It’s true …that overworked phrase.  But it works close to home for me.

I wasn’t very old when I started questioning the wisdom of my parents, who supposedly named me after 2 grandmothers.  Grace, on my father’s side and Mary on my mother’s side.

Mary Grace.  Ai-Yi-Yi!  My parents always called me Mary Grace and I suppose it was fine while I was bouncing around the house as a little tyke,  enjoying my relatives’  lavish bounties at holidays and Sundays after church and even warm evenings at Aunt Fanny’s bakery where we sat out on her porch and ate “fry cakes” with my older cousins who had names like Jean  and Lee and Ginny.  Even my cousin Mary Ann’s name was very tolerable and acceptable.

But when I finally went to school for the first time….Mary Grace for a chubby little girl with frizzy hair…Mary Grace seemed almost intolerable.  My friends were Carol and Judy and Barbara and Mary Sue [which was cute] .  I wanted to have a name like that.  Cute;  chic;  non-ethnic;  non-parochial; non..chubby-little-frizzy-haired girl.

So when I went to high school I was determined …”no more Mary Grace”.  I renamed myself

Mary PERIOD.  No other appendage but Mary.  I insisted,  corrected,  reminded,  signed school work, MARY! MARY!  MARY! My mom was puzzled at this because they had lovingly chosen the name for me that they thought most lovely and well,  gracious.  But I was a wild woman about my name by the time I was a freshman in High School…insisting I was MARY!    OK!    Mary it was all through college.  Mary was very appropriate for a nice little Catholic girl at an all-girls’ Catholic college, right?  I was ok with that for a season, anyway.

Then through the first years of marriage, Mary stuck and I was “stuck” with it, I lamented……until I intimated to a friend where we were stationed in the military,  that I did NOT like the name MARY, either.  “Well then”,  she said sympathizing with me , “why don’t you go by your initials, MG.  LIGHT BULB!  BRILLIANT!  So then I was a wild woman about my name, again insisting that everyone call me MG, which confused my then husband who had known me most of our lives at school,  in our small hometown…and had called me MARY.  And now he had to call me MG and my then in-laws tried to accommodate me, also.

Now I was happy, despite the ads and circulars that came in the mail addressed to MR. MG HENRY and with other unmentionable literature.

And then …and then…the unimaginable happened.  After a heartbreaking, stormy situation in my life which sent me solo “in and of the world” big time…..Jesus Christ came gently and resolutely and graciously into my life.  There was no doubt that when I turned from the altar where I had confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior that I was SAVED, BLOOD BOUGHT, TRANSFORMED. I knew that I knew…no just mumbling of the words, no lip service,  no just pleasing my mother who had accepted the Lord already, no second thoughts. I was Christ’s and He was mine. Straight Away!  Oh glory divine. Oh Grace divine  Oh, MG/Mary, full of Grace, the LORD is with thee….MARY GRACE!!!!!!

How did my parents know that from the before the beginning of time I was destined as indicated by my name to be that one…that would receive the GRACE of God to become a son of God.  I guess they didn’t really KNOW but Jesus Christ had it all planned out.

Writing in my journal this morning, He showed me…the bountiful graciousness that He has bestowed on me, MG, to be Mary (full of )Grace.  “Do you get it?”  He quipped to me.  Oh, yes, Lord!  Thank You that when You were on that cross Your love abounded to me and in due time….I have become Mary Grace. “Good, He said.  Now, write your story!”   Amen