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What’s In a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This particular quote in the book Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare has always intrigued me. As someone who loves words, I have a slight obsession with names. When a person introduces themselves, their name is the first thing to grab my attention. As weird as it sounds, I love to research names that stand out or are unique. I look up questions such as: Where did the name originate? What does it mean? Where is it most popular? I then begin to associate specifics about that person to their moniker, and it becomes a game of intrigue.

Out of Place

Growing up, I always hated my name. Madeleine didn’t fit the cute stereotype for girls. Instead of something that sounded popular or modern, Madeleine seemed rather mundane and old-fashioned. People would always mispronounce it, call me Madison, or associate it with a great-grandmother long ago. While my siblings would find personalized keychains and magnets on vacations, I would be left with a basic souvenir. I felt invisible and out of place and would always ripen with embarrassment when teachers called me Madeleine instead of Maddie.

A Gift

On my 15th birthday, I was given a particular gift from my mother that I still treasure. It was a wooden picture frame that spelled Madeleine, and engraved in the wood was the origin of my name and its meaning. Madeleine is of French and Greek origin and means “Woman of Magdala” or “High Tower.” When I did further research, I discovered that Madeleine is a variant of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene came from a small town called Magdala and is one of my favorite women in the Bible. After receiving such a gift, I came to appreciate my name and even fell in love with its pronunciation.

As the years passed, I’ve come to appreciate and love my moniker because of its history. It’s no longer just an “old” name; it has meaning behind it and resonates with me. Although a title doesn’t define a person, it becomes a part of who we are. Names reveal a part of our ancestral history, tradition, or culture; each is unique and holds significant meaning.

“The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate” (Isaiah 62:2).

Just as our earthly parents named us, so will our Heavenly Father give us a new name when He returns. This idea is both intriguing and exciting; how amazing will it be to receive a new name from our Creator? If you haven’t already, I encourage you to research your name and find its origin. Reveal the history behind it, and appreciate the beauty in your discovery.

Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.

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About Madeleine Lowe

Madeleine Lowe

writes from Indiana.

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