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Thursday, October 11, 2007


Names

So, I'm new at this... As I created my blog this morning - and I'm not a morning person- just couldn't sleep and decided-- NOW I'm going to do this! Anyway, as I created my blog it came to the place to name it and I was utterly paralyzed. Naming it seemed to give it finality. Naming it seemed to say- this is who I am and what I'm about. Names are powerful indeed.

Throughout the Gospel of Mark Jesus seems to be trying to keep the disciples from sharing what His name is- Savior, Son of God. Known as the Messianic Secret, Jesus often tells people after healing them not to share this news with anyone (which they usually do not do). He also orders the disciples not to tell anyone about him after asking them, "Who do people say I am? " People think he's John the Baptist or Elijah... and he says to them, "But who do you so I am?" and Peter says, "You are the Messiah." Verse 8:30 then tells us, "And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him." He then goes into foretelling his death and resurrection. There's a mess of theological reasoning for why Mark's Gospel has this Messianic Secret... that I won't go into here (I couldn't even say it all).

But suffice to say- Names are powerful.

My name is Beth. I've always been called Beth.

There is power in my name. Beth is short for Elizabeth and embodies the meaning of Elizabeth -which one of those kiosks in the mall with magnets telling you what names mean - noted that it meant "close to God." An etymology search tells me it means "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance."

My middle name is Ruth comes from my Grandma. A strong, sturdy, stubborn, loving, wise, smiling woman whom I miss but carry with me in my heart and name. Ruth is also from the book of Ruth. Ruth was loyal to her mother-in-law Naomi and said to her, "Where you go, I will go;where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16). Ruth went where she was called to go.

My Dad used to call me Liza Ruth- which I love! And he would sing me a song, "Ohhhh Aliza, Little Liza Ruth." Later in life I came to the realization that there is a song that goes, "Ohhh Aliza, little Liza JANE!" It wasn't my song after all. Yet, it is still my song- me and my Dad's. And still incredibly special to me.

I used to be a camp counselor at an awesome Christian Camp and we would do name games and you needed to pair your name with an adjective... I was given the name "Bubbly Beth" and kept it for name games throughout our summers. I hated that bubbly implied "bubble headed" air headed (b/c I also happen to be blond...) But I was and am for the most part a bubbly person- I'm optimistic (and have, at times been criticized for being so) But I am not bubbly without depth- I'm not optimistic without solid reasons for being so. I believe the Gospel, I know of a greater, deeper, filling, life-giving, joy sustaining hope. And so for that I am Bubbly Beth.

Five years ago I added a new name to myself, Anderson. When I married my husband Kevin. All my life I was sure I would keep my maiden name of S____. I am the youngest of 7. All girls. And my name S is important to me. I love being a S. I love being one of the S girls.
I always wanted to be my like my oldest sister too. She was a creative adventurer- she didn't get married till her early thirties, kept her name, was bold and audacious...and so much more. She had a firm identity and had established herself as a photographer and kept her name.
That had been my plan-- do lots of adventurous stuff and get married after I had established myself and done all I wanted to do. Yet, in 2000 I met my husband in the middle of a street at a music festival in and I fell in love- true love (and I never thought that existed either...) When he proposed seven months later and as we prepared for our wedding, I came to the decision that I wanted to be share his name and be an A. It has as much to do with his family as it did him. I love my A family. From the moment they met me that first Christmas of 2000 they welcomed me in and I fell in love with all of them. I was glad to become an A. And I realized that becoming an A didn't give away my sassy, Southern, soulfoul, and very special S-ness.

This past March I added a new name. Perhaps the most amazing name I've ever been blessed to receive- Mom. Names give identity and this is a new part of who I am. My daughter is 7 months. She is amazing and I feel like becoming a mother has been an entrance onto sacred ground.

I am Called, Licensed, and Commissioned, and God-willing will be Ordained Reverend Anderson. My Call is a long story (and I 've already written more on my first post than I ever imagined) but the short story is that I always knew God and had God in my life. I became deeply aware of God's presence as a teen during some rough times in my life and truly realize the depth of God's Amazing Grace (not to be chessy, but its true). I experienced that God truly never forsakes us (even when we can feel forsaken). I felt held, sustained, loved by God at my lowest point.
I realized that I was indeed made in the image of God and loved.
I was redeemed.
I was reconciled.
The Gospel held me.
God pulled me from what the Psalmist often call "the pit" and claimed for His own.

The call simply began with me deeply wanting all people to know that no matter who they were, where they were, God loves them. From there my call to ministry just kept growing. My college, the US-2 Program, United Methodist Women, and so much more formed me, shaped me, and helped me to hear God in my life so that I knew that I was called to be a pastor.

When K and I were youth pastors together during seminary the Sr. Pastor there said to me, "If there is anything you can see yourself doing other than being a pastor--- do that." While his statement sort of shocked me when I first heard it - there is so much wisdom there--and I am a pastor. This is what I have been called to be--it is part of who I am. And after having answered God's call I can see that call clearly throughout my life- starting as a little girl--- but I didn't fully accept it until I was a US-2 Missionary serving in downtown Detroit.

So- I named my blog-- after hesitating... after getting over my paralyzing feeling about a name. I named it Rev Momma-- its not all of who I am, but at this point in my life it encompasses a lot of me- Mom, Wife, Pastor-- called to each, loving it all!