I recently heard author Shauna Niequist say something that struck me:
“What is the one word about you that, if you believed it, would change everything?”
And it’s something I’ve been mulling over. Letting it tumble around in my mind until it came to me shiny like a stone.
Sometimes I forget that I used to have a different name. Sometimes I forget that I wasn’t always Johanna Price, because in many ways, I feel like the most me I’ve ever felt since my name changed.
Now I’m not saying that marriage made me a complete person. (I was complete already.) Or that it made me happy. (I was already happy.) Or that it made good enough. (I was already good enough.)
But I do feel a confidence and contentment about who Johanna Price is in a way that I never really did when my name was something different.
One of the most important things to me is the opportunity that Aaron and I have to build the kind of family neither of us ever had.
When you’re a child a divorce, it’s a lifelong series of small losses. Not being able to call home from your college dorm room and speak to both of your parents, each on a different extension in the house, talking over each other to ask about your classes or your weekends or your roommate. Not being able to display your parents’ wedding photos at your own wedding. Never getting to plan a 50th wedding anniversary party. Having to do a delicate dance about what you name your child so as not to offend the “left out” parental unit. (I know more than one situation where a parent was upset because their child chose to name a grandchild after the ex’s side of the family. True.) Coming to that weird place where you mourn for your own parents because of what they have now missed out on because of decades-old choices.
But now, Aaron and me, we have a new chance.
Getting to parent alongside Aaron is one of the sweetest treasures. He’s right there next to me— waking up to feed a baby, spraying dirty cloth diapers, holding Harry’s hand crossing the street, reading stories, singing songs, saying prayers.
I spent most of my formative years, and years after, just wanting to belong. Just wanting to be loved.
And even though I knew that I was, I didn’t know it. I didn’t live it.
But just look at what God has done.
Johanna, you are a beloved wife.
Johanna, you are a beloved mother.
Johanna, you are a beloved daughter.
And most of all Johanna, you are a beloved child of God.
I am His. I belong to Him. I am beloved.
His banner over me is love.
And because of that love, because I am His beloved, the banner over our family is also Love.
It informs my parenting. It informs my marriage. It informs my leadership. My friendships. All of it.