Throughout the Bible there are stories of people whose names were changed after an encounter with God. Abram became Abraham, Simon became Peter and Saul became Paul, to name a few. There was always a significance to the meaning of the new name, which was given by God to that person.
My actual name is Angela. It means "angelic" or "heavenly messenger." I've always wanted to have a nickname, but somehow "Angie" never quite fit. And I've never liked the meaning of my name; it also never seemed to fit me.
Over the years, I have had many encounters with God that changed my life. One of the most memorable was when a pastor sat and cried with me over injustices I had suffered, and then gently - through his tears - encouraged me to "extend grace." It was at that point I realised I had no idea what grace was or meant, despite the fact that I had grown up with church and the Bible.
When we moved to Africa I had another such encounter with God in which I decided that I want my life mission and offering to be one of extending grace to the world. I feel so strongly about that call that I had the words "extend grace" tattooed on myself, partially so I won't forget (because if you want to know the truth, I'm still learning about grace. It's a hard concept for me to grasp as it generally means giving up all forms of selfishness, which I'm also not good at.)
It was also at this point that I discovered the name Annie as an alternative nickname to Angela. I liked it. I had no idea what it meant, though, and wanted to find out. Turns out that Annie means "grace." It might not make a big difference to you, but to me, it is as significant as any other name change in the Bible.