I had no idea how to answer. It was such a simple question, but surprisingly, it took me off guard. “What name would you like to have imprinted?” the saleswoman asked again. Do I give my current name? My “first married” name? Maiden name? Ahhhh…who am I?
My last name was “Lawyer” until I was twenty-five. It represented a happy childhood filled with family vacations, dance recitals, and big holiday celebrations. I consider myself fortunate to have such loving and supportive parents and an ambitious younger brother. Mom and Dad seemed to do everything right from teaching Jason and I about responsibility, education, faith, and giving us freedom to make our own choices. And yes, they allowed me to make some of my own not so great choices too. The name Lawyer represents a long line of family heritage; a great-great-great grandfather who enlisted in the Union army, escaped Andersonville, then joined Sherman’s march. Better yet, Johanas Lawyer from 1725. His portrait inscription says it all, “Life, live it well,” written in Latin. Lawyer, a name symbolizing a bond with family that I’ve known, and some I’ve never met (but feel like I have). A name that I am proud to have.
It was on May 14, 2005, when I became an “Overfield.” The first time I met Ryan, I was his waitress. The second time, I saw him out with a friend. The third time, I worked with him. Our paths crossed multiple times, almost as if God had given us chance after chance to connect. Our first date was a Reds game, and I was ever so ready to be caught on the kiss cam. Two years later we were married. One year later we had a daughter, then another… We had five great years together, and two fabulous girls. The three of us “girls” were at the top of his priority list, and he exemplified a man of integrity and character.
June 2013 brought another change (and name) in my life. After grieving years for Ryan, the Lord brought me to another incredible man. I didn’t know that it was possible to fall in love so deeply again. Kar “Singh” loves life and finds joy in almost every situation. He is the most passionate, and energetic person I know (besides our son, hum…wonder where he gets that from?). I love being a Singh, and also learning about a different culture of individuals. I’ve fallen in love with Indian food, hugging-hugging-and tons more hugging (at all Indian events), calling everyone Auntie and Uncle (even though they may not be related), and dancing it up to Punjab music (talk about a party!).
I look back and see the jagged path that my life has taken thus far. I am grateful for the journey (both good and bad) that has shaped who I am today. But even more, I know that I have never been alone. Although my name has changed throughout my life, my identity has remained constant. I can say without a doubt, that my Lord has been the ONE rock and stability through it all. I am Jama because of the way He has led me down my path, through each and every turn. Sometimes I’ve walked beside him, behind him, and have even tried to led him a few times (although it doesn’t work so well). I know that my journey is with my creator. Everyday. Always. He will never leave me, nor forsake me, and he loves me with an endless love. I’m so very grateful that He has allowed me to experience my different names, but I will always be His.
“I would like to have the name, Jama Singh Lawyer Overfield,” I told the saleswoman. She looked at me and raised her brow. “God has been my constant through every name I’ve had on my journey. What better way to recognize that, than by imprinting them on the cover of my Bible?”