I don’t mean to brag, but I have a really cool name.
Obviously, my name is Mary Chase Breedlove.
I go by “Mary Chase”.
I love the looks I get from people when I introduce myself for the first time. I say, “Hi, my name is Mary Chase Breedlove,” and they say “Mary..Cha…what?” Sometimes they just smile and nod. It’s like my name is too much to take in at first. Sometimes people get thrown off by the fact that my middle name is a boy’s name. Sometimes people think “Chase” is my last name, so when I throw “Breedlove” in, they get really confused. Sometimes they think I’m saying “Grace” instead of “Chase”. At Centrifuge on year, a guy in my Bible study group asked me if I was sure that “Chase” was my middle name and not “Grace”. I said yes, I’m fairly certain. As for Breedlove–well it’s just a fun last name. It’s also very unusual, I haven’t met many Breedloves that I’m not related to.
Many people don’t know why my name is Mary Chase Breedlove. My first name, Mary, is after my mother. (Surprise! Pam’s first name is Mary. It’s Mary Pamela.) My mother (the “Mary” part) was named after her mother’s good friend.
My second name, Chase, has a very special meaning to my family. Before I was born, my parents had a daughter named Joanna. Joanna had a severe heart defect and passed away a few days after she was born. Her pediatric cardiologist was named Dr. Nancy Chase– Dr. Chase had a huge influence on my parents. She loved them and took care of them, even after Joanna died. My twin sister and I were born about year later, and Dr. Chase came to visit us because she knew one of the Breedlove twins would be named after her. Dr. Chase is the cat’s pajamas, too. She plays the bagpipes.
The name “Mary” is Hebrew for “bitter”. The name “Chase” means “hunter”.
Often I take the name “Mary” for granted. When I came to a college in the southeastern conference–better yet, in Mississippi–and joined a sorority, I heard almost every combination of “Mary + _____” as a signature southern double name. I’ve yet to meet a “Mary Chase”, however.
Last week I was reading a book that my mom gave me by Francine Rivers– it’s one of five novellas that explore the lives of five women who played a key role in the lineage of Jesus. I’m reading the fifth book, and it is about the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Now I know that this is a novella, that it is not an exact historical account of the thoughts and speech that occurred, but it definitely gives a fresh prospective on the stories I’ve heard all my life in church. And this passage gave a me a whole new prospective to my own name:
Ah, but Anne understood. A son would work alongside his father. A son would go to synagogue and give distinction to his father. A son would provide for his mother if his father died. A son might one day grow up and stand against Israel’s oppressors. Or even turn out to be the long-awaited deliverer, the Messiah for whom all Israel prayed.
But a girl? What use was a girl, other than to share in the daily chores? She would simply be another mouth to feed until the time came for her father to find the proper husband.
“Won’t you please consider another name, my husband? There are so many Marys. It has become the most common name in all of Israel.”
“And when there are enough, perhaps the Lord will finally hear our cry!” Joachim’s voice broke. Color seeped into his cheeks as he looked away. “Her name shall be Mary.”
Anne studied her newborn’s face. “Mary”, she whispered. “My precious little Mary.” Her heart was heavy, for both of her daughters now bore a name that meant “bitterness and suffering”. The name Mary declared the depth of every Jew’s despair under oppression of Roman conquerors. Mary was a cry to the Lord for rescue.
“Lord, Lord, please let her name come to mean more than ‘bitterness and suffering.’ Let it come to mean ‘strength is from the Lord.’ Let it come to mean ‘God’s love upholds us.’ Let it mean ‘trust in God, and let nothing defeat faith in You.’ Oh Lord…let the name Mary remind us to obey without fear.”
A cry to the Lord for rescue–through Mary, He answered.
I should be reminded of that everyday. I bear the name of the person God used to send the Messiah to rescue us; He used the ordinary to bring the extraordinary, and it is my namesake.
I mean this when I say….that is just awesome.