The Sound of a Name

She didn’t know it was him.

Not until he said,


She was looking for Jesus’ body after arriving to find an empty tomb, when Jesus himself asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” But she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name.

There is something intimate about someone you love gently speaking your name.

I remember when Corey returned home from climbing a mountain in Africa.


More than the sum of its three syllables, that deep man voice saying my name by the baggage claim sounded like love and felt like a refuge.

Maybe Mary felt something like that when Jesus said her name. 

I look forward to the day I meet Jesus face to face and hear the word “Kimberly” come from his mouth. But I have heard his voice speak my name softly, even here on this broken earth.

Lying awake in the dark after a cancer diagnosis, fearing the worst but clinging to my Savior, breaking through all the ugly thoughts I heard my name. Not audibly, but in my heart I could feel it.


And I recognized him. Just like the man he placed at my side 20+ years ago, his voice sounded like love and it felt like a refuge. And it brought peace where I had none.

I won’t pretend to know what was going through Mary’s mind that day 2000 years ago, but I can’t help but think that her name, spoken by her Savior sounded like love and felt like a refuge and gave her peace where she had none.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


  1. “When all you have to go on is the name, like in these studies when you’re just shown a name and asked about the personality, then maybe these sounds will play a role,” Sidhu says. “But as you start getting more information about the person, then that actual information about the personality is probably going to override these biases.” The research feeds into a growing body of evidence that challenges a long-held view in linguistics: that sounds are arbitrary, and have no inherent meaning. Instead, certain sounds have been found to evoke consistent associations not just with shapes and sizes, but even with flavours and textures. 

  2. And this mouth-feel of the words we use can influence how we experience the world. At any given moment we use an array of subtle cues to pull together information from all our senses, and make judgments and predictions about our environment. “There’s something there about how humans are fundamentally associative,” Pexman says. “We want to see patterns in things, we want to find connections between things, and we’ll find them even between sounds, and the things those sounds stand for in the world.”

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