She was white-haired, plump, and THE BOSS. She was my first grade teacher.
Mrs. Boatwright was calling out the role, and then she called a slightly familiar name: Tonya Morrison.
I didn’t respond.
She said it again, looking over her glasses around the room. “Tonya Morrison?”
Oh. I raised my hand. “My name is Suzie.”
No one had ever called me Tonya. Nada. Zilch.
From that day forward I was Tonya. Mrs. Boatwright wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, “Your middle name isn’t even Suzie. It’s Suzanne. You’re Tonya,” she said.
Tonya it was.
It took nearly 9 more years (high school) before I was able to revert back to Suzie.
What’s in a name? A lot.
It’s who we are. It’s how we identify ourselves.
I recently sat with a beautiful woman. She shared lots of names to describe herself. None of them lined up with the person sitting in front of me. Nor the person that she actually was. They were all negative, carried over from words spoken over her life as a child.
I started sharing names found in scripture. Names that described the way God sees her: beloved; Mine; created in My Image; beautiful; loved.
“I want you to remove these other names from your lips,” I said.
What’s in a name? Everything.
Life. Transformation. Healing. Hope. Joy.