I always think it is kind of neat how relatives get their own titles. It’s sort of like our six year old daughter KaraLynn. Most often, when she writes her name on a paper, she writes “BooBear”. It all started when she was little. Somehow she got referred to as our “Karaboo”. From there, it got shortened to “Boo.” Then she added the Bear herself, and walaa…BooBear. We all call her Boo all the time. I remember when she was three, my mom said to me, “Are you ever going to teach her her real name?” It’s likely she’ll be “Boo” for life! I wonder when she gets older if all her nieces and nephews will call her Auntie Boo?
Sometimes the title isn’t a name though, sometimes it’s a description. My grandfather had a sister. Her name was actually Helen. But everyone called her Leola. I called her my “mean aunt.” I can write this because she’s been long gone from this world. All my friends new that I couldn’t play after school because of my “mean aunt.” I was reminded of her today when one of my kids said, “Mom, why don’t you like milk?” Well…my “mean aunt” always made me drink the milk from my cereal bowl and it was warm and sweet and I never liked it. To this day, when I think of drinking milk, I think of that icky milk in the pink plastic kid cup and my “mean aunt.” My “mean aunt” lived with us for a short while. She had returned from the mission field in India and stayed for a bit. While she was there, she would watch us after school and in the summer while my mom worked. She insisted we take a nap every day, long after we were nap age. I was sure it was just an excuse to give her time to put her feet up and snore away an hour every day, while we sat there with bundled up energy.
So often when someone gets a title or name, it sticks. Not all nicknames are as ugly as the one I gave my great aunt! When my husband and I exchange notes, I have a nickname as well. It touches my heart when my husband refers to me in a way only he does. It’s sweet and tender and reminds me how much he loves me.
As I pondered nicknames, I thought of the New Testament disciples and followers of Christ. We refer to them sometimes with nicknames too. John, the Beloved. Peter, the Rock. James and John, Sons of Thunder….oh come on, you know you’re wondering what that means! Maybe they were really big guys, or maybe their dad was! There was John, the Baptist, and doubting Thomas, James the less and many more. He added or changed names for numerous men of the New Testament including my favorite, Paul, who was previously called Saul.
Mark 3:16-18 “Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite”
It makes me wonder, what would Jesus name be for me? Perhaps He’d call me Kristan, momma to ten. That’s how most people know me it seems. Or maybe he’d call me Kristan, the coffee drinker. What do I wish he’d call me? I wish He could call me Kristan the Gentle, but because I’m not, I’m sure that wouldn’t be it. It’s a trait I try so hard to cultivate, but struggle because of my natural bend to make things happen. I wish He could call me Kristan, the Humble. That’d take some work too. I’d be happy for Kristan, full of faith! Thinking about what Jesus would nickname me really makes my relationship more real. Like my husband, knowing that Jesus calls me something personal would make me feel special and loved. I’d like to think that He wouldn’t have to name me something that refers to what I already am, or have been, but instead what I will grow into. What would Jesus nickname you? And is it different from what you’d like to be named? For myself, it surely is. And it gives me cause to pursue the qualities of faith and wisdom and patience and gentleness that I wish I displayed more often. Heaven forbid someone may ever call me the equivalent to “the mean aunt!”

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