My family is kind of big on nicknames. For Nathan and me both, nicknames can indicate fondness, and so our immediate family members have many nicknames. I would say that each of our children has at least 10 nicknames that we regularly refer to them by. Some of them you’ve probably heard, but many of them are names that are not used outside of our little family or that we don’t say within earshot of anyone else. This is because some nicknames are personal and intimate information privy to only our family. Nicknames can be real terms of endearment.
See, I believe there are different levels of nicknames. For example, the name Samuel has a generic nickname of Sam. This is a low-level nickname, because it has little to do with his actual person and it is used by basically everyone. We call Lydia Bid. This is a mid-level nickname, because I don’t mind telling you about it and we call her that in front of extended family and close friends. As many of our nicknames do, this name evolved. Lydia>Lyddie>Litty Bitty>Bid. Something like that. We prefer it as a two-syllable nickname. Sam does it the best. Beee–udd. Now I’ll give you an example of a high-level nickname. This is a name that we only use at home and I don’t believe anyone outside our family has heard it before. (And by the way, you can’t use this nickname. You should just feel honored that I’m telling you about it at all.) Nathan calls Abby Four. This will be tricky to explain. He calls Lydia Princess, because she’s the baby and she likes it. He then called Sam Princess #2 as a joke. And because Abby is our middle child and we want to give her even more of a complex about that than she already has, he couldn’t even make her Princess #3. He gave the dog that honor and named her Princess #4. So now, that name evolved to just Four. And while this sounds crazy or possibly even a little unkind to you, you’ll just have to believe me that there is more love and connection behind this nickname than I can explain.
This year I am studying Revelation and I especially loved reading in Revelation 2:17 that we will receive a “nickname” from God. Hey, God loves to give nicknames to his children too! It says that each of us will receive a new name that only we will understand. Think about the level of a relationship like that, and the love and intimate knowledge that this represents. This is definitely a high-level nickname that we’re gonna get. Perhaps a name that developed over the years through the experiences and conversations that God and I had together. Or perhaps it evolved in God’s mind over time just like some of our nicknames for our kids do. Do you know that the first time Nathan called Abby Four, she knew exactly that it was her name and she understood it? There are names that you call those that you love that no one else knows about. And even if someone else heard you say the name, they wouldn’t understand or know who you meant. Can you imagine the name that God will call you that you will understand even though you’ve never heard it? I am in awe thinking about how God has a name for me that will only be known to the two of us. To be that close to him, and to feel that loved. It is unfathomable to me.