I went to a funeral today. One of the things about JW funerals is that half of Indianapolis shows up, including people I knew as a child in foster care. It was incredible to see them after all these years, yet it brings back memories best kept at a distance.

Those families don’t know half of what went on at my mother’s house and all of why I was in their care. What they do know is my birth name. For an hour and a half I was called by my birth name which didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. That tells me there’s a greater distance between me and that name, than years prior.

When people I used to know came up to me and talked to me, using that old name, it was surreal. I didn’t offer much information, just that I changed my  name legally. One old friend looked me in the eye, smiled and said with such acceptance “Faith!” It was nice to have her call me that and not challenge it.

I know when I first changed my name, friends in my life didn’t do so well with it. I wasn’t prepared for that. Some took it personally. Some used the old name hyphenated with my new name. They took it so personally. They acted like it was a divorce, like I betrayed them, took something away from them. There were a few people who flat out refused to call me by my new name. It wasn’t easy to get everyone on the same page. It’s not as if I asked one day for them to never call me by my old name again. They knew a change was coming and they had sufficient time to make the change, seven years to be exact.

People always want to know why. It’s a natural question. I found having a ready answer helps ease the awkward moment. My answer is non-informative as to my why I changed first, middle and last. I tell them I need to hear something encouraging every day. I need something positive attached to me. That’s the answer I give. I do not give details about my abuse history. I don’t tell them I was named after a nightmare of a grandmother, the grand-abuser who couldn’t find it her heart to love her daughter, my mother. I don’t bring up having no contact with my family. They get the watered down version because it’s not necessary to offer more.

I’m exhausted emotionally and physically. It is hard to let go of good people. Hard to leave them in the ground and walk away. It’s also hard to have people from my past pop up. Even though it was hard to see them, I’m happy I did. I brought home their tears of grief and their heart felt smiles.

The Biblical definition of faith.
Once I understood the Biblical definition of faith, it became clear I’d found my name. I chose Magdalene as a middle name because Mary Magdalene rocks! I chose Austin because I couldn’t think of anything else and I was sitting in Texas, so Austin it is. I happen to have been in Dallas at the time but Faith Dallas sounds terrible. 🙂

The dictionary definition and Biblical definition of faith are vastly different. What is the Biblical definition of Faith? Faith is the assurance of hope. Something that is well founded, demonstrative, proven with evidence, real. It is not blind nor is it fanciful. Bible based promises are as real as oxygen and gravity. I can’t see gravity or oxygen but there is proof beyond the shadow of a doubt that they exist. Bible promises are where I place my hope, where I get my convictions and from where I take my name.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen.  New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT)

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen.   New American Standard Bible (NASB)


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