R
emember when Myspace was more popular than Facebook? Back in 2006, I shared my name change story there. But amazingly, I haven’t yet shared it on this blog. So, it’s about time I do that!

Me (on the right) during my DTS

Me (on the right) during my DTS

In 2004, I traveled to Kona Hawaii, to take a truly life-changing class, through YWAM’s University of the Nations. It’s called the Discipleship Training School (DTS), a 6 month course for those who want to get into world missions.

During my DTS, one of the staffers, out of the blue, asked me if I ever thought about changing my name. He was a Messianic Jew who had changed his name when he converted to Christianity. I said, “Well…actually, the thought has crossed my mind.”

You see, when I became a Christian I began to think about how names have meaning.

These days, when it comes to naming a baby, many parents simply choose a name that they like. Or they might name their child after someone, like a parent or grandparent.

In biblical days, the Hebrews chose names according to the meaning of the name. A person’s name often said something about them. And when God changed a person’s name, it was about establishing that person’s new identity. Often, those names were about their destiny, or their mission in life. For example, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning ‘father of a great multitude.’

My given name (Cynthia) is Greek in origin, and comes from a mythological goddess of the moon. Although I liked my name, the meaning wasn’t that significant to me.

On a funny side note, a good friend of mine used to shorten my name to “Cin” (sounds like “sin”) I remember one day she said, “You know? I don’t like that I’m calling you “sin.” I wasn’t crazy about that either, but anyway…

Back to the story. So the staffer who asked me if I ever thought about changing my name shared his name change story with me. And he said he would pray for me, about this possible name change. To this day I don’t know why he approached me with that question in the first place. Unless he just sensed it was something I was supposed to do?

I didn’t tell anyone about that conversation.

Amazingly, a few days later, something else happened that had to do with name changing. One of my roommates, who plays the guitar and sings prophetically, came up to me and said that she felt led to sing a song for me. As she played the guitar and sang the song, tears came to my eyes, because I felt like God was speaking straight to my heart.

She knew nothing about the conversation I had with that guy. So it was amazing that the song for me was called, “I will change your name” These are the lyrics to that song, and it was the first time I had ever heard it:

I will change your name

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.

I was deeply touched by the words to that song. But I didn’t realize at that time this whole name change thing was from God. I was in the middle of a phenomenal class, so there were lots of new and exciting things happening to me at that time.

A special and meaningful poem

Not long after that, one of my other DTS roommates gave me a beautiful and special homemade card. She told me that the card was from God, to me.

On the front of the card was a picture of a Lily flower.

Inside the card was a truly beautiful poem, that she wrote, about that lily flower. It was written from the perspective of the flower, who was insecure about how she looked. The lily was too hard on herself, she thought she was too skinny, too white, awkward… Then later in the poem, God speaks to the Lily and says (I’m paraphrasing, because I don’t have the card in front of me) something like, “Don’t you know who created you? I created you with Love and you are beautiful, unique and precious to me.”

The poem went on, and every word of it spoke straight to me. Like the song, I was profoundly touched by this poem. A poem about a Lily.

Those 3 things happened, all within a few weeks.

As time went on, I felt more and more that it was God’s will for me to have a new name. But I didn’t know what my new name would be.

Finally, it all came together

Almost 2 years later, I was praying about it, and I asked God to reveal my new name to me. I remember feeling sleepy. This came to me: “Take a nap, then when you wake up, look at that baby names book. The meaning of the name, in that book, is ‘Belongs to God.’

So I took a nap, woke up and looked at the baby names book I had borrowed from my sister. As I was reading, I came across a name that (according to that book) meant ‘belongs to God’. And guess what the name was? Lily.

Hmm, I thought… That’s interesting. I liked the name, but I wanted to be very sure. Was this really from God? (As you can see, I’m a skeptical person by nature.)

Then suddenly I remembered that poem that my roommate had given me almost 2 years earlier. The poem about a lily, who represented me in the poem. So I went to find it. As I read the poem again, to my amazement I saw that in that poem were the words, “I call you Lily by name.” Wow. That was one of those moments when you get the chills.

Then I did more looking into the name Lily, and read that it means the Lily flower, which is a symbol of purity, innocence and beauty. All the things that I strongly felt that God wanted to restore in me. The things that this messed up world (and my bad decisions) had taken away.

As was stated before, from a biblical perspective, when God changed people’s names, it was always to establish their new identity. So it made sense that God would give me the name Lily. I was starting to become convinced.

Then I read something else. In Hebrew, my mom’s name, Susana, means Lily. Wow. Yet another ‘coincidence.’

At that point I was convinced. That was in 2006. That was the year I began going by my new name, Lily.

It took a while for my family and old friends to adjust, but now, everyone except my Dad goes by my new name.

I have to admit… I was hesitant to share this story, because I know that some people think it’s weird to change one’s name. And I know that some people will think it’s crazy to believe that God gave me a new name.

In fact, a guy I knew (we’re not friends anymore, for other reasons) adamantly told me that God did NOT give me a new name. He said that God did change people’s names in the bible, but He doesn’t do that anymore. His response was a bit hurtful, but he had a lot of views that I disagreed with, so…I didn’t bother arguing with him.

One thing is for sure. When we come to Christ, we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)

When I think of “Cindy”, I think of my old self. My old life. God has transformed me, and continues to transform me.

That’s the important thing. Our identity is in Christ. And that’s the truly miraculous thing… that when we are born from above, we become new creations. Children of the King of kings!

For anyone who hasn’t heard that song I mentioned earlier, here it is. Please give it a listen. It’s a beautiful song, and I hope it speaks to others out there as well!

  • Misty Boone

    What a beautiful story! God gave you a wonderful new name.

    • Thanks Misty! I appreciate the kind words! Blessings!

  • Diana

    Thanks for sharing Lily! What an amazing story. God is so cool! 🙂

    • Yes, He is! Thanks Diana!

  • Lily!! A beautifu name with a beautiful meaning! Loved the story.

    • Thanks so much, Cathy! 🙂 Blessings!!

  • Janice Lawrence

    Beautiful, Lily. I love the story. And I believe it is from God. I feel sad for the man who could not accept that God would be so personal to you. I know people like that as well.

    • Janice, thank you so much for reading and for your kind words. Yeah, typically it is atheists or agnostics who would not accept something like this. So, for a Christian to do that is indeed disappointing. Thanks again and God bless you!!

  • Shana

    I must say, I was not expecting what I read. I am at a loss for sentences and all that, all that comes to mind is: Powerful. God is great. I am not alone in possessing unique, hand crafted by God testimonies. Thank you for sharing. No matter what, your life is a testimony. No matter how you feel about it, always remember that. 🙂

    • Shana, thank you again! I totally appreciate your encouraging words! Yes, God is great and I’m forever thankful that He ‘found me’….and didn’t leave me as I was. If you have a testimony to share, please consider guest posting. Thanks again and have a blessed rest of the day!

      • Shana

        Umm…. have never put my testimony into words. Not sure I would know where to begin. However, I will pray about that.

        • No worries either way. But if you want to and you feel led, then just let me know. Thanks!

        • Shana

          Ok. That I can do. 😀

  • Constance Ann Morrison

    What an amazing story that led to your name change! I’m glad that with or without a name change, God makes us new. “If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

    • Thank you Constance, I appreciate you reading and commenting! And amen! That’s one of my favorite scriptures, because it’s beautiful and true. 🙂

  • Hazel Moon

    Your story gave me goose bumps and I agree that Lily is YOUR name given to you by our Lord! It is sad that so many people believe God doesn’t do things any more that are mentioned in the Bible. God’s word is from everlasting to everlasting and we must abide by his words of truth!

    • Hazel, thanks so much! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, and I agree! Well put! I’m glad you stopped by. Blessings! 🙂

  • So cool! I changed my name when I first got saved (20 years ago now) because my had life so drastically changed and I wanted to the world to know what God had done. It took awhile to get it to stick but now everyone I know calls me Elizabeth. (consecrated to God) Other than in the Bible I’ve never heard of someone else doing this. Lily is a beautiful name!

    • Hi Elizabeth! Wow… it’s so cool to meet someone else who changed their name, after a drastic conversion to Christianity. I can totally relate to what you said! And I love the meaning of your name, consecrated to God, it’s beautiful. So glad you visited and shared that, we’re not alone, haha! Thanks and blessings!! 🙂

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  • linda

    Beautiful testimony. Regardless of who understands, God is in the business of making us over…including our names?

    • Lily

      Thank you, Linda! Yes, so true that God is in the business of making us over… and making things new. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to leave a comment. : ) God bless! <3

  • Diedra Walker

    Wow…where do I began!? Lily, what a beautiful name! I am currently in this place right now! Reading your story shows the power of our Great God! I have been struggling with this very thing for years now and I believe the Lord has answered my prayer through your story (along with other confirmations). Thank you so much for your obedience! You have no idea what it means to me 🙂

    • Lily

      Hi Diedra! Thank you so much for letting me know that this post spoke to you, and for your kind words! You made my day! : ) I always love to hear stories of other people who are going through or have gone through a similar journey with their name. Yes our God is powerful and I’m happy that God is answering your prayer. Many blessings to you and please keep me posted on what happens. If at some point you would like to share your story, please let me know. I have another website for Christian testimonies, called faithandtestimony.com. But no worries either way! Thanks again and God bless!