About the Author

I'm the mother of two little girls, the wife of an amazing husband who'd rather play the guitar than anything else and I love to write. I spend my weekends watching my daughters ride horses and play soccer. I blog daily and my greatest wish is to see women healed...

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  1. I try not to be recognized. I can’t stand when all eyes are on me if I am speaking to a group and I feel pretty invisible in a room of people. I stayed quiet so I wouldn’t draw attention my way, so I wouldn’t have to speak and give my name. I don’t know why I have always done that. I know its tied to my upbringing and I was ashamed/embarrassed of my family. That is a long story in and of itself. But now as an adult, when I was married I was in a job that forced me to say…this is Mrs. H… when we answered the phone. It was not as hard because I was happy to be married. I’m proud to say it or acknowledge it when people ask are you A & E’s mom Mrs. H? Now that I am divorced, its hard again. I have noticed that when I began going to the church I was reluctant to give my last name. Not because anyone would know me because they wouldn’t. I only knew 2 people out of about 1500. But I felt out of place because I was divorced. People would ask, who is your husband or where is your husband? Over time, that has gotten better. People know my whole name, they know my kids, they know I am the one who cleans up our cafe’ after church, I sing in our choir and I am part of our quilt club. I dont mind people knowing my name, I still do not like having attention brought my way. I understand the feeling you described that when you call someone and say ‘its me’ and they know exactly who it is. Its a good feeling isn’t it?

  2. I grew up Jenny Jones…could it get any more common? Jenny…Jones. It’s so common it almost sounds made up. I too got in the habit of using both names almost as if they were one and the same. This habit has carried into my married name as well. But for me, each time I use both first and last now that I am married, it is a reminder and a confirmation of who I am and how far I’ve come. I am Jenny Hausher, a child of generations of divorces piled high, yet I am still married. I worked hard to remain Jenny Hausher. I have overcome the natural pull for independence when I want my way and the societial pull to get going when the going gets tough.

    • i love this comment, Jenny. I love it that you are trying to “fight” history and “nature” and stay married. i wish more couples were like this. thank you for this comment, jenny.

    • I have a cousin named Jenny Jones. 🙂

      — Yet another Sarah…. (child of 1980, which btw, was, according to SS database the FIFTH most popular name! Thanks Mom! lol)

  3. Love this. I graduated with about four Megans, so I can definitely relate. How awesome to know that we are loved and recognized by the God of the Universe. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. I recently realized that one of the huge reasons that changing churches a few years ago was (is) so hard was (is) that I had been at the old church since I was 3 and everyone had known me as I grew up I wasn’t different or weird I was just a teen girl involved in youth group, ushering, and nursery. I went to a new church and was suddenly that new girl and in an age range where girls are pretty clique-y they never got past my academic record and I still feel unrecognized because to them I am no more than what my grades define me as. It shocks them when they find out something about me besides school.

    On the opposite perspective, I felt so wonderfully recognized when a friend I had not talked to since July asked about not only the big issues that I had gone through in the past almost year, but the little things that I wouldn’t even expect someone I see every day to notice.

  5. Ah, yes, what is it about women that needs to know that we’re really known? Whatever it is, I’m totally that way too. Certain people, certain places, make it feel like my heart is coming home. Little glimpses of heaven that remind me of real Home–the place we’ll all be known forever. Can I go ahead and get a few thousand coffee dates on your eternal calendar, friend?

  6. There were rarely any “Robins” in the mix, so I had no need to tack on the last name :). Now, though, lots of people refer to me by first/last name cause it’s fun and catchy-ish.

    But your point that we’re KNOWN by the Creator of the universe AND BEYOND? Yes, I often feel invisible, forgotten, rejected, relegated to the margins…and that He wants me to know that He knows?

    Soul balm.

    xo

  7. I’m a fellow Sarah and know exactly what you mean! My best friend in high school was also a Sarah and people called us “Sarah squared” because we were always together. And cuz it distinguished us from the 4 other Sarahs in our class. Crazy! But it is wonderful to know He knows us so much more than by our name. 🙂

  8. This is an awesome post! My maiden name is “Fred”, yep, I had two first names. Your post brought me back to my school days when I dreaded having a substitute teacher who always got mixed up and stood there barking, “Fred? Fred? Is Fred here today?” All of the kids would giggle and for some reason I was mortified to be called a boys name. All of that changed in high school when my teammates called me Fred. All of the sudden it wasn’t so bad!

  9. Sarah,
    I’m always excited when I click on the {in}courage home page and see that it’s you writing. I thought I should share that in light of this post, that when it IS you I think “Oh good, it’s Sarah today.” Not that I do not LOVE the other contributors as well, I love them all–but your writing style reminds me of talking with an old friend. Thank you for that on a Wednesday morning.

    Chelsie

  10. Thank you, Sarah, for the wonderful reminder that He is expecting and waiting for us to call on Him. No matter how many times or in what state I’m in, He’s there and happy I’ve come. God bless you as He sings over you with love today!

  11. I would love to receive One Thousand Gifts. I host a monthly book club meeting and would love to use it as a give away. Blessings to you. I enjoy your blog.

  12. I have blessed/cursed my own child with the name, Sarah, it was my grandmother’s name as well. AND, with alliteration ad nauseum. Her name is Sarah Stephens Sullivan. A shout out to another great grandmother.

    The other day she shared how someone on her soccer team called her name to pass to her and how she did not even respond, “Mama, I just realized that I am the only Sarah. There are always multiple Sarah/Sara’s in every circumstance: I had no idea she meant me.”

    I’m a Kim, from the middle sixties. Four of my best friends in college were named the same. It was fairly confusing to non-members of our group. Somehow the very nuance of the way we spoke each particular name, distinguished the Kim which we meant.

    Names matter, greatly. But, who breathes behind those names, what reigns in our heart toward the person they so poorly seek to encapsulate, is what really matters. Who we truly are to others who see us and to God is the (holy) thing. Somehow sharing those few letters: K , I and M, helped me with that.

  13. Great post!!
    I could see myself in much of what you wrote. Not actually the last name part as Abbi was an uncommon name when I was growing up and so all I needed to say was “Abbi”. But that appreciation for people remembering me, saving me and seat, being excited when I called. What a great reminder that God is always doing that for us!

  14. …not only does He not need my last name, He has my picture on His refrigerator, His really, really big refrigerator!!

  15. My maiden name was “Butt.” No joke. Let’s just say I RAN to the altar to get married. 😉 In all sincerity, thank you for this post and the reminder that, as followers of Christ, we are grafted into HIS family. Beautiful.

  16. This reminds me of the verse in Isaiah–“I have called you by name. You are mine.” I have always loved that verse. I love to hear people say my name. When I go in the bank, people greet me by name. When I take communion, it is offered to me by name. At work, my students call me by my last name, so I hear that a lot!

    Yes, there are many places in my life where I am not known. Where I have to say my first and last name. And I have to say it clearly because the two names can run together (Galen Pearl is my pen name). To complicate things, I go by my middle name, so when I answer the phone and someone asks for me by my first name, I know they don’t know me.

    I am so comforted by being known by name. I am blessed and grateful that God has called me by name and has claimed me as his.

    Lovely post–thank you.

  17. (Hi, I’ll try for the third time to comment on this today! For some reason I think my comment is not going through, so being persistent. 🙂 This is my first time to post to incourage! )
    Loved your post. I can identify. I had a long, difficult to spell and pronounce name, so when younger, I felt like hiding when being singled out (in a new classroom each school year, for example) by being asked to repeat my name… or when meeting new people, being asked to repeat, spell, repeat… 🙂 And today, most adults will respond with “what a beautiful name”– which is so sweet. Today, I write with “Anna”, my nickname, which means “grace”, and is interestingly, really part of my “real name”. To know that my Maker knows me and my name, is waiting for me, gives me tremendous comfort and joy.

      • Ha ha! I should have seen that one coming. 🙂 Hmmm. Almost did… but…am I ready?

        My daughter is reading Romeo & Juliet and so it just came to me, what to say:

        “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
        By any other name would smell as sweet.”
        –Shakespeare

    • hi there anna. your comment totally resonated with me. i was always a pretty quiet- don’t-want-to-draw-attention-to-myself kind of a kid and here i was given this name that, had i been in yugoslavia where my parents come from, it would have been no big deal. but i live in michigan. and my last name was really much worse. so i always got the repeat, spell, repeat… 🙂 too. (humor was and is a big thing amongst my brother and sisters and i that has helped lighten some of those memories)

  18. I know exactly how you feel……! Debbie was a common name given out around 1959!! I always used my last name and when I marred a SMITH it got even more difficult to stand out. Now I have to tell people my birthday to set myself apart on appointments…ugg! Thanks for reminding me HE knows me without me saying a word!

  19. I have the same conclusion to your story, but in a different way. I am a pasty white girl with red hair and a Hispanic last name. My only connection to anything Hispanic is my husband, who is from Colombia. I’ve learned to understand a miniscule amount of Spanish from my husband – not nearly enough to understand whole sentences. So it’s always amusing when someone calls and asks for me, and then starts rattling off a sales pitch in Spanish. As if sharing a name means we share a language. Or when someone hears my last name and just stares at me, as they try to reconcile the pasty skin and red hair with the Hispanic name.

    It’s so obvious that they think they know me and they don’t. It used to annoy me, the assumptions that people make.

    But not any more. Because there is ONE who doesn’t need to make assumptions – He already knows me better than anyone could ever think they do!

  20. I grew up triple alliterated (Prudence Pauline Parks), oh the joys that I didn’t marry into a P name. With a name like Prudence you’re never questioned as Prudence who. There were times I would have liked to have been able to fade into the background, even today that longing comes strong.

  21. I love that no matter what time it is, or what’s been going on, that God expects me, recognizes my voice and instantly knows all that I have been through and is going on in that moment.
    Sometimes I think we long to be recognized but at the same time we fear standing out, of being *recognized*. It’s great to know that God not only recognizes and expects us, but loves us and cares for us in the way we long for.
    Thanks for your post today.

  22. My name is Sarah Kathleen. So when I was 14 my dad started calling me Sarah-Kate. That’s been me ever since. 🙂 I LOVE it.

  23. Well for me it was the opposite. I had what seemed at the time growing up to be a very uncommon first name. My sisters equally so. No one had it. So I inevitably stuck out as the girl with the French name, and I’m not even French. My last name’s even worse, it’s Polish, but I’m not Polish either. I just wanted to disappear, and I’m a quiet person by nature. And yes, I can relate to the going to church where everybody knows your business, even if it’s none of theirs. And then when I went to high school and university, I was “Pastor H’s daughter.” Whole other kettle of fish when you’re a PK as well. You’re especially scrutinized then, just by virtue of your mom. Name didn’t matter to them, or so it seemed. I’m still “Pastor H’s daughter,” but it doesn’t sting as bad now. I’m coming into my own now. Have an awesome group of friends, that helps a whole lot. And my best friend in high school was named Sarah, and one of my good friends now is named Sarah. Thank you for that reminder. In spite of everything, God (and Jesus) welcome us with open arms.

  24. I loved this post, Sarah!

    My name is Tonya…not very common. AND I have a sister-in-law named Tonya. For a while (before she got married too) there were two of us w/the exact same name and it got really weird when I’d run into someone who knew her.

    I love the idea of my name being written on His palms. No matter how many people there are w/my name, to Him, I’m totally unique and exactly how He made me.

  25. I had to call my neighbor the other day. We stand out at the bus stop every day together with our kids. We borrow sugar on a regular basis. “Who is this?” she said. “Amy”. “Amy, who?” Yeah, I laughed, but I also thought “Oh, my!” She apologized profusely.

    So, yes, I love the feeling of being recognized AND the feeling of being waited for. 🙂 I am glad that with Jesus, I will never even have to tell him my name. He already knows.