When I was going through my divorce, I overlaid my past onto my children and made some assumptions. One pretty big one was that they would want my last name to be their last name. I also made another – now that I think about it – quite arrogant assumption about my last name: that changing it wouldn’t be good for my “career” because I had been writing under my married name for about a decade at that point.
Turns out, my kids don’t care. In fact, when I mentioned the idea to my kids, one of them even said, “You’re still our mom. Do what you need to do.” Alrighty then.
And, seriously, my career? I’ve only barely started to be strategic about what I do over the past year or so. Before that, my name is different on all of my books anyway. Oh my lands.
So here I am. I’m not changing my name personally, because do you have any idea what a pain that is??? (Some of you do.) But I am changing it professionally.
And you might be wondering why.
Lately, I’ve been given a gift of what I might consider to be insider information into how the other half thinks (read: men). And it is 99% amazing and wonderful and cool and eye-opening. And 1% WHAT?!?!?
And though that pesky 1% can be really hard to hear sometimes, it’s also really awesome. Because I am learning things that I think God has wanted to tell me and teach me for a while, but he needed to wrap it all up in a really gentle voice to make it easier to swallow.
Every day when I sit down in front of my computer to think up ways to reach out to you and support you and encourage you and walk alongside you, my eyes are looking straight at you. And I share my heart. And I pour out memories. And I try to rally us all around the truth that what you’re living through isn’t okay and God sees you and wants to help you and heal you and redeem you. Because I believe that to my core.
And I desperately try to be authentic. And I bleed on the page. And I throw myself under the bus. And I want you to know that I get what you’re going through and that I can be trusted. And I read your comments or see what you say on Facebook and I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, that I have the absolute privilege of being your voice, that my pain wasn’t for nothing. That God wastes nothing.
But here’s the thing. When I am looking back into my past and pulling out a story and then turning my gaze back around at each one of you, it’s as if my eyes aren’t seeing something pretty obvious. It seems that I have forgotten a few key people. That my eyes have scanned right over them, most of the time completely unintentionally, but sometimes – I hate to admit – I’ve needed to pretend they weren’t there to say what I felt I needed to say. But they are important people. They are people who share my last name. They are people who are trying to live and move on and forget maybe. They are people who are as human as I am, beating hearts, trying to heal just like me.
So, this means a couple things in the right now:
It means that I told God I was sorry. That my intention was never to keep hurting, but I’m sure I have.
It means that I have deleted a post that was going to run this week, and I have edited a sentence or two, and probably well edit a few more.
It means that I will probably write through a slightly different lens as I move forward; but still always, always with the intention of being as honest as I can and helping and supporting each one of you, and pointing us all back to Jesus over and over, reminding us he’s our only hope.
And it means, that today, if you look up a few inches, you’ll see a new name on the masthead. My new name. (Well, my new-old name.) To give some space. To return some privacy. To let go. To hopefully bring a bit more healing to all of us.
I’m still me. You’ll still get all of me, girls. I wouldn’t know how to do this any other way. But let’s think today, even in our pain, even as we sift through some memories, that the other person involved is indeed another actual person, created by God, loved by God, not out of the reach of grace (just like us), who deserves our kindness over our rightness, even when it’s hard.
I am sorry for the pain I have caused, and I am sorry for the times I have been a poor example to each of you.
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/elisabethklein
I get it Elisabeth, I changed my name on FB some months ago just because I was trying to let go of the past. My divorce isn’t over yet and I still have to use other name with bills, credit cards and such. At the time I changed it I was thinking about my boys and 2 granddaughters. Besides I had that name much longer then my maiden name. Now after reading your post I wonder how my boys would really feel. Thing is they don’t live with me, their older and on their own. I really think about my 2 granddaughters I’ve never met. It would be nice to at least have the same name as them. My oldest son now 27 has had nothing to do with me for 9 yrs. So still in limbo over that. Thanks for sharing your heart as always!
Denise, I’m so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing, but grateful for the small steps you’re able to take as you walk this hard road. -Elisabeth
Thank you for sharing Beth. I’ve been struggling with this same issue of changing or not myself lately. My divorce after two years of battling will be over Tuesday. I have it written in my paperwork I can change my name if I so choose. I’m still struggling with if I should or not. I have two older boys through a previous marriage, who honestly don’t care if I change my name or not, they didn’t like my soon to be ex so it probably would be nice but they know their lil brother will have that last name. I have a three year old who would still have my married name, so my struggle is do I keep it so he’s not “alone”…..
It’s a tough choice, Stephanie…but I believe you’ll know what’s right for you. And you don’t have to decide on divorce day…there’s plenty of time.
Congrats on taking this step!! I kept my married name after my divorce for a few well-thought-out reasons. I honestly didn’t expect to change it unless I got married again, but I decided to go back to my maiden name a year and a half later. It was so healing and empowering to do it in my own time and on my own terms. It WAS a huge pain and I still have some accounts that will never be correct, but I’m glad every day that I made the change!
I know how hard it is, but in many ways it was a very freeing experience for me when I changed my name.
Thank you for sharing this and so many of your stories!!!!
looking forward to many more!
Thank you. Lorraine!
There are a lot of things that affected me in my parents’ divorce, and my mom changing her married surname back to her maiden name wasn’t one of them. 🙂 I think most of us “kids” really are okay with it. We get it. It doesn’t harm our connection to our mom. I’ve even known some kids to take on their mom’s maiden name when the father was very MIA or abusive (not the case in our situation, and I was glad I was able to keep my dad’s surname because we needed more things to connect us to him since we mostly only saw him every other weekend). But yeah… go for it! And for what it’s worth, I do associate Klein with your writings already just because it was included on some of your books in the past!
Thank you for the affirmation, Sarah…this means a lot to me!