I Gave My Name Away

writing for God's glory

Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory.
(Isaiah 43:6-7)

I stood in the registration line with a handful of eager women, waiting to receive my conference notebook and name tag. This was one of those “I am a writer” moments–my first writers’ conference! Over 700 women converged on Concord, NC for She Speaks. I planned to learn and network with these ladies all weekend.

My registration became problematic when I gave them my name. You see, I am a Smith. A Kelly Smith. There are at least 2 of me at every event. You probably even know a Kelly Smith.

I looked at my name tag: Kelley Smith. They mistakenly gave my registration packet–the one with Kelly Smith on the name tag–to Kelley Smith. My heart sank. I could figure out my conference schedule and the swag bag was all the same. Not getting my name tag really bothered me.

FTL Launch Team

Members of For the Love Launch Team get to meet in real life. (L-R: Andrea Stunz, Rebecca Greebon, Anne Watson, Kelly Smith, Ann Stritt, Brooke Garrison)

One of the benefits of a conference like She Speaks is the networking. You meet writers, bloggers, and speakers from near and far. I came with a pocket full of business cards, ready to get my name out there.

And here I sat with an “-ey” on my nametag.

I fought feelings of disappointment. I knew it was silly. My true feelings came out when I explained it (let’s be honest– I whined) to my friend, Brooke.

“I came here to network. How will anyone remember me if I don’t have a name?

That is just ugly, y’all. But it is the truth. I stood among 700 godly women and had a little pity party over a name tag.

Brooke and I visited the prayer room prior to the first session. I took that disappointment and pride right in that room with me. I knelt by a chair to pray.

Lord, help me get a name tag. 

He gently hushed my anxious thoughts.

Why are you here?
Is it for your name or mine?
Why do you write?
Is it for your fame or mine?

Oh, the sorrow that filled my heart! When I got honest with myself in that sacred space, I realized that I came to this conference to receive glory and to be known. God brought me to this conference to show me His glory. He called me to write in order to make His name known.

This is a common struggle for many Christian writers. With so much emphasis in the writing community on platform and social media follows, it is easy to forget why we write.

I do not write so that my name will be known, but so that others will know the name of Jesus. 

I spent time in that prayer room laying down my pride. I held my name in open hands, offering myself to be used to share the name of Jesus. I accepted anonymity.

I gave my name away. 

Before I could get to the “amen,” my phone rang. The front desk retrieved my name tag from Kelley Smith. I now had a name!

But, I really didn’t need one after all.

writing for God's glory


  1. Kelly, you are one of a kind! I love this post and the humility it took to write about it. What a brave soul you are! So inspiring! I feel so blessed to have met you. XO

  2. Isn’t it interesting that the smallest, seemingly most insignificant things, can really throw us?

    On the other hand, so much of our identity is tied up with our name. I hear where you’re coming from today …

    And I hope that the conference was amazing!

  3. This is absolutely awesome! What a great story, Kelley. I mean Kelly. 😉 You wear your name and HIS name so well. I’m so thankful I got to meet you and can now call you a real life friend. Thanks, btw, for the EPFH shout out!

  4. What a great and timely article! I especially love the line that says, “Why do you write? Is it for your fame or mine?” I constantly have to remind myself of this. Thank you for your transparency in articulating and putting to paper your feelings.

  5. Love love love this.
    “Why are you here?
    Is it for your name or mine?
    Why do you write?
    Is it for your fame or mine?”
    I think we all struggle with pride on a regular basis, forgetting we are already deeply known and loved.
    I am so hoping I can go to She Speaks next year!

  6. I was at She Speaks last year too, and I can only imagine the added stress of having a name mix up (especially if you had publisher appts). I love how God used that little bump in the road to teach you such a valuable lesson about trusting Him. Thanks for sharing your story today, so encouraging!

  7. Lovely words as always, my dear friend. Such a good reminder and a beautiful, vulnerable story. Thank you for being you.

  8. Yes, we all need to lay down our pride and “our” anything in pursuit of “His” everything. Amen, Kelly Smith! 🙂

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