Happy, happy St. Patrick’s Day!
You guys want to hear a funny story? For most of my early childhood I thought I was Irish. With the last name Kelly, why would I not? I felt extra cool at school on St. Patrick’s day because of it and loved wearing a “kiss me I’m Irish” pin while actually being Irish. Sometime around middle school however, I learned that Kelly was an adopted name and I was not in fact Irish. At least not as far as anyone knew. I remember feeling seriously disappointed as I lost that small part of my identity. Thankfully no therapy was needed and I’m pretty sure I got over it quickly.
Years later I attended a women’s retreat where the speaker talked about identity and prompted all the ladies to look up the meaning of their first name. Skeptical of the association of identity and name it wasn’t long before I remembered how I used to be Irish and about how I thought of myself shifted when I discovered I wasn’t. So jumped right into the exercise.
What I found was exciting, encouraging and oh so fitting. Not to totally bore you but more as an example — “Rae” has a few different meanings, depending on the origin. It means Grace (Scottish), Protector (German) and — the one I was drawn most to — Ewe (Hebrew). Oddly enough I have several things in common with sheep (HA!). They have no sense of direction, need community for survival (something I know in my heart but am quick to forget) and they know their shepherd well. Even more interesting is that mama sheep draw closer to their shepherd after birthing their first little one. This could not be more true for me (a little more about that in this post). I can’t imagine raising our babies without Jesus’ direction, joy and grace each day. I would be a mess!
Do you guys or have you ever looked into the meaning of your name? Do you relate to your name meaning? How about your kids’ names?
Regardless of last names, I hope you enjoy being Irish for the day and having all kinds of rainbow-y green fun! Johan and I will be hopping on a plane home later today and I can hardly wait to kiss all our little non-Irish faces!!!! I’ve been sharing a little of our trip on instagram and snapchat @raeannkelly if you want to check it out!