About Dena

What’s in a name?

One day, my son and his friend were recounting a story to me about how they had tricked some kids they met. Blake and his friend had told these boys that their names were George and Sid.

“Can you believe they would believe that?” Blake’s friend asked me. “I mean, who names their kid “Sid” these days?”

With a slight smirk on my face and a quick glance at Blake, I asked, “Hey! Do you know what my middle name is?”

“No,” he replied.

“Cyd,” I answered. “Do you know what Cassie’s middle name is?”

“No,” he replied.

“Cyd,” I responded, the smile growing. “Do you know what my brother’s name is?”

“No,” he answered, beginning to sound a little dejected.

“Sid,” I answered. “Do you know what my nephew’s name is?”

Slowly and with a sound of humiliation, he hesitantly responded, “Sid?”

“Yes! And, do you know what my dad’s name is?” I continued the questioning.

“Sid?” as his voice began to trail off.

“Yes! And, do you know my grandpa’s name?” I asked, laughing.

“Sid,” he said, resigned to the fact that he had made a huge blunder.

As we all laughed together, we began to recall the various movies with a character named Sid. In the Ice Age movies, the sloth—who we all agree is quite stupid—is named Sid the Sloth. In the Toy Story movies, Sid is the mean kid who is feared by all the toys because he blows them up and tortures them. We could not recall a single movie where a character named Sid was a hero.

When I was a child, I was often embarrassed to share my middle name with other kids. Although the name Sydney is now a popular girl’s name, I was the only girl EVER with the name Cyd growing up. I always had to explain why I had such a strange name.

As you can tell from the conversation with Blake’s friend, Sid is a family name. I believe there were about eight generations before me in which the oldest boy carried the name Sid.

But, I’m a girl.

I am also girl number three in my family, and by the time I was born my parents resigned themselves to the fact that they would never have a boy. Not wanting to lose the name Sid, they chose to give me the middle name with a feminine spelling (taken from Cyd Charisse, the actress).

About five years later, my family welcomed my little brother into the world. And, yes, he too was given the name Sid.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

In the Old Testament, a person’s name was often a description of who he or she was, whether good or bad. Names were sometimes changed to more accurately reflect a person’s character or circumstances. In Genesis 25, Jacob and Esau were born. The scriptures reflect that Esau was named for his appearance. He “was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment” (v 25). Then, his twin brother was born, grasping Esau’s heel. He was given the name Jacob, which means “holder of the heel” or “supplanter.”  If you know your Old Testament history, you know that Jacob, through a series of events, received the blessings and honor that were guaranteed to the oldest son through tradition. In essence, he supplanted his brother and took over the place that rightfully belonged to Esau.

In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, we find a very short excerpt about a man named Jabez, which means “pain.” His mother named him Jabez, saying that she gave birth to him in pain. In Ruth 1:20, Naomi asks to have her name changed to Mara (meaning bitter) because “the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

I can certainly be thankful that my parents chose my name based on family names instead of appearances or circumstances. As a matter of fact, the older I get, the more I come to love my name. It reminds me of the amazing family from which I came. I have a connection to people I never knew, but I recognize that they paved the way for me. I use my middle name whenever I can because it is now a badge of honor.

From my standpoint, the name Sid is a direct result of my grandfather, Sid Allen. He passed away just a few short days before his 100th birthday, and I was so blessed to have him as a grandfather—and to be able to enjoy 40 years with him on this earth.

My grandfather was by no means perfect. He was probably a much better grandpa than he was a dad. But, he laid a foundation for our family, left a legacy that I pray my children and I will carry on way beyond our lifetimes. Grandpa was a man of integrity. He believed in the value of hard work. He amassed a fairly large amount of money by simply spending less than he made. He valued education. He was a caretaker of his family. He was a rock, a source of stability.

The greatest legacy he left his family, however, was a love of God. He left multiple Bibles where the pages are marked and falling out because of the amount of time he spent reading and studying the Word of God. He taught a Sunday school class at his church until he was well into his 90s. He had a strong faith that was evident in everything he did.

My grandpa didn’t want to leave this earth because he felt that it was his responsibility to take care of all of us. Shortly before he died, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked, “Who is going to take care of you?”

With great confidence, I smiled and said, “Grandpa, God’s got this.” At that point, I could see the peace sweep across his face.

Whatever I do in this life, I want it to reflect positively on the legacy that I was left by my grandfather. I never want my name to have a negative connotation. When the name Dena Cyd is used, I want it to conjure up images of love for God and love for others. I want to leave a legacy that is fitting to my name.

What about you? What will people say about you when you leave this earth? Do you guard your good name at all costs? I pray that you will desire a great name above all else. And, remember…

You have another name—Child of God. Do you live your life in a manner that is worthy of being a part of God’s family? I never want to dishonor my family name by my actions, and even more I want my actions to honor the family name of God. The good news is that when HE looks at your life, HE only sees the perfection of Christ Jesus’ blood shed for you. That’s an amazing grace bestowed on us by our Heavenly Father!

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Dena, you are such an amazing woman. You brought tears to my eyes. Your grandpa would be so proud of the legacy you are leaving.


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