Down through time, and throughout Scripture, we find phrases like: "and so God called him/her" or "so from then on, he/she became known as." These phrases come into effect surrounding a significant life and identity change. This life/identity change is the effect of some sort of encounter with God or a God-allowed life-encounter and change. Here are some examples:
Abram ("Father Departed") became Abraham ("Father of Nations") Gen. 22:17
Sari ("Princess") became Sarah ("Mother of Nations") Gen. 17:15
Jacob ("Heel"/"Deceitful") became Israel ("To Prevail"/"To Become a Great Number") Gen. 32:28
Simon ("Obedient") became Peter ("Rock") John 1:42
Saul ("Prayed For") went by Paul ("Humble") Acts 13:9
In the biblical stories above, each person encountered God is a powerful way and, in each situation, God changed the person's name because the new name held new meaning that fell in line with their kingdom-purpose. Abraham and Sarah became the grandparents of Israel and all three were in the lineage of Jesus, our Redeemer. Peter became a founding father for the church just as Jesus said He would when He changed his name. Saul would, for the remainder of Scripture, be known as Paul, whose humility and character would be a pattern for those of us, even now.
As I thought about this and about my own name, God began to speak to me. My name, Marissa, comes from the same word meaning "bitter." As I look back on my life and my experiences, I have held bitterness in my heart in one way or another: unforgiveness, anger, fear, shame, condemnation. I entered an abusive relationship and found myself bitter with my abuser, bitter with the Church and bitter with God. That bitterness was a form of bondage from which God has gloriously freed me.
My bitterness is gone and, as I seek a new life and a fresh start, I feel a disassociation from that Marissa-bitter(ness) because that just isn't who I am anymore. If you have followed my story for any length of time, you will have noticed that "snowflake special" tends to seep from every corner. It is because God gave me that message of hope after my entire world and faith was shook after leaving my abuser. God revealed to me through Isaiah 43:1-3 that I was known by Him and loved by Him because I was His special child. This has been a stake that has continued to take me through difficult times. It is my rock and foundation for truth: Jesus Christ loved me enough to die on a cross in my place!
I am a "Precious Charm of God!" My life is now lived in the knowledge that I am precious and special in God's sight. A charm is something that "attracts and delights." I know now that my purpose in life is to attract others to God and be of delight to Him. This meaning sums up my significant encounter with God...and it comes with a name: Adaya.
As I put my old self behind me and take up a new identity in my relationship with God, I put aside my old name-meaning of bitterness and take up a new name of being precious and delightful to the heart of God, living so as to attract those I meet to this God who has changed me!
You will see this new name, Adaya, on my information and, as time goes by, I hope to have it legally changed. I will try to make this transition as easy as possible by leaving "Marissa" in parentheses for a while.
Please, celebrate with me!