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




  1. Name identity seemed to have lots of significance in the Word of God! Maybe you were like Jacob wrestling with God until he became Israel. Saul became Paul! One might wonder why? If we were to have a contest of name change from Bible studies we might find it would stretch quite wide. As far as my own name, I would think, Sari, to Sara….Princess of course!

    The thought that comes to mind is Revelation 2:17 “… I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”

    Looks like we might all undergo a name change.

  2. I agree, Sara. Names are important. Look at all the names of Jesus…..describing and revealing Who He is. You spoke of that yesterday, in service. What does that name mean? We gave some answers but we will yet have the opportunity to discover even more of the revelatory wonder of that NAME above all Names. In the meantime, I am now content to remain Mary(full of )Grace. Amen and amen

      1. To be full of grace sure is a great “metamorphosis” for anyone. Your Mother sure knew even though it took you a few years to find out. A great truth to walk into.

      2. Very interesting question. The answer is absolutely. Every new School year as I am taking roll for the first few weeks until all the children are established on my records…I have the computer print out list with the BIRTH CERTIFICATE NAMES on my roll. By the first grade some of the students are asking me to call them by their nick name, or Americanized name or their middle name because they do not like or maybe want to be recognized by their birth certificate name.
        We have very many international students and many BUT NOT ALL prefer to have their names Americanized [as I mentioned above] and choose names like TV characters or movie stars. It is very interesting.
        The funny thing is when some ask me to call them by their middle name they do not recognize it when I call on them so I have to revert to their birth name. Then they realize it and we all laugh.

    1. MG’s quote: “I agree, Sara. Names are important.” Genesis 2: 18-20 says: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’ So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man CHOSE A NAME for each one. He gave NAMES to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals.”…

      And isn’t there a scripture that says God named all the stars? If so, can someone tell me where it is?

  3. Very insightful comments to think about…our names. The name change you mentioned. Sara,…I wonder if it will be dependent on how we live out our lives on the earth now for the Lord. I would sure want a name that the Lord recognizes so He says, welcome, I know you…not ‘I never knew you.’
    Some of us, with names of people in the Bible, may feel we have plenty to try to live up to even now in our lives.

    1. Debi, a stone could be a jewel, gem set in ring, etc. and name could be carved or initials….a pledge of friendship and authority by wearing and showing divine favor. I’m sure there are other ideas of this meaning.

      1. Thinking on jewels and stones…I read in Rev 21: 19 “The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones”…maybe names of God’s precious children and or names of those Redeemed by the Lamb Jesus will be written on these.

  4. Hey, love the name of Jesus. I love the song, “10,000 reasons I worship Your Holy Name”…Been singing it this morning to honor The Name!!!!!

  5. Hey, and wonder what is in a Grandmother or father’s name that would afford us a generation of blessings or be unfavored in the sight of God. 2nd of the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20 gives us an eye popping shock if we were to read and dare to believe….

  6. Sara, I was especially taken with Ex 20 :7 which reads in the Amp Bible; “You shall

    not use or REPEAT the name of the Lord your God in vain…that is lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely … for the Lord will NOT hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
    One of my earlier Bible teachers said the the expressions “gosh, golly, gee, lordy, were all take offs that really refer to the Name of God without saying it outright. And now I hear even some of my little students saying “Oh my God!! And I suppose OMG is similar in expression, as we have discussed, recently.

    1. MG, I think it is what you are meaning in your heart when you say it. When I write OMG, I am writing ‘o my gosh’ meaning an expressing of surprise. Now, I understand many write it for o my god….not sure what they mean….god being God or god being a chair. It’s time like these that we have to determine do we really mean God, I want to misuse Your name…

  7. Regarding Sara’s question above: “Hey, and wonder what is in a Grandmother or father’s name that would afford us a generation of blessings or be unfavored in the sight of God.”…My thoughts are that perhaps there is a meaning in that name that represents a righteous character trait to be lived up to. I am thinking of this scripture “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5) Maybe there was that faith characteristic in those person’s names as well as in them. If Timothy did live up to their faith he would continue to receive that generational blessing..if he did not, then he would live in unbelief and that would not bring the Lord’s blessing but anger.

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