be, because you have joined hand in hand with another. We fight this in our relationship with the Lord, as we want to be an individual, and too often with our earthly relationships as well.
I will forever love the name I have carried. But I am learning the power of throwing that aside and being excited and expectant to change not only my name, but who I am as well. Losing the individuality valued so dearly can be a challenging moment, but that’s exactly what it should be. Nothing worth losing is thrown away carelessly, and who I am is worth a lot. Yet, it’s not worth as much as the opportunity that lies before me—to change my name and identity and become something new alongside this boy I love. And that something new is well worth the identity crisis.