Saturday, 14 April 2012


It's been a source of annoyance for me from a very young age that my name means female sheep.

What sort of a name is that?

Especially when my sisters' names are incredibly cool. Sarah Anne, meaning princess of grace, and Catherine Louise, meaning warrior for purity (well, give or take a bit of tweaking for readability).

And my name means ewe. Or, if added to my middle name, means royal female sheep. Not exactly something you want to share unless you're ready to see people's lips twitch, their eyes light with silent laughter.

Well-meaning people have tried to tell me otherwise, of course.

"It means beautiful, Rach."

I wish you were right. I wish I could just grab that meaning for my name and stick it on with sellotape. (Or PVA. Or those really cool bright blue prittsticks that turn from blue to invisible when they dry. Or - sorry, I digress. Down, Craft Me. Down.)

But it really doesn't. Rahel, from the hebrew, is literally 'ewe'. If you're referring to the spoilt woman in the Old Testament who stole from her dad and argued with her sister constantly, then I'd rather have something else, thanks. Something different. Something that isn't shared by thousands of women in the UK, let alone the planet.

She wasn't different enough. I used to skip over her story when I was younger because it was such a blah romance. Looking back, I think I may have been prejudiced just because she was beautiful... and then I realise that I never had that problem with Esther (who was apparently gorgeous). Rachel never prevented mass genocide at the risk of her own life. Rachel was never different.

My heroes of the Old Testament have never really numbered Rachel in their ranks.

Joshua, who taught me that you don't have to know what you're doing to be used powerfully by God.
Ruth, who taught me that faith is the decision to trust God every day, and not a one time thing.
Samuel (a cool bean all round), who taught me that even those face to face with God's glory are still fallible.
Elijah (powerful man of God), who taught me to pray big prayers and expect big answers.
And lastly Hannah, who taught me that the cost of honouring a promise can be incredibly high. I am always stunned and humbled by her decision to stick resolutely to the promise she had made, despite the pain it must have brought her.

So when I turned to Rachel, I couldn't really see anything special. And then I started looking.

I saw a woman who was as flawed as she was beautiful.
I saw passion.
I saw a woman deeply desired and sought after... and won at a high price.

And I realised that we were far more alike than I'd thought.

I am a passionate, flawed human being.
Just as Jacob paid a price that others thought ludicrous to win Rachel, so God did for me! He paid a price that is extortionate, lavish and utterly over the top. He delighted in winning me. He offered everything for the chance that I might be won.

I don't deserve any of it. But as I'm writing the end of this (surprisingly deep) post, I'm realising that I was named on purpose. Because I was saved on purpose.

And I sign off without regretting my name.

Much love and laughter,

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