What’s in A Name – A Devotional

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What’s in a Name?

By Ellie Gustafson

Of the people I’ve known, one of my favorite names is Signhild Hannah Victoria Gustafson. Hyphenated and the ‘N’ repositioned, Sig-nhild morphs to “Sing-hild.” And yes, the name does sing.  Signhild was an eccentric—one of my husband’s aunts—a maiden lady whose fiancé was killed in World War I. The Gustafsons were of strong, Swedish stock—educated and expected to BE someone. Aunt Sing taught languages at Classical High School in Springfield, MA—fluent in five languages and conversant in three others. She traveled to Sweden multiple times—by ship. An interesting lady, though my mother-in-law got quite testy when Sing came for a visit. She was a talker and rambled from one thought to another with nary a breath in between. I enjoyed her, and when she died, I inherited her banded ring with its four diamonds.

My children all went to Wheaton College in Illinois, a long drive from Massachusetts. On one trip with a car full of multiple students, we broke down near Buffalo. The only repair place could not do the job that night; morning would have to suffice. Where to stay? With no spare cash, we opted to knock on the parsonage door of a nearby church. “Please, sir, could we bed down in your church?” He sized us up, and on hearing the name Gustafson, said he’d had a language teacher named Gustafson, back in Springfield, Massachusetts. Aunt Sing got us free space in the church, that night!

I have gone by assorted names: Eleanor Kathleen Emmans, Eeekie (EKE), El, and finally, Ellie Gustafson. These names express different but much-valued aspects of my life. They speak of who I was, who I am, but not who I will be. That will depend on an entirely different venue.

Revelation 2 talks about this: “Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: Everyone who is victorious shall eat of the hidden manna, the secret nourishment from heaven; and I will give to each a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one else knows except the one receiving it.” I love stones and have a few white ones that I cherish, but I can’t wait to see the one Jesus will choose—with MY NAME written on it. It will express the concept He implanted when He first knit me together. That name will be even grander than Signhild Hannah Victoria Gustafson and more comfortable than Eeekie, for sure. I want it to declare my love of and passion for praising and worshiping my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,   that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,   and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)


Discover more about Eleanor Gustafson and her sixth novel, An Unpresentable Glory today!