What’s in a name?

Have you ever chafed against the name you’ve been given? Wondered why or how it was chosen.

Felt you couldn’t live up (or down) to it. I have.

As my years have spanned out, confusion set in about my name.

Yes, I knew it came as a diminutive of my mother’s, was given by my father in a split-second, finger-pointing decision (I’m one of twins) , has had great implications for how I live as a Christian and how others perceive me.

Yet I have worried and wondered in turn as I have sought to live under its shadow, feeling oh so unworthy in a life marked more by pain and problems, sickness and sorrow than joy.

So when I saw the prompt for this week’s #fiveminutefriday link up, these thoughts immediately bubbled to the surface.

And I found myself asking God, “Why was I called Joy?”

He reminded me that it was a wonderful thing indeed to be able to say with great conviction, “The joy of the Lord is my strength” ~ and that remains my testimony. 

I came empty to a life of faith. I remain empty unless God fills me. His love, light, grace, mercy,  joy and strength are my daily necessities. Maybe they are for you too?

My witness is a life circumscribed by God’s continual comforting presence in every possible circumstance.

He brings hope and healing, joy and praise out of the darkest of places and days.

So I paused… prayed, and this is what I wrote  with the free releasing of thought and words characteristic of Five Minute Friday.



Without sorrow, joy wouldn’t seem such a shining light

Without adversity, joy wouldn’t be so strong and bright

Through pain and problems My purposes are revealed

and in dark times joy lies hidden, concealed

Arising as bulbs to greet the Spring

joy sits silent and calm within

until the moment when it comes forth

to demonstrate its exceeding worth

I made no mistake when I named you Joy

It was no cruel trick or devious ploy

but a knowing that soon your life would show

how the joy of the Lord helped you to grow

Now you no longer rely on fickle feelings

as you scrabble around in life’s dirty dealings

for joy is found in darkness deep and it

seeps to the surface when you need it most

bubbling over like waves on the coast

Though feelings come and feelings go

joy can remain in a heart’s warm glow

from the embers of your burning pain

it brings hope of renewal time and again



cresting the waves joy poem pin image

Names matter because we matter. Regardless of our given name, we can learn to live free by faith in the saving name of Christ. 

We all have a name of meaning and worth:God calls us His ‘beloved child’; we are ‘honoured and precious in His sight’, the ‘apple of His eye’ and  so much more besides.

It can be hard to live a joyful life in the midst of adversity, but it’s in those very places that God draws extra close to us.

Happiness is fleeting as a butterfly alighting briefly on our shoulder then taking flight.

Joy is a deep-seated well of contentment ~ regardless of circumstances ~ where we rest internally in the saving grace of God.

And we can experience it in the midst of the most demanding of situations. It’s a supernatural gift and blessing. One to seek, treasure and pass on to others by way of sharing our experience of the Source of all Life, Joy and Peace Himself. 

My hope and prayer is that you may be filled with a greater measure of it in the week ahead. For, no matter how long the night may seem, “weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” ~ Psalm 30:5. Each day can be a fresh start.

Joining with  Lisa-Jo and Mel

You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

    • Thank you, Carol. It was a surprise to me what thoughts immediately came to the surface when I began to think about the word ‘joy’. Then the poem just flowed. God is good and His joy sustains me in my darkest hours. 🙂 x

  1. I’ve always thought the name Joy was lovely. Thank you for your thoughts on carrying this name and what it means to you now through Christ.

    stopping by from FMF

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s