What Story is Your Life Telling?

“Names have power, like magic spells.” – Cinderella, 2015

Have you ever not liked your name? Or a name people called you?

My name is Deanna Joy and growing up I hated it.

In a time of Saved By the Bell and Full House, it was so different and people could never pronounce it — or my Americanized-Greek last name for that matter.

I so longed to be called DJ — like DJ Tanner from Full House — but, alas, no one ever did.

dj tanner

As I have gotten older though, I have come to love and even find deep meaning and beauty in my name.

From the Valley

My whole life, my mom has told me that the reason she named me Deanna (pronounced Dee-ana 👏 , not Dee-na 👎) was because she read that it meant “God’s princess.” It also didn’t hurt that her father’s name was Dean. 😉

After much searching on the internet, I’ve never been able to substantiate her exact claim. I’m not calling my mom a liar, buuuuuuut the results I’ve found show something else entirely.

To my mom’s credit, I’ve seen the meaning “heavenly, divine” on occasion associated with my name, but never God’s princess.

Today, while Googling, I found a new one that I don’t so much love, “judgment.” Yikes!

wiig yikes

Overall, the most consistent meaning I’ve found for Deanna, Diane or Dean has been “valley” or “of/from the valley.”

Nobody Puts Baby (Girl) in a Corner

The other part of my name is a little easier to figure out the meaning of.

When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, she just knew I was going to be a girl. After having two boys, you can imagine her feelings when she ended up being right about my gender — hence Joy.

What’s in a Name?

Names we are given, names we call ourselves and each other matter —because we can start to believe them and live them out.

During a summer in South Africa, one really interesting thing I noticed was the importance of people’s names/the meaning of their names. It seemed as though for some, the name they were given was like a hope for or a blessing spoken over their life.

In the Bible, name meanings usually carry great significance and often represent the story being told through that individual’s life.

Two examples I like are Ezra and Nehemiah — two profits from the Bible who God communicated messages to His people through. Ezra’s name meant “help is here” and Nehemiah’s name meant “God wipes away our tears.” Their lives were spent telling those messages about God to the world.

Joy From the Valley

When you combine the meanings of my two first names, you basically get “joy from the valley.”

If you know me well and the various valley’s — or low points — I have faced thus far in my story and you know how much I love to laugh, this meaning rings pretty true.

This is the story — that joy can be found in the midst of the valleys we walk through — I believe God is revealing to me and wants to tell through my life.

Now, all this may sound super weird or naive but think about it.

Your life — no matter what you believe, what you’ve been through, are doing now or will do in the future — tells a story that impacts the world around you.

What is the story your life is telling?

Sometimes my story tells people I’m afraid, it’s all about me and I don’t really believe the things I say with my mouth — or type my fingers.

Other times, my story communicates that no matter what you’ve been through or are going through now, joy can be found and good can come, when let God in.


What does your name mean?

What story is your life telling?


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