Tuesday, August 9, 2016
How Being Blind Taught Me To See
The start of my life on earth was…well, complicated. I don’t know all the details. You know what they say, there’s three sides to every story. I know my mother’s side, but my father refuses to speak about it, and I’m just beginning to grasp the third side—God’s plan.
Suffice it to say though, I was an unplanned pregnancy. My parents weren’t married, and apparently they weren’t on the same page in their relationship. Alone, pregnant out of wedlock, my mother did what many others did in the same situation: She planned to put her baby up for adoption.
In the midst of her preparation to give away her baby, my mother chose a name for me—Theresa Marie. Instead, my mother decided to keep me after I spent six weeks in foster care. My given name was instead Cecilia Ann.
There is power in a name. In the Bible, God changes several names—
Abram becomes Abraham,
Sarai becomes Sarah,
Jacob becomes Israel.
These changes are profound shifts in character, shifts in how God interacts with the person as well as how the person sees themselves.
Abram means “high father” while Abraham means “father of many nations.”
Similarly, Sarai means “my lady” while Sarah means “mother of the multitude.”
The shift in the names God addresses these by is indicative of His plan for their lives.
So then, what of my mother’s decision to name me Theresa Marie, which means “harvester, wished-for child” but my actual name being Cecilia Ann, which means “blind, God's favor, gracious”?
There had to be a plan. There’s always a plan.
Blind though. Wow. My mother’s will was to give me a name meaning harvester, but instead I was named “Blind.” Perhaps like me you struggle to see how that meaning is a blessing in any way. Blind=lacking sight, right? Surely this isn’t a good thing!
But being a wordsmith, I knew there had to be more that I was simply failing to see, something I didn’t already know. [I should interject here that I have learned that the 10% of not knowing makes all the difference in the world, but that’s a post for another time!] So I looked up the word blind in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
The short version is as follows: a. unable to see; b. unable to notice or judge something; c. accepting the actions or decisions of someone or something without any questions or criticism.
Accepting the actions or decisions of someone without question. Hmmm. Maybe this means something important after all. That sounds a bit like trusting and having faith in something. Perhaps my name reflects the character that God has been instilling in me since birth, developing a trust and faithfulness in my relationship with Him. Perhaps, just perhaps, being blind meant I could really see!
Someone who lacks sight, often lives in full reliance on tools and others to help them navigate. Their weakness is overcome by the power of another’s sight. Their acceptance of others’ actions is essentially without question, at least at first. Unlike those of us who are born with sight and later lose it, the person born without sight trusts “blindly” that others can see and will guide them.
Whatever my birth father’s side to the story of my conception, God’s side is what matters most. In fact, the lack of my birth father’s take has gifted me with a type of blindness that has required me to rely fully on God, on His actions WITHOUT QUESTION. This blindness has allowed me to experience God’s favor in a deep and meaningful way. It has pushed me over the precipice and forced me to trust that there must be something bigger, something I can’t see right now planned for my life.
I’m so grateful that God decided my name should be “blind favor.” I see His hand working in my life, and I’m learning more and more each day to trust Him WITHOUT QUESTION.
Things to ponder: What does your name mean? How does this fit with the redeeming of your story that God is working out? Where does God want you to walk and trust Him more, WITHOUT QUESTION? What do you need to do next to be blind like that? (Please share your thoughts in the comments below!)