Story Behind The Song: New Name
As I landed in Chattanooga TN for the first time I was greeted by two sparkling smiles. I had no idea at the time that Micah, who I hadn’t seen since our days studying together at college in Australia (9 years prior) would become my wife and the cheery 3 year old buckled up tightly in her car seat in the back of the car, Eliana would become my daughter. I couldn’t of imagined the beautiful and complex journey that the 3 of us were about to embark on as we would begin the adventure of all bearing the same name.
Names are a significant part of our identity. They represent our heritage, our tribe and give us that deep sense of knowing who we are and where we come from. At the time when I met Eliana even though she wasn’t really cognitively aware of it; her name represented a sense of abandonment, a lack of safety and an uncertainty about what the future would hold, where she would call home and who she would call daddy. I don’t want to go into all the details of the story, but I know that this represents the journey of many peoples lives that find themselves in similar situations. The name that we use for all kinds of things day after day (signing our name, logging into numerous online accounts etc) means something to us.
The earthly name that we have been given all represent some level of brokenness, disfunction, pain or generational struggles. Therefore each of our names are in need of healing, restoration, hope and redemption. It’s something we can all relate to and work on. We even must carry the responsibility for those that have carried our names that have gone before us.
As followers of Jesus, adoption should be a something that we have some kind of understanding of. It’s an important part of our faith and since walking the road of becoming a father to Eliana I have become all the more aware of how vital to our identities the understanding and validation of this theme is. We have each been adopted and redeemed, given a new name and accepted as children of God the father.
The day that I went to court and signed the papers to complete adopting my amazing daughter, Eliana, you could see the change in her almost instantly. It was clear that her world became that little bit more focused and her new last name sealed her identity. She didn’t have to battle with the feelings of uncertainty or not quite knowing who she really was any more. It felt like home. It felt safe.
It was one of the most profound and glorious days I’ve known. This song tries to tell the story of adoption and identity that we are all involved in through the powerful love of Father God.
During our content creation camp at The Fold last year Mark Alan, Matt, and I sat down to write. Matt had recently been through the adoption process and was rejoicing over the new addition of his daughter into his family. The more talked we eventually realized that her adoption story connected deeply with our journey of being secured and affirmed in God's family.
This song is in acknowledgment of the journey we take along with Christ. We, like orphans, wander wildly in the dark groping for stability. It's in the dark that we feel God's hand inviting us into relationship and safety with him. When we trust him, he adopts us and gives us a new name, a new identity, a new sense of affirmation and love.
My prayer is that this song inspires a deep sense of peace and acceptance that "...we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture", and that "he will never leave nor forsake us".
This song was birthed out of Matthew’s recent adoption of his new daughter. I remember Matthew saying this as we began: “Her whole countenance changed when she took my last name.” It was as if she had a new found safety and security that she had not previously experienced. So much of the time we feel like we are drifting without any sense of grounding or assurance that have any security in our position. How we see ourselves has a huge impact on how we understand God. When we see ourselves as daughters, sons, heirs to God’s royal fortune, our perspective on everything else changes. This song speaks to both the natural shift that occurs when an adoption takes place - but it also speaks to the same shift that can happen when we fully embrace our new name as daughters and sons of God. Our whole story is forever changed from that moment on.