My coffee is cold. I sit at the kitchen table with my Bible, overlooking the deck and the barren branch of winter, the boys watching a show in their onesie pajamas. 

It’s winter, and the days are short and I miss the light. But when the sun shines on the snow–it’s like angels are dancing.  

I open Scripture. Jesus is talking to Simon. He’s giving his disciple a new name: Peter. Which means rock.

via Amelia Fletcher photography

My name is Emily. For years it’s been one of the most popular names for baby girls, but it means hard working, and I’ve known this since I was seven, since Mum gave me a piece of paper with my name on it, and its meaning printed in bold.

I stuck that paper to my bedroom wall, and there it was–who I was. Defined by how hard I worked, I never quit–I stayed up all hours doing homework, getting those A-pluses, getting on the honor roll, doing public speaking, winning art and poetry contests, and starving myself because there’s no earthly feat big enough to win a spiritual battle.

Joyless. Those were the dark years, without any light, because I was forgetting only One can truly  name us. The one who knows us before we are conceived, the one whose DNA courses through every human being. The truest name.


People wondered who John the Baptist was–Are you the prophet? they said. Are you Elijah? and all he said was, “I’m one who’s not fit to tie Jesus’ sandals.”

But this is who Jesus says John is: “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John…”

Our identity exists only in relation to our Savior.  

via Amelia Fletcher photography

Who Jesus is determines who we are. And Jesus is a redeemer. He is a Savior, he is perfect and he is love, and this makes us redeemed. It makes us saved and perfect and loved.

I bow my head while the kids watch their show, while the cream skims on my coffee, and I ask Jesus to give me a new name, and it comes right away, as though he’s been waiting all these years:


I don’t like it. I try to pretend he’s given me another, but no, it’s Annabelle, so I get up and go to the laptop, Google Annabelle. And this is what it means:

Beautiful, loving, lovable, graceful. Joy.

Can it get any better? 

Can there be any name more opposite Emily, or “hard working”? 

And maybe this is the name he gives each of his daughters–Annabelle. Lovable. Graceful. Beautiful.

via Amelia Fletcher photography

I ran my life ragged trying to do more, trying to work harder, and all this time Abba was whispering, “Annabelle–beautiful, loving, lovable, graceful, joyful girl–come home!”

What is your name, friend? And who does Jesus say you are? 

Daughters, your names are written on his palms, across the skies, in the book of life. And your Maker? He says you are Enough.

Come home, child. Come home.   

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