Today took me by surprise.
Today I changed my name.
It seems impossible to tell this story without mentioning that I used to be married. The only reason I hesitate to tell that part is because it could cast some troubled shadow over what turned out to be a very joyful occasion- reuniting with my maiden name.
The timing seems a little random since I have been divorced now for over two years and separated for over three. It’s just that there were several factors that needed to be present before I could get my old name back. Time and money were two great factors. Being a missionary and needing a current passport tend to go hand in hand, so while it costs somewhere around $100 to change your passport, it also takes up to 6 months from applying to receiving said passport.
But here I am at the beginning of staffing a 9 month school and somehow there is extra money this month. When I prayed about whether I should save, spend or give the extra, my maiden name immediately came to mind….
What is taking me by surprise is the identity shift that comes with a new/old name. So much has happened since I parted ways with the name Kelley. Much pain, but also so much healing and growth. Somehow I take back my old name and it fits like a new, glorious gown. It has all the freshness of a woman embarking on a new journey, a woman untainted by the things people often associate with the word Divorce. Not that I didn’t experience wounding and darkness, but somehow the breaking was a fire that burned away much that needed to die anyway. Somehow the joyful, young girl I could have been, but stifled in my teens, was preserved beneath layers of sad living… waiting.
I do not meet her with naiveté, to recycle illusions that led to mistakes. I meet her with the joys and sorrows of Kroeger still in my heart. But no bitterness or hardening. An old woman taking a wee girl by the hand to show her how to be 35 well.
Not that I have reached any kind of perfection. Oh no…
But God has (somehow) worked manifold miracles to heal and mold me in ways I wouldn’t have even known how to ask him for. There are surely still some land mines underground… but having walked through the last three years with this loving, persistent Jesus I only have more faith and hope that He will not waste a thing. He will not leave me and no matter what my last name may be, I belong to Him.