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I Threw Away My Old Name

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

I used to just believe the stuff right in front of my face. The stuff I could see with my literal, physical eyes. The stuff that makes your heart go… oh…. That? That’s it? That’s all? Yikes.

Pretty much from day one I walked through life as a chronic wisher. If I could choose one word to describe my personality, it might have to be “LONGING”. Like deep, deep never satisfied. Insatiable. Howling. Life tinted gray. Why not this? Why am I obsessed about this other thing that I can’t have?

Hungry, always hungry. Parched, too. Aching. Always looking at the other side. I personally might have this good and wonderful thing, but I can’t be satisfied—because THEY don’t have this. I could never, never, never get enough.

Let me let you in on the secret life existence of Alyssa Farrell.

Without much thought, I started calling myself “ORPHAN” when I was ten years old because it felt like I was—I wasn’t. Yet I saw the gaps and they consumed me. My parents aren’t this or this or this or this for me when I need them to be. I’m lost. I’m alone. I’m misunderstood. I’m not held. I’m not beloved.

This is the name I chose. My eyes took in the cavities and named myself and my world around them. So I chose the path of abandonment. I donned the identity of rejected. Loner. Misfit. Other. Outskirts. Unloved.

It’s not like I wanted this lens. It was simply the only reality I could catch sight of.

So my internal world was a chaos. It actually was for a really, really long time. But I remember things really ramping up when I was ten.

I hated my reality. My home was in shambles. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. My parents were basically out of commission to me.

What was worse? The panic started overtaking my body. I couldn’t stop the rapid fire stabbing in my chest. It hurt so much I saw a doctor. “CHEST PAINS”.

I couldn’t stop the anvil from dropping in my stomach. It wouldn’t just pummel quick without warning. I could feel the slow descent. Coming down, down, down. Sending shock waves rippling through my body. Tension aching inside.

Those tears that couldn’t stay in my eyes. Obsessive thoughts of dread and shame.

It was all just another item on my name tag. Hello, my name is… dump, dump, dump. Shit, shit, shit, shit, “SHIT”.

I started realizing something, though. As I would lay at night on my mattress next to my brother, waiting to fall asleep. I was living in a gray house. All I could see were dark, bleak concrete walls. But that wasn’t all. I knew that wasn’t all.

So, when I lay there, I started seeing it different. Not just bare, gray, hard, cold, lonely four walls. What else?

Yellow, marigold dew. It smelled like cinnamon and honey wafting under my door. It glowed like sunshine in morning mist. It dripped like golden olive oil.

It was the promise of angels protecting me in the night when I felt unsafe by darkness. It was the hope of the very presence of God. Who was God? I hardly knew then, or now, truly. Just a drop. But I’m sure that drop is like pure, liquid radiance.

I pictured it then. How it would flow from inside. Slide under the crack beneath the front door. Burst that door open. Wave through the windows. They’d open too, shining gold.

The roof of the gray house would crack quietly at first as shingles started falling. Then sunflower sunrise would slip, slip, slip out so hard the whole roof would tear and all that shine would pour fourth.

Here’s what I started to realize. This gray, orphan house can’t be everything. There must be more hope beyond. Life cannot be just what I see, touch, feel, taste, smell, hear. There’s got to be more. Otherwise, I’m just gonna be here. Living in the darkness, shadows. Chest pains and self-ripping obsessions and all. That can’t be it.

I was meant for more.


No wonder I’ve been consumed with thirst for more. No wonder longing has been my name. This gray house just doesn’t cut it.

What if I could no longer be named by the stuff I could see… and instead the stuff I couldn’t see? Gray for marigold.

Here’s the thing. I’m going to be filled to every brim of every vessel I’ve got—with wishes. Wishes for other, different, somehow more. You guys. Our imaginations can be amazingly apt. So I could picture anything better, right?

But what if it’s different than that? What if it’s not prayers about what I want? What if I let go of what I can see? Lean in, MORE.

I can’t see the best thing here. But love? Greatest goodness? Most pure and precious lover? What do you want for me? Who do you say that I am?

He doesn’t call me anxiety. He doesn’t call me unsafe. He doesn’t call me unprotected, alone, uncared for, abandoned, skipped-over, forgotten—unwanted. He doesn’t call me powerless or shame or fear.

When I finally asked? Fourteen years later, hahaha.

He calls me one word, immediate and steady.


Here’s where the story gets so, so good.

How did I change my old name for the new? It happened through yellow. It happened through anointing oil.

My brother opened the bottle and dripped some on my head. It was our friend’s oil. He looked over. She said keep pouring.

I felt it swell all over my head. Imagine a cake covered by lemon icing. Sugar glaze dripping down the sides.

Oil filled my eyes and slipped through my lips, ran down my throat. Hot!!! So hot and burning. My eyes and my throat were ablaze.

Our friend said, Alyssa you need to start confessing truths about who God is to you. You need to start dwelling there—in the truth. Good, yellow-gold truth even if it’s hard to believe. Name it. Sit there in it. Start opening your blind eyes, opening your throat cavity. Let the golden light in.

I yelled it loud. God loves me! I am safe with God! I am protected! He provides for me! I am chosen! He is safe! He loves me! He loves me, he loves me, he loves me.

I didn’t believe any of that. Okay, I did somewhat. But I had to say it because I wasn’t actually LIVING there yet. But that’s where I wanted to dwell, I decided.

I want to live there in the yellow sunshine glow. Maybe I won’t see it yet, or feel its reality. Maybe it will still be unseen. But I would rather spend my days searching for and living in anticipation of unseen goodness and love than being called by my old names of scarcity, brokenness, and doubt.

He calls me BELOVED.

Ask him! What does he call you?

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Hudson Farrell
Hudson Farrell
Oct 22, 2023


Alyssa Farrell
Alyssa Farrell
Oct 28, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, dear!


Alyssa Farrell
Alyssa Farrell
Aug 22, 2023

Hello, lovely friend!

If you made it through this post, thank you! Thank you for staying with me to listen to part of my story. I’d love to come alongside YOUR journey of discovering who you are, who you really are!!

Here are a few questions to ask and get you started. Take a moment. Get away. Breathe. Whisper these:

  • Is there anything I’m afraid of or anxious about right now?

  • Where do I have joy?

If you’re BRAVE!!! (: Here are a few questions you may ask your Creator. Be surprised by his answers:

  • God, what is the most important thing you want me to know right now?

  • What is one place in my life where I’m not walking…

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