Monday, March 21, 2011

What's in a name?

I've really enjoyed (with the help of my opinionated husband) choosing names for our little clan. When we were pregnant with Ben, we decided that we liked the idea of giving each child one biblical name and one family name. I also like knowing the meaning behind names. Brian isn't as concerned with knowing what a name's root is, but he is adamant that we don't use any "weird" names. (I have giggled much over the years at what names have fallen into the weird category for him.) Anyway, agreements over Ben and Grace came fairly easily. Here's how we got there:

Benjamin Wayne
- Benjamin is a strong, Old Testament Hebrew name and it means "Son of my Right Hand." While it was the name of the youngest of all of Jacob's sons, I love the word picture that is painted when thinking about our firstborn. Jesus is mentioned over and over as being at the right hand of the Father. It makes me think of Ben as holding a special place of honor in our family, which he certainly does!
- Wayne is Brian's dad's name and Brian's middle name. I like that his middle name recognizes both his Grandad and his Daddy. He also has the same initials as his Daddy and his Uncle Brad. Oh, and because I'm sure you're dying to know, the name Wayne is of English origin and means craftsman or wagon-driver... random. :)

Augusta Grace
- Augusta is in honor of my paternal grandmother. She lived next door to us growing up and raised me right alongside my parents. She was quite a character. I could fill a book with stories about her and the ways she made me laugh, the ways that she doted on me, the ways that she made me crazy, and the ways that she embarrassed me. (I was staying with her when I, um, became a woman, and let's just say that discretion wasn't one of her strengths.) Mostly, when I think about her, I think of her work ethic, the pride she took in her family, and the way that serving others came so easily to her. Naming my baby girl after her was the least that I could do to say "thank you" for the love she showed me over the years. I've found a couple meanings of the name Augusta. One is "great" and the other is "venerated." I think they're both appropriate references to my Maw Maw Gus!
- I've wanted to use the name Grace since high school. I had a classmate named Grace and I thought it was the most beautiful name. As an adult, the name has taken on even more significance as I've grown in my faith and experienced the unmerited favor and love that Jesus offers me. As a mom, I am continually moved by God's grace... I receive it daily despite my many shortcomings, and God is teaching me to offer it, in turn, to my husband and children. My baby girl's name is a constant reminder of the way that God loves his children: generously and unconditionally.
- People have asked us why we named her Augusta Grace instead of Grace Augusta, since we would be calling her Grace. I have a very deep answer for that: because I thought it sounded better. Also, Brian's mom was given the name Judy as a first name, although she goes by her middle name, Diane. Now we have a little family trend going. :)

So, what about number three? I've been pretty convinced of our name choices from the beginning. I think it's been harder for Brian because although we talked about names all the time, we didn't have to commit to one because we didn't know the gender of the baby. For girls, we talked about Anna Elise or Annalise Mae. I couldn't decide for sure, probably because I was 99% convinced that we were having a boy. For boys, we liked Jacob (but it didn't flow with Barrick) and Connor (but it wasn't a family or bible name). Brian really liked Caleb. I really liked Noah (my boy pick before we knew Grace was a Grace). Regarding Noah during that pregnancy, Brian said, and I quote, "It's TOO biblical." To which I replied, "Short of naming a child Jesus, can a name really be TOO biblical?" (This resulted in a short recess to discuss the merits of the names Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai & Malachi.)
This pregnancy, when I suggested Noah, Brian climbed on board. (Thankfully, his memory is short.) So, Noah it was... until I was in recovery and he was in the NICU and he returned and told me he wasn't sure that Baby Boy was a Noah. Sigh. Ok, then take your time and let me know on birth certificate day. We revisited Jacob and Caleb while steering clear of Connor. I kept thinking about Noah. Ben was calling him Noah. My super nurse, Erika, and I talked about why I like Noah and before I knew it we were both crying. In my mind, he was definitely Noah... Brian just needed some time to get there on his own. When I was finally able to go down to the NICU with Brian (just 17 short hours after delivery) we rubbed his little head and held his tiny hands and it all just came together. I love you, Sweet Noah, and all that your name will come to mean to our family!

Noah James
- Noah, like Benjamin, has a strong presence in the Old Testament and is of Hebrew origin. About Noah, the Bible says he "was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." It also says that "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." The name Noah means "rest" and "comfort". The richness of all of this is too much to discuss here, but it makes my heart pound and swell with affection for the ways I know that the God of the Universe can bless and use my sweet baby boy.
- His middle name was chosen as a tribute to our family doctor, James Martin, who has walked us through three eventful and sometimes scary pregnancies. He has looked over the well-being of the five of us with a diligence and committment that typically only comes from close family. He has made us feel safe and cared for, and he treats us as though we are his favorite patients in the world. I imagine he makes all of his patients feel this way.

Anyway, so sorry for all the name drama. I'm sure it seems pretty anti-climactic for most people. We weren't trying to decide on the most unusual or epic name in the universe. We just wanted to be sure that the names we choose would do three things: that they would honor God, that they would be a fitting tribute to some special people in our lives, and that they would be a source of encouragement and pride for the precious little ones who will bear them. We love you Benjamin Wayne, Augusta Grace and Noah James!


  1. Thank you for sharing the naming of your children. I love the importance in names. It was not anti-climactic at all. I can't wait to meet sweet Noah!

  2. Read every sweet word. I was tearing up through most of it. The name is beautiful, but your love for your children is even more so!

    And I'm so happy for Noah's arrival!!