Deciding on a baby name is hard. The baby will have this name into old age. Well, barring any weird and crazy hippie turn of events, as when my friend Mim’s son changed his name to Human Being…
In baby naming, there are so many factors to think about. Initials, the sound of the name, the way it flows with the last name. Nicknames, the way it fits with sibling names, middle name pairings, popularity or originality (depending on your personal flavour of soup), and of course, name meanings.
The meaning of a name is crucial because it is the most frequent way you will speak destiny over your child. It is the way to talk about fate over him or her every day without even thinking about it. Picking a name that carries a spiritual meaning is not only declaring something to the spiritual powers but also sets a course for that child to hear over and over again about his or her intended course in life.
Below I suggest a few ways for future parents to choose a meaningful baby name:
1. Look up the translation/ name meaning
Probably the most common way to think of giving a child a meaningful name. If you don’t have a traditional baby names book, try a site like Behind the Name or Baby Center.
Even a boring name like John means something. (John means “God is gracious,” which is pretty darn cool.) (Yes, I said it was boring. But I have known plenty of non-boring Johns in my life, so the boringness of a name does not seem to indicate how the person will turn out. Insert big cheesy smiley face here.)
Silas comes from Sylvanus; sylvan is a Latin name meaning “forest, woods.” Of course, we infused extra spiritual meaning into this, more than just “you are a tree.” Trees have tons of Biblical symbolism, including prosperity, growth, righteousness. A forest is a peaceful place to me, as well, and his spirit has been so gentle and quiet from the beginning.
2. Name the child after another person
Many people will name a son after his father, grandfather, or uncle. Others will name them after a saint, as in the Catholic tradition. (In Poland, you are not even legally allowed to name your child other than naming it after an officially recognised saint… which is why I am American. Sheesh!)
Others will take the anointing of a Biblical character name for their child. We did this in the case of Pippa. People think we named her after the sister of Prince William’s wife. Yeah, sure, I love Brits. But Pippa is a shortened version of Philippa, which is the female version of Philip, who was the first person recorded in the Bible (besides Christ) to have been teleported. His story is just incredible. He started out his ministry waiting tables, but he didn’t discourage him from being a crazy influential evangelist.
3. Name the baby after a place
I have heard Emma after “the road to Emmaus” and Mariah after “Mount Moriah.” I know a family that has a whole posse of children with city names. I personally love the city of London, and I almost named a child London several times—it has a nice ring to it—but it hasn’t entirely made it into the family annals yet.
Naming a child after a place has several cool possibilities for meaning. If you have spent time in that place, you might have experiences from there that have been formative or significant in some more profound way. Otherwise, the place could carry some sort of hope or promise in another way. It is really up to you and your life experience to put meaning into it!
Symbolism in a name meaning brings me to #4
4. Name the baby something symbolic
For Sparrow, my dad was a little shocked at our choice. He is a pretty literal person, and the only verse in the Bible about Sparrows, he pointed out, says, “You are worth more than many sparrows.” I had to explain that the name was symbolic to us of God’s great love and care for people. We were not relegating her to the place of a small bird in God’s eyes. Instead of saying, “you are only worth a sparrow,” it was like reminding her and ourselves every single day, “God cares for you. You are precious. He will always provide for you.”
For Silver, all three of her names are chosen on the symbolic level, which is my favourite way to pick names. God had spoken the name June into my heart, but I didn’t know why. Name her June? In the middle of January? I decided to look at the corresponding Hebrew calendar; I came away with all the relevant meanings for the name ‘June’.
Here are some of the name meanings that are attached to the names we chose for our new baby, Silver Poppi June:
Silver: precious, valuable, beautifully refined, elegant
Poppi: (variation of Poppy, from the poppy flower, symbolism taken from Poppies in history, literature, and Christian tradition) Messages wafting up through our dreams, the promise of blossom, rest, beauty, success, consolation, fertility, and eternal life. Poppy as consolation is really meaningful to me right now, as I miscarried a baby on Christmas day just a year before Silver Poppi was born.
June: The Hebrew month of Sivan, which is the corresponding Hebrew Calendar month for June, is the season of the wheat harvest when people gave their first fruits to God. It is also the season of Pentecost when the people of God were given the Holy Spirit. It has many symbolic ties to marriage and covenant. As stated in Ngabo, the word Sivan means:
the month of vision, and the power to walk, meaning to move and accelerate in our service of God. In Sivan, everybody saw the revelation on Mount Sinai, the giving of the Torah (the old testament). The blowing of the shofar and fire witnessed God’s covenant agreement that He made with the children of Israel on Mount Sinaingabo.net
The first paragraph is especially poignant, and I am taking it as a prophetic declaration over our family.
So if you are having a hard time picking a baby name try out my suggestions!