What’s in a Name?

This post is by my dear friend Rachel, who always makes me laugh and constantly reminds me of my worth when I so easily forget it.  She is a fan of cats, british television, and nail polish.  More than that, she is a friend with depth and someone I am grateful to have speaking into my life.  I’ll let her tell you more about herself here (: 

When your last name is Plourde, you almost fantasize about changing it. I’ve had to spell it out almost every time I say it aloud.  I’ve had friends mispronounce it for years. (Like… the same friend… for years straight.) I’ll admit that it’s not the worst, but it’s just weird enough that it’s a hassle.

Growing up, my name made it hard to hide. Everyone knew my mother. Or, more accurately, my mom knows everyone. She is an extrovert who will make friends with a stranger on the bus, and basically every Christian in Southern New Hampshire knew her as the manager of the local Christian book store. I was Donna’s daughter every day. My mom’s a talker, so sometimes strangers would come up to me and know everything there is to know about me because they talked to my mom. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is an amazing woman and being known as “Donna Plourde’s daughter” was great.

If people knew my mom they automatically loved me too. It’s just how life went. Growing up, my friends always loved my parents, and I was proud to wear my label. Then I went to college, and I had to find out who I was without that label. My mom is still my best friend, but I wanted to be known for me. I wanted to convince everyone that introverts can be just as great as extroverts! I wanted the Rachel part of my name to mean more than the Plourde part.
I was doing ok with this for a while. Moving away from home made it a lot easier. I had new ideas and new friends and started to feel comfortable expressing who I was. But then…

I met and fell in love with an amazing guy. I even get to marry him this October.

Some history before I continue: the summer after I graduated from college I was joking around with my brother Chris that all I wanted was a guy who had a first name different from those of my brothers, Josh and Chris, and whose last name is easy to spell.

Queue Christopher Smith.

Suddenly it was expected that I’d take Smith as a last name. Smith. The most popular, average last name in the US. I don’t even want to know how many Smiths are on this planet because the number in my head is ridiculous enough. So instead of being Donna Plourde’s daughter, I was faced with being Mrs. Christopher Smith. Taking my husband’s identity and starting from level 1 all over again.

Come October I will take Chris’s last name. Even if it just means not having to spell everything out over the phone anymore. But I am going to press on and discover who Rachel is, whatever last name she has. God is bigger than a name, a job, a degree, and whatever else I could find my identity in. I’m so thankful that my identity does not have to be in any of those things. He’s bigger. And one day hopefully I will really believe that about my own life.  

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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