My mama's been gone now for two years.
But she is still "mothering" me.
Still teaching me.
I'm a better student now.
A better listener.
Silence does that.
It softens the heart.
And tunes the ears.
My mama's name was Aubrey Neeze Flowers Rainer.
But that wasn't her given name.
Her given first name was Auba.
I loved my Grandma Flowers, but where she got that name who knows?
Of course, her name was Amonteen.
That might be the answer.
When Mama was a young mother herself, she officially had her name changed.
Yes she did.
She went to the courthouse and paid the fees to have her name legally changed.
Many of her friends and family members already called her Aubrey, the name she had chosen for herself.
But it was important to her to have it done officially.
Once and for all.
I can just hear my mama's thoughts:
"I'm too smart to have a name like Auba.
And I'm too pretty to have a name like Auba.
And there isn't anyone keeping me from changing my name except myself."
So she did.
She was like that.
My mama still answered to the name Auba.
My dad called her Auba when only close family members were around. When others were around, he lovingly and respectfully called her Aubrey.
My grandmother called her Auba until she said goodbye for the last time.
I was telling the daughter of my mama's BFF, (her BFF for 70 years), about my mama's name change. She reminded me that her mama always called my mama Auba. She thought maybe it had just been a nickname.
It's obvious that my mama didn't mind the people that loved her, and had known her before, calling her Auba.
But she knew she was Aubrey.
I think I need to make a name change like my mama did.
I think I need to do it once and for all and every day thereafter.
I am answering to names that don't describe me.
That don't describe the new me.
And the person that calls me the worst names, the names that hurt the most, is me.
They are spoken out of my head and my heart.
They are spoken out of unbelief and shame and habit.
God has made me new.
And He has given me new names to call myself.
It's probably five years since I walked into a counselor's office and sat down and poured out my broken heart. Her first words to me were, "You don't know who you are in Christ."
Truer words have never been spoken.
I know the names that God calls me.
Sometimes I answer to them.
Sometimes I even call myself by those names.
I even remind others that these are their new names.
But I still answer to the names that hurt. The names that are lies.
My mama answered those that called her Auba, even after her official name change, because she knew they loved her way-past any name.
But the old names that I call myself don't have anything to do with love.
Just a few days ago, when January 10th came around, and two years had passed without my mama, I thought about how brave she was.
She was so brave those fourteen months on Hospice.
She was brave when she spent twelve of those fourteen months without the love of her life. The love that had been by her side for 60 years.
And I thought about how brave she was, as a young woman, to say no more. No more being called a name that doesn't describe who I am.
My mama used to tell me to quit doing a lot of things.
"Don't bite your fingernails."
"Don't wear so dark of a lipstick."
"Don't drink those awful Diet Cokes."
"Don't talk on your phone while you are driving."
But on that two-year morning, when I cried because I missed her, I heard her tell me to quit doing one more thing.
"Quit calling yourself the wrong names. Quit answering to them. Your name was legally changed at The Cross. Stop it now. Once. And. For. All.
After all, I am still your mother and you, My Baby Girl, have "a beautiful inheritance."
I am Blessed by God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am Chosen by Him before the foundation of the world.
I am Holy and Without Blame before God.
I am Adopted As His Child through Jesus Christ.
I am Accepted.
I am the Beloved.
I am Redeemed
I am Forgiven.
I Am Covered In His Grace.