16 September 2011

What's In a Name?

Do you know what your name means?  Do you know what your children’s names mean?  Names are powerful, and can have positive or negative impact on our lives. Just think of Jabez in the Bible. The meaning of Jabez is "he who causes pain". Despite the fact that Jabez was one of her best children, his mother gave him that name because of all the pain she suffered during labor. His life was very painful because of this. So painful that he cried out to God, asking for Him to relieve him from pain, not to be delivered into temptation, to be delivered from evil and to enlarge his territory. God, being merciful, answered his prayer.

I know that it's not the intention of many mothers to cause this multitude of grief on their child, but Jabez's mother was out of line on this one. No child asks to be brought into this world, nor does any child understand the pain of childbearing unless and until they become a parent.

In an act of defiance, better known as a tantrum, I asked my mother over and over why she couldn't name me something common, like Theresa or Yolanda. After she allowed me to vent, she finally responded with, "Because you are a unique leader.” Okay, that made me smile. I left her alone after that response because I felt it was deep!

Later in life, I found out that my name, Alena, means "torchlight". The meaning became more profound when I reflected on my life and began to think of my days running track in high school and college. I am the oldest of my siblings. I was the first to move away from home and the first to move out of my hometown. I think it is safe to say that I absolutely love my name because it matches the life that I live. 

My message for future parents is select an appropriate name for your child. The name will have an impact on their life.  Cute names are just that, cute. Don't try to keep up with the Jones'. Think of your child and do some research before deciding a name for your bundle of joy. Pick a name that they can potentially live up to.  One that you will be proud to share the meaning of.

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