Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Boy Names Part Two

After I had Abraham, I was so euphoric over having three sons, I hoped we could have a dozen children. (The reality of three months morning sicknesses, though, makes that less realistic; with more children, and older children, the longer break in regular life becomes more costly each time.)

Our small hippie church was going through Psalms at the time, and the teaching elder waxed eloquent on poet Asaph: his elegant writing, his godly children—"Why don't we have more children named Asaph?"

And from the back, where I was nursing, I called out, "Consider it done!" which was well received by the amused congregation.

But though the congregation thought that was a joke, I was serious. There seemed to be so few godly fathers who had godly children in the Bible; that name inspired me.

Some years later, again expecting, I was sitting in church again, entirely lacking inspiration for a fourth name, and suddenly felt shaky. Not scary sick shaky, but holy experience shaky. I vaguely remembered a story I had heard somewhere about a man who God really commends in Jeremiah, but couldn't remember much about it. Zoning out from the sermon, I flipped through Jeremiah until I reached chapter 35.

God told Jeremiah to invite the family of Jonadab, son of Rechab, to the house of the Lord and serve them wine. So the family came, but when offered the wine, they said, "Our father told us to drink no wine and build no houses, but to live in tents, and we've obeyed him."

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and basically said that the family of Jonadab obeyed him, but God's own children wouldn't harken to him. Judgment was coming, but for the family of Jonadab, they would not want a man to stand before God forever.

This is an awesome story, made even more awesome by the realization that father Jonadab lived at the time of Ahab, about 250 years before Jeremiah. His family had obeyed him, generation after generation. Incredible.

And it had the needed J initial, and it felt really appropriate as we prepared to move to unimproved land. We lived in tents for a few weeks even! (We call him "Joe," and there are three generations of Joes in Phil's family, though from the more traditional "Joseph.")

It wasn't until recently that I looked up the meaning of those names. Jonadab means "Yahweh is bounteous" or "The Lord gave spontaneously," and Asaph means "collector, gatherer." I love the idea, as a farmer, that God gives his bounty and we collect it.

So we have four awesome boy names, and I had no inspiration for another.

The day I posted that I had no inspiration, the day I had started an email asking for prayer because I was just sad to be so uninspired, Phil had actually come to me and said, "I've been thinking about boy names, and I think I have one."

Caleb! Middle name: Enoch.

There are no Js, but then, we're really in a new period in life. This baby will not have an even year birthday; it won't have a brother about two years apart; it won't be born in my twenties; it will be a native Virginian and not a Coloradan. So why not really shake things up and go with all unique initials?

We both love the story of Caleb, who, as a younger man stood up to peer pressure and encouraged faithfulness of the people. When voted down, God preserved him, and so, as an octogenarian (!) asked Joshua for a mountain full of Anakim that he would take. And he took it, and it was his inheritance.

I resonate with saying, "Give me that mountain." I resonate with living well and finishing well, with going against the easy way of the culture, with having faith that what God says he is able to accomplish.

Not to mention that the /k/ and /l/ sounds mesh well with the /l/ and /k/ sounds of our last name.

And since high school I've liked Enoch. What could be better than that a man walk with God? It's probably not best as a first name, but as a middle name: perfect (with a /k/ sounds, too).

The crazy thing about this is that the day after Phil suggested Caleb, his aunt emailed to suggest a name: Caleb! "I love the name and his character in scripture is stellar." How fun!

So now this baby can come and have a name right away, whether boy or girl. And that is something to celebrate!


  1. Awww - Amy thank you for writing all of that out! So beautiful!

  2. We had a similar thing with the initial A. Everyone has one, except our baby. It was strange to break that tradition, but it felt right. All of our kids are born on even years, too. How exciting!

  3. I like your names choices! They do sound good with your last name.