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What's In a Name?

Today I decided to start a blog.

False…I decided to start a blog months ago, but today I decided to actually start writing it. Dream big, friends. Maybe after months of putting things off you can, like me, finally get around to doing what you dreamed of doing but never did because you were merely lazy *dreams come true.*

When it came time for me to begin the blogging journey (today, ehem) I thought long and hard about what to call this public diary of mine. I know that a name is very important. Names mean a lot. Names give everything a meaning, a purpose, a title. Each person’s name means something…and so I wanted this blog’s name to mean something too. I am a sucker for meaningful fluff.

Take my name for example: Chrisanna. First off, to clear the air, it is pronounced exactly as it sounds. Don’t overthink it. “Chris- Anna.” Chrisanna. This name was given to me on December 23, 1993. That date was six weeks after I was born on November 6, 1993. No I am not an illegal alien. I am adopted- hence the name change…which I can explain.

My birth parents were young and scared and also incredibly wise for high school students. They discovered they were pregnant when they were only 16 and 17 years old. Enter TERROR. They must have freaked out. They knew they had three choices:

  1. Abortion. It’s an option. Obviously one I am not very fond of. For obvious reasons. But, nonetheless, an option before them.

  2. Raise the baby (ME). A popular choice among young couples it seems, but also a tremendously difficult one. Their lives would never be the same! And both of their parents were non-supportive, alcoholic, distant people who did not want anything to do with a surprise grand-baby. Granted, if couples have family support- go for it! Raise that bundle of love! But with my birth parent’s limited resources of support, money, and love from family and friends…keeping their baby didn’t seem right.

  3. ADOPTION. It’s an option. Obviously one I am very fond of. For obvious reasons.

Luckily, number 3 was the choice they made. But that choice had its own set of consequences too. My birth mother became ill at 5 months after she went into an unexpected labor. She had to drop out of high school and stay in bed for FOUR MONTHS- for a baby she knew she wouldn’t keep. Talk about sacrificial love, amiright? They also had to pick parents for their baby. My birth parents were handed a pile of 20 candidates that the adoption agency they were working with gave them. That is a big task! “Here are twenty couples that are qualified to raise your child and be responsible for his/her entire life!” “Good luck!”

My birth parents were clearly up for the challenge because they picked a pair of crazy, loving, intelligent, random people to be my mom and dad. They didn’t know it then, but they were picking a life filled with adventure, love, difficulties, resilience, and joy for me. They didn’t even know me yet, but they loved me enough to give me that. They loved me enough to plant me somewhere else, away from them. Somewhere I could grow and bloom best. That is love. That is cool.

So, December 23 turned out to be the greatest Christmas Eve-Eve for my parents and also for me because that is the day they adopted Elizabeth. *rewind* My birth-mother named me Elizabeth. Here is where the name thing comes in! Elizabeth means “pledged to God.” Wow. She might not have known it then, but my birth mother was pledging me to God. She was putting me into His hands, His care, and under His protection. She was unknowingly placing me into a Godly home with Godly people who would raise me to learn the importance of obedience and the value of grace. My first name pledged me to God. Big G (as I call him) and I have been really tight ever since.

Like any great Bible character, I got a name change. IE: Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Matthew to Levi, Saul to Paul, Simon to Peter…you get the idea. My parents decided to give me a name special to them, a name unique and of their own. They wanted to name me after Susanna Wesley. Maybe you have heard of her? The powerhouse lady who birthed 19 children, one of them being John Wesley- the founder of the United Methodist Church. Well, anyways, she is kind of a big deal. They also wanted to name me after Christmas, because who doesn’t love Jesus’ birthday and the fact that I was adopted on Christmas Eve-Eve. So the name they created was Chrisanna. I approve! (Although I do LOVE the name Elizabeth). In fact, to make this name even cooler, my last name was Rock. I stink and got married, so now my name is Chrisanna Rogers. Rock was a really cool last name. RIP.

Chrisanna means “golden flower,” as it is a derivative of “chrysanthemum.” I mentioned earlier that my birth mother was loving and brave enough to let me grow somewhere else. She had the selflessness necessary to allow me the chance to be planted and rooted in a place where I would be taken care of, nurtured, and given the best opportunity to bloom. Because of her, I had the chance to not only be pledged to God but to be a “golden flower.” One that, like a sunflower, looks for the light and leans towards it. One that grows from living water alone and one that flourishes under His care. What’s in a name? What’s in my name? I am a golden flower pledged to God and I’d like to always keep it that way. I learned about sacrificial love from day one. Even though I do not know my birth mother, she is an example of Christ’s unconditional, sacrificial love for us. She gave me life and life abundantly. Jesus does the same for me too; for everyone.

That was a lengthy way of introducing myself and this blog called caterpillar. The reason that I chose a funky little title like caterpillar is because I LOVE bugs.

False. I hate them. Dear God, why bugs?

But caterpillars are different.

They start out small. They move slowly from branch to branch, eating and sleeping and crawling along. However, everyone (even themselves) know that there is an immense amount of hope for them. They have so much potential! When the time is right, they will go into a tiny, weird cocoon and grow. They will think and sleep and dream and grow, grow, grow. And when cocooning is complete- BAM! They will emerge as a butterfly. A beautiful, one of a kind butterfly.

Christians aren’t that different. Sometimes we act like caterpillars, going through the motions, waiting for something…bigger, better, something more. God steps in and changes everything. He brings us into a cocoon he likes to call “faith” and he transforms everything about us. And when we decide to pledge ourselves to Him, to trust Him fully, we emerge as beautiful butterflies.

A few days before my wedding, my husband and I were praying with our premarital counselor. She was lifting us up to God; our wedding, our marriage, our family unions, our everything. Immediately, as she began praying, I saw in my mind the image of a caterpillar. This caterpillar was inching along a big healthy, deeply rooted tree. It was just on one little branch. This caterpillar didn’t even realize all of the branches around it and all of the crawling possibilities! It probably didn’t even realize a life of butterfly bliss was just around the corner. I felt and still feel as though my marriage is like a caterpillar too. We don’t know everything God has in store for us! But we have hope for cocoon moments where our life, faith, hardships, and joys are shared intimately. We have hope for reaching that stage where we have something really beautiful, really worked on- like a butterfly.

The image of a caterpillar and the metaphor it is for my faith and my marriage is dear to my heart and has stuck with me ever since that prayer. I named this blog “caterpillarblog” because I intend to inch my way through faith, life, and love questions. I am in pursuit of a cocoon relationship with my heavenly Father. A relationship so tightly knit together and intimate that I can’t escape it. I desire to have a faith that is beautiful like a butterfly. A faith that spreads its wings and bounces around, inspiring others and making them want to follow it. I hope to share that with you. We are caterpillars inching along a tree that is deeply rooted. John 15 says that Jesus is our true vine. That apart from Him we can do nothing, but with Him-remaining in Him- we can do everything.

Let’s be caterpillars.

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