Names are very important to me. I guess growing up with an unusual name caused me to feel the impact names can have on a person. For years, I had no idea what my name meant. Cimbrey is NEVER defined or explained when I look it up; however, there was a shop in Branson, MO that made name souvenirs that looked it up for me when I was in middle school. He said it was derived from Kimberley and meant "from the royal fortress meadow." I'll take it. It made me feel like a princess, and what girl doesn't need to be reminded that she is a princess now and then?
I've always had to explain my name and spell it for other people. There's not a very interesting story behind it. My dad new a girl named Symbre in high school and my mom and dad loved the name. They decided to spell it differently, and Cimbrey became my name. I don't mind questions about my name. I don't even care about misspellings, mispronunciations, etc. It happens. What having a name like Cimbrey has made me care about is the importance of names themselves and how much a part of your identity the become. Because I have such a unique name, I really value uniqueness in myself and other individuals. I value going against "status quo" and making a difference in the world. I am very comfortable being the "only one" to do something. I've even been comfortable going to a public restroom by myself my entire life! (Shocking! I know.) Being unique, independent, and deviating from the norm has been a compelling force in my life, and I believe it has a lot to do with my name.
When I read stories in the bible about God changing a person's name, it has a profound impact on me. I immediately think of the confusion that must have caused. When Saul ("asked for" or "ditch, death"), a persecutor of Christians became Paul ("small, humble"), a zealous apostle of Jesus Christ, I wonder if he had to get his carriage license and registration, birth certificate, mortgage, fishing license, hunting license, etc. changed as well. How does one go about changing their name? If someone calls your house asking for "Saul", do you say, "Saul no longer lives here?" Really. What do you tell your mom and dad? "Mom and dad, what drugs were you on? My name stinks. My new name is Paul." People's questions alone would be enough to make me want to change my name back to Saul. I can imagine the impact of changing your name is far more involved that we might think at first glance.
Jesus' encounter with Saul on the road to Damascus completely changed his life. Saul was physically blinded for a time, emotionally traumatized (I'm sure), and spiritually, he was never the same again. There is no greater change of heart than the one we see in Saul, turned Paul. Saul was ravenous for the blood of Christian men and women, and he thought that he was justified in his cause. After all, he was a Jew, and a very pious one at that. He thought he was doing God a favor by exterminating Christians. When he encountered God that day, God changed a hateful heart into a passionate love for people everywhere to know Christ.
In the same way, we who have been changed by God through a relationship with Jesus Christ, have been given a new heart. When God met us on our road of destruction, he demonstrated His love and power by making us a new creation. My name may not be changed in the literal sense, but I know I will never be the same again. Being adopted and grafted into God's inheritance changes us in every way.
When Mark and I meet our little one in Ethiopia, there will be many experiences, mindsets, fears, and joys that he will have. His adoption into our family will change his life forever. He will no longer be called "forgotten", "orphaned", "alone", "abandoned". Instead, he will be given a new name, "accepted", "loved", "valued", "blessed". Like our stories of adoption into Christ's family, our son's story will forevermore be marked by reckless love and devotion.
It is for this reason, that Mark and I have searched and discussed names that reflect our son's new live as an adopted son. We love unique names because we know our son is special and unique to God. We also know that God is with him even now when we can't be with him. We know that God rescues the weak and He never leaves any of us as orphans, but He comes to us in our distress. Therefore, Mark and I have decided that Baby Brannan will be named...
ZANE - "God has been gracious."
GABRIEL - "messenger of God" and "devoted to God"
It is our prayer that Zane Gabriel Brannan will know God's grace and love at an early age and devote his entire life to sharing the message of God's grace to the world.
We invite you to pray with us for Zane!