Have you ever considered the gravity of the situation when you choose a name for a child? I mean, that’s what they’ll be called by friends, family, teachers, the presenter of their high school diploma, and maybe even a spouse. For. Eh. Ver.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes that makes choosing a name for a child kind of nerve wracking. For real. How will it be spelled? Will it be some off-the-wall name that you want so that your kid’s name is uber unique and sticks out? Will it be a traditional or classical name? Maybe you’ll choose a name of a popular actor/actress or character name (done both of those ourselves) and hope that every other parent doesn’t think that moniker is awesomeness at the same time you do? How do/did YOU choose the name(s) for your child(ren)?
My husband had our eldest’s first name picked out back in 1999 when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was popular. This was way before we met and were married, mind you, so I didn’t choose the middle name until 2007. His names mean “Defender of man” and “God will help”. We wanted the names to sound good together and have a nice flow, but we find it important to also choose names based upon their meaning. It’s just what we do.
Our second son was born less than two years later. His first name came from an actor in the film Taken, and like his older brother his middle name comes from the Old Testament. His names mean “Strong-willed warrior” and “Strength of God”. Some folks balked at our choices asking if we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We don’t believe that the name makes the person, but his character certainly does reflect his name to a degree.
Our third son’s name was harder to choose. I felt like I had run out of good names at that point, and it took me months to find something that we both liked. Since we’d thought we were miscarrying at the beginning of the pregnancy but then continued to carry him, I really wanted a name that reflected the joy I was experiencing at God’s grace. Well, joy and grace are girl names, and any name I could find that sounded masculine and had one of those definitions was very foreign and hard to spell, let alone pronounce. Eventually after months of looking and thinking, we decided that a good fit would be names that mean “The LORD is my God” and “God is good”. We reveled in God’s grace toward us in allowing us to not lose our little one, and we felt these name meanings reflected our faith and trust in our King Jesus.
Enter baby girl. Girl. Weird. Still it is odd for me to think of a room decked in pink (though I told my friend the other day maybe she’ll favor purple and red like her momma). Since we’d had three boys, I totally expected the tech to tell us that we were having a fourth boy. Then again, I’d had a feeling for a while that I was growing a little girl. Intuition? I dunno. Whatever. Choosing baby girl’s name was both difficult and easy. Easy because my husband decided 10 years ago when his grandmother died that if we ever had a girl, she would share her grandmother’s name, though in the middle. It means “of nobility”. Difficult because her first name was tricky, and we’d have to add a second middle name or risk her sounding like an hispanic food.
Six years ago a Missionary Kid came and talked to a class I was attending and her name was one I’d never heard before that night. She shared its meaning and its origin. I haven’t been the same since that night. The origin is Hebrew, though her spelling is what my husband calls the “anglicized version”. Her parents pulled it from Exodus 34:6…“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”
That steadfast love of God? It’s unrelenting in pursuit. It’s faithful. It’s unbreaking. It’s never-failing. It’s constant. It’s firm. It’s amazing. God’s love is steadfast. That’s long been one of my absolute favorite attributes of God and consequently a favorite passage, plus the concept is repeated throughout Scriptures especially in Psalms (one of my favorite books). I fell in love with her name because it constantly reminds me how fiercely God loves His people. It’s not a common name. It’s rather unusual, really. It’s a name I’ve only heard once six years ago. Her name shall be called Kesed. That’s KEH-sid. Her name represents the character of a most gracious God to whom I have clung since I was seven years old. Her name will open gateways for the Gospel of Jesus. Her name, just like those of her three older brothers, was chosen with great care, thought, and prayer.
Kesed’s name is bound to raise eyebrows and get funny looks, but we don’t care. I’m SO thankful that my husband loves her name and appreciates how important it and the meaning are to me. I am SO thankful to Jesus for demonstrating this kind love, this steadfast love, on the cross when He sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty for my sins. I’m SO thankful that we can choose names that reflect our journey in life and how we are choosing to live it. We chose this name just for her and choosing her name has been an act of glorifying God our Father. I can’t wait to tell her this story because it is my heart. I hope she loves it as much as we do.