When I was a young teenager, I looked up the meaning of my name. According to the book that I checked, “Mary” meant “bitter” and “Ann” meant “grace”. Truth be told, the name fit. I was an extremely bitter young girl. Life circumstances had left me with a lot of unforgiveness in my heart, and it showed in the way I behaved towards, well, everyone. And everyone, especially family, needed a lot of grace to deal with me.
Years later, when I truly invited Jesus into my life, I wrestled with the meaning of my name. The Holy Spirit had changed me on the inside, but I felt that whenever people spoke my name, they were speaking my old strongholds over me. Perhaps it was a little silly, but I’m just being honest. It’s a small thing, but it bothered me.
One day, as I was reading my Bible, I came across a verse that said, “I have given you a new name. No longer will you be called barren…” A couple of days later, I came across another resource on the origin and meaning of names. According to this resource, “Mary” comes from the Greek word for “favoured one”. And in that moment, God spoke and said, “See? I have given you a new name.” When people spoke my name, they were not speaking bitterness over my life, but favour.
Perhaps it was a silly little thing. But at the time, to me, it was important. Which is why, when it came time to choose our own children’s names, my husband and I put so much thought and prayer into it.
When we found out that our eldest was going to be a girl (yes, we cheated and found out from the ultrasound), we decided to name her Evelyn Grace. Evelyn means “life”. The meaning of Grace is a no-brainer. Every time we say her name, we are speaking a life of grace over her. We are declaring that she will grow up to be full of life and grace. She will share that life and grace with others. And, at 15 months, full of life she is!
Yesterday, we found out that number two is also going to be a girl. We had, once again, spent considerable time thinking about and praying about a name. We decided on Paige Victoria. Paige means “servant” and Victoria means “victory”. Every time we say her name, we are declaring that she will become a victorious servant of God.
Choosing our children’s names has been one of the most precious privileges in life. I love their names. But, most importantly, I love the meanings. Every time people adress them by name, they are not just saying a name. They are speaking a destiny over their lives.