What’s In a Name

Anyone who has children knows that choosing a name can be a challenging endeavour.

Ecclesiastes 7:1
A good name is better than fine perfume,

It’s important to have a name that you are proud of.

Our children have joked different times, making up names that would be funny.  For the ladies there is Ima Man, Eileen Left and Anita Potty.  For the men; Ben Dover or Bill Ding or even Cole Kutz.  When I was a little girl, our family physician was Dr. Nurse.

It is so easy to find meanings in words that were never intended.  (Or if they were, parents – what were you thinking????)

Recently I heard a story about a little boy who came into the room while his parents were watching the news.  He was potty training age so he was often without a diaper or drawers and you can guess what his fascination was.  His parents had been training him in modesty – but these things take time.

On the news came a story about the military.  The little boy became agitated and looked to his father with grave concern in his eyes.

“Daddy,” he insisted, “that man has a baaaad name!”
“What do you mean son?”
“His name is Privates!”

It is all too easy for us to misinterpret what someone else is saying.  This is where discernment comes in.  As mature adults, we would never confuse a soldier’s rank with the private parts of the body.  However, as a young child, it is easy to miss the meaning of someone’s words.

Proverbs 3:21
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;

Each of our daughters has a double meaning name.

Hannah means grace.  Abigail means joy.  Christianna means faith.  Each one of our girls is a double portion of her name.  Interestingly, each girl’s personality is completely in tune with her name.  Hannah Grace is kind and graceful, she reaches out to those around her and people are comforted when they are with her.  Abigail Joy is a bundle of giggles and smiles.  Her laughter is contagious and it is impossible to be down when she is around.  Christianna Faith is more reserved.  She often prefers the quiet company of adults.  She trusts implicitly and will crawl into my arms knowing she is safe.  Each girl is so different and yet she is living  the meaning of her name.

Our boys are a different story.  Matthew Alexander means “gift of God” and “brave defender of men”.  Interesting that he just joined the navy.  Zachaeus Daniel means “pure” and “God is my judge”.  Zachaeus is no respecter of persons (status).  He builds relationships based on trust and respect.  We were so careful in choosing their names for meaning we overlooked the fact that Matthew and Zachaeus were both tax collectors.  Both men, however, loved the Lord and lived to serve Him.

1 Chronicles 16:29
ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Our names are important to God – just as His name needs to be important to us.  Because we know who God is and trust His reputation His name has meaning for us.

Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

When others hear our name, how do they respond?  Is your name (reputation) one that others trust?  Do others know that you stand for what you believe?

I want my name to be synonymous with “She loves God.”   Stephanie means “princess” and I know that I am because my Father is the King of kings!

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