I married Jeremy Daniel Green on August 31, 2013. I became his wife on that day but was unaware that it would be months before I would be officially recognized as Jodi Green instead of Jodi Strathman by the rest of the world. The name changing process is intricate due to the steps that must be followed in the right order. It is also enriching due to the immense amount of wait time you have to read classic literature while waiting for your number to be called.
Did I have to change my name? No. Did I want to change my name? Eventually. Something shifted in Jeremy and I’s relationship when we exchanged vows. An undercurrent of permanency was unleashed between us when the dam of singleness was broken as we began the process of our two lives becoming one. To change your name is to change your identity.
Names have been a big deal since God created everything. One of Adam’s big tasks was naming the animals. Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Paul and Peter underwent name changes along with life changing interruptions from God. When I thought about this, I realized it was only necessary that my name would change with this life changing event. Granted, the man doesn’t change his name so they must come up with their own significant analogy for the spiritual change of holy matrimony. I get to change my name.
Gratitude has been the Lord’s anthem over my life for the past two years. He sang another chorus of that song to me while I was complaining about the tedious process I had been in over the past month. While ignorantly explaining the process to my friend Priscilla, she graciously listened and then kindly recounted her 4 1/2 year long campaign to gain citizenship. She can’t even get a driver’s license, never mind change the name on it. Even though she is married to a US Citizen, her husband and their two little boys face a ten year exile to Juarez. If the agent who reviews her case in the next 6 months is having a bad day and denies their request, they will be forced to relocate and wait a decade before they can reapply.
Priscilla was grateful for her wonderful husband, her loving family and the opportunity to become a US citizen. Got it, God. Gratitude.
I am grateful. I am grateful that changing my name identifies me with a good man. A man who risks emotionally so I don’t have to. A man who cares enough about time with me that he will put it in his iCalendar. A man who keeps a list in Evernote of “Things Jodi Likes.” This man values solitude and setting goals. He wants to live a good story. He loves to read and be active because those things will ensure a longer, more active life to live with loved ones. Jeremy is a man who doesn’t necessarily understand my tears but he understands that my tears are necessary.
In changing my name to Jodi Green, I am aligning myself with him. A perpetual ‘and’ unites us. Jeremy ‘and’ Jodi Green. “Wife of Jeremy” now becomes a role that is second only to “Daughter of Jesus” in my life. Since I was knit together in my mother’s womb 32 years ago, my God knew that 2013 would mark a shift in my identity. He knew this trajectory shift was approaching. The long years of waiting weren’t pointless after all. He used them to prepare me for this identity shift, grow me up, settle me down, and secure my trust in Him. Those who sow in tears really do reap with songs of joy.
Better than recycling and reduced emissions, this version of Going Green has exceeded everything I had asked for and imagined. I get to discover a new layer of who I am and I get to do it as Jodi Green. Who is the better half is yet to be decided! (that’s a whole different blog)