Monday, September 17, 2007

What's Really in a Name?

I've been thinking about my kids' names lately, and though this thought is not a new one, I've been amazed at the ways they are like their namesakes, and the ways they are not.

First there was Mike, officially Michael Pearl (yes, he's a guy and his middle name is Pearl. So sue me.), named after the obvious guy who we've been friends with for many, many years. Our Mike wound up being 6'4" tall, and his namesake is 6'6". That wouldn't be a big deal, except that both Ben and I are 5'7 or less. We've been asked more than once if we are his natural parents. But as far as personalities go, they couldn't be more different, at least at first glance. The original Mike is very much the man in command, while our Mike is easy-going and just likes to be happy. But if you dig deeper, you find that like his namesake, our Mike is a born teacher. Don't get him started on any subject you don't want to hear all about, because he surely knows a lot and will inform you of that pretty quickly.

Then there's Darlin' Deb, officially Deborah Shiloh. She was named after the above-mentioned Michael's wife, and we came up with the middle name ourselves. She is very much like Debi Pearl in that she has a good deal of fire, but has always been good at controlling it and knowing when to let the sparks fly. Shiloh was a place in the Bible where the Israelites went to rest, and Deb has grown up to make herself and her new hubby a restful home.

After that we had Lovely Leah Grace. Now Leah has her share of spunk too, but she was always the quietest one of the girls, very meek and mild. Then she went to college and got involved with the College Republicans and now she's a pit bull, but that's another story for another day. And she's graceful. Sort of. At least she's graceful when she's walking on level ground and there's no rain or snow. She's been known to fall up concrete stairways at school, and keeps a perpetually sprained ankle. I feared the worst when she said she wanted to take a bike to school this year - that girl needs full body armour. Leah gets aggravated because every book she ever reads that has a character named Leah portrays the girl as weak and sickly. Go figure. We liked the name Leah because of the Leah in the Bible. Although she was not favored by Jacob, she was favored by God, in that she bore the first son (actually the first four), she bore Judah, and she was buried in the favored cave of Machpelah (with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob), while Rachel was buried "in the way."

Then came Abigail Joy, or Abbie, as she likes to be called. I'm the only one who calls her Abigail and gets away with it. We named her after the Abigail in the Bible, because Abigail was an honorable woman and had a lot of spunk. She was no wilting wallflower, and went after what she knew was right. And Joy for obvious reasons. Now, when Abbie was a baby, she cried more than I thought was humanly possible. Seriously, if she wasn't eating or sleeping, that girl was crying. Even my mother called her Crabigail and bought her a T-shirt in Maryland with a big red crab on it that said, "I'm Crabby." But somewhere along the way, she did a complete 180. This child is the happiest person I've ever met in my life. She can find something to be happy about in the most dire circumstances. What a joy! She was very aptly named.

And finally, Elijah Matthew. When I was pregnant with Elijah, my friend Debi wrote me a letter and said she believed Elijah would be special, and that from afar, she was laying her hands on my belly by faith and praying for him to be a great man of God. What a huge responsibility, to think we have the opportunity to shape a soul for God's purpose! We chose his middle name because at the time, there was a young man who worked with Ben (named Matt) who we were trying to win to Christ. We decided on Matthew, claiming that young man for God, and it wasn't too long later that God saved him. We had the opportunity to minister to his family in a great way after that, but that's another long story.

So there you have it. I don't know why this all came out just now, but it's been on my mind today and I had to purge my files to make room for more drivel. I only have so much RAM, you know.

Be thankful ~



Justice Fergie said...

i love the "RAM" comment! I'm SO using that. Glad to have found your blog. Thanks for the shout out on your blogroll!

Your family is beautiful :)

What does "bensrib" mean? i have an inkling...

bensrib said...

It's just an indication that Ben is my hubby and I'm his "rib." We've had people ask if Ben was a chef - as in, he cooks ribs. I thought that was pretty lame. And why would I have that on my license plate?

carrielouise said...

Names are so important. It seems like you put a lot of thought into yours. Very cool!

Justice Fergie said...

lmao at the "he cooks ribs" comment. that is WAY lame.

i figured that's what your name meant. how romantic and reverent.