Yesterday at church, between the first and second services someone came up, and hugged me, saying said, "Hi, Kathy!"
This wasn't a new person, it was someone I met about three years ago.
Being called the wrong name positively delighted me. I suppose it was refreshing for me as a pastor's wife to be lost in the mix all that God is doing in our church.
Sometimes it can be tempting to want church to be like that old 1980s sitcom Cheers- a place where everybody knows our name.
But really, church needs to be more than that. Church should be the place where it matters less if someone remembers my name, and instead is a place where I am loved even if no one has ever even met me.
Motherhood has taught me a lot about the insignificance of someone knowing my name. My children didn't learn my name when they first learned to love me.
I was "Mama" long before I was known to bear the name "Carrie".
The gospel has taught me about names, too. Jesus loved me long before I ever even had a name, before the name "Carrie" ever even existed.
Ephesians 1:4 tells us this:
"Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes."We were loved before the world was even formed.
When that truth becomes the foundation of our lives, we don't need people to remember our names to prove our worth to us.
True freedom involves coming to church for the sake of worshipping the only Name that really matters, with people we love, carrying the knowledge that we all matter to Him.
His name is higher, and greater, and mightier than every other.
So go ahead, call me Kathy, or Kelly, or Cate, or any other name, and then lift your hands and dance in worship, because Jesus knows our names and we belong to Him.
Life really doesn't get any better than that, no matter what people call you.