Sunday, August 24, 2008

What In The Name Of...

I've been thinking- because I've been left to my own devices lately- about names, what they mean, and whether or not they suit the person.
Take my name, Gina (a diminutive form of Regina), for example:
Late Latin name meaning "queen". It was in use as a Christian name from early times, and was borne by a 2nd-century saint.

In a conversation with one of my sisters about this topic, she laughed when she heard the meaning of my name. Why? Because she says it suits me perfectly. I don't know if my parents knew the meaning of my name when they gave it to me or not, but I have heard over and over that it matches up to my personality quite well. (I hope just the good aspects of being a queen, nothing proceeded by "Drama" or "Drag" or the like.)
When I named my own children I picked names that I liked that had meanings I could live with. You know, nothing like Jabez, or Delilia, or Jezabel. What surprises me, it how much each of my children suit their names- or the other way around. Check it out:
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishay) which possibly meant "gift". Jesse was the father of King David in the Old Testament.
Jesse was a gift that I didn't deserve. He is a perfect example of how God can take our sin and turn it into something beautiful that we don't deserve.

Means "dog" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this was the name of one of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Israel. Of the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who lived to see the promised land.
Caleb is faithful. He is loyal to a fault. He is a faithful companion and a whole hearted servant. Where Jesse has all the "big ideas," Caleb is the one to see them through.

From the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". It appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist.
If Elizabeth ever doubts what I say, I can show her where it comes from in the bible and that is the end of the discussion. If God said it, then it is good enough for Elizabeth.

From the Hebrew name אֲבִיגָיִל ('Avigayil) meaning "my father is joy". In the Old Testament this was the name of Nabal's wife. After Nabal's death she became the wife of King David.
Abigail is the light of her Heavenly Father reflected as joy. She is also the delight of her earthly father.

From the Hebrew name יוֹנָה (Yonah) meaning "dove". This was the name of a prophet swallowed by a fish, as told in the Old Testament Book of Jonah. He emerged from the fish alive three days later.
The holy spirit is shown as a dove in the Bible. Jonah is the gentlest of all my kids, like a dove. There is a funny story about when Jonah was born. I didn't know what sex he was, but had only picked out the name Jonah. I went into labor with him on a Saturday, labored all day and then stopped. After 3 days I went back into labor and Jonah was born. Coincidence?

So, friends, here is my question to you: Do you think that we become our names, or does God guide us to the name that our child is? Tell me what you think.


Kat said...

Hmmm. My name means "pure one." Which is amusing on so many levels. My oldest daughter's name is a variation on mine, and thus means the same thing. And then my youngest's name means "from Magdala." So...not sure how she would live up to that :-)

Tracy P. said...

Hi Gina! I stopped by yesterday but most remarkably was distracted before I could leave a comment. Ha!

Thanks for coming by The Journey, and wow, for putting me on your list! How lucky am I!

I love to think about the meanings of names, too, and how cool that the Lord gave you such perfect names for your kids. I guess I lean that direction instead of the other way around.

How did you do on your list? :-)

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I have a Caleb too! And my name, Sarah, means "princess" which is totally appropriate, as I live in a household of boyz!

Tamie said...

i think that we as parents are guided by the Lord to choose the right name for our child. In reality, He knows them better than we do, and we are only taking care of them and teaching them for a little while. He knows who they are and if we are willing, He will tell us who our little angel is ging to be.
i also think that we do become our name in a way...though, i must say that I don't think that i've ever looked up the meaning of my name...i'm sure i will today though!