Saturday, April 20, 2013

What's In A Name?

I had originally planned on finishing this post back in January - the week Jeremiah was born, actually!  But, having him caused me to be slightly busy that week.

This weekend is a big weekend. He is being dedicated at church Sunday! So I wanted to share the story behind his name.

Baby naming is serious business! Your child is going to have that name forever (barring you stick them with something so horrific that they actually go through the name change process...)!  I had theories about baby names. I didn't want something super common. I also didn't want something so unique people thought it was made up.  Ideally, I wanted names that weren't in the top 20 of baby names but were in the top 200. I figured that was a good guide to avoid too trendy and too obscure. Good plan, right?

We started talking names early.  By 8 weeks, we had our girls' name set in stone. We would later throw around other names, but still consistently came back to our top choice (I'm not going to share it at this time). It had family elements to it and non-family elements. It was, to us, the perfect name.

A boy's name was always more challenging for us.  John is the 4th John (insert last name here) in his family. It's his great-great-grandfather's name, his great-grandfather's name, his grandfather's name, and his name.  He isn't John Jeremiah (last name) IV, though. They have different middle names. So our plan was to continue that tradition.  We would call our baby by his middle name if our baby was a boy.  So the search was on for a name.

In addition to popularity, name meanings were also very important to us. So names we were considering had to have a meaning we liked as well.

Our first boy's name was John Harrison.  That was "the" name for about a week.  We told family and friends that we had our girl name and our boy name.  John Harrison.  I loved it. It was my idea, and John liked it as well.  We were all set.

And then we weren't. I woke up one day not liking it anymore. Actually, I still liked it, but I don't like the nickname "Harry."  And all I could think was that people were going to call him Harry.

What other names did we consider and even "settle" on?

John Emmanuel - this was another one we agreed on.  I loved the meaning "God with us." But it wasn't quite right.

John Richard - John liked this one. I never did.

John Russell - I liked this one (and it was my grandfather's name). John never did.

John Alexander - John liked it a lot, and I liked it okay.

John Isaac..... John Benjamin..... John Chase..... John Steven.... John Judah.... I could go on, but that's all I remember right now.  One name that I had liked for years was Jeremiah, but it was ruled out since that is John's middle name. We weren't planning on doing a junior.

Fast forward to about 14 weeks.  While praying for our baby, I felt strongly that our baby had a prophetic anointing.  Specifically, I heard that our baby was going to have a voice.  I remember googling baby names that meant "voice."

Fast forward another couple of weeks.  We got our first (of many) scary test results. Overall, I handled them okay, but I was still really worried. One thing that really helped was a book I was reading at the time Praying Through Your Pregnancy... the same day I got the bad test results I read a chapter and in it, they talked about another lady who had gotten the exact same results as me, but she clung to a verse in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." That was very comforting to me.... God knew our baby and He is the one who was forming him or her inside of me.  The verse goes on to say "before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."  That part of the verse kept resonating in me.  That was twice in two weeks that I felt I had a specific word about our baby being a prophet.

Throughout the next two weeks while I was waiting to meet with the specialist, I kept feeling God speak to me encouragement from the book of Jeremiah. These verses helped my faith stay secure that God had His hand on our baby and he or she was going to be alright.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future."

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know." 

Jeremiah 29:13 "You'll seek me and you'll find me when you search for me with all your heart."

Over and over, I felt both comfort that God had created our little baby for a purpose, and I had faith that no matter what the test was showing as a possibility, that purpose was NOT to either die in utero or die at birth.  In fact, I strongly felt he would have a healthy, strong life.

I looked up the meaning of the name Jeremiah. It means "God will uplift."  I can say for a fact, throughout my pregnancy, throughout the scary test results, the bed rest, the pre-eclampsia, the 31 hours of labor, the c-section..... God uplifted me.  God protected me and Jeremiah throughout. I am healthy. I have a healthy baby boy.

(If you've been reading my blog or know me, you probably know that the rest of the pregnancy did not go smoothly.  Jeremiah was born with a couple of minor health problems. However, if you were to see him now, you would never guess that he was in Special Care for 4 days, had to be taken back and forth to the doctor and hospital for 3 weeks due to his failure to gain weight, etc. He is approximately 16 pounds! At 3 months old!!!)

So, at one point during that two weeks, I brought up the subject of names again to John. He knew the different verses God had been speaking to me, so I just said "I know we didn't want to do a Junior, but I really think that if this baby is a boy" (which I strongly thought it was) "we should name him Jeremiah." He thought for a minute and said "Okay."  And that was that. We never looked back on his name.  We didn't change our mind the way we did with other names. We just knew it was the right name for him!

About a day or two after that, we found out that Jeremiah was in fact Jeremiah.  He was a boy! We told our parents the name the same day we told them he was a boy.

So Jeremiah's full name of John Jeremiah (last name) II means "God is gracious; God will uplift."  The grace of God truly got us where we are today, through the pregnancy and through our lives.  God uplifted us every day and I believe He will continue to pour His grace on Jeremiah throughout his life and continue to uplift him every step of the way.

Happy, healthy, sweet baby Jeremiah
(P.S. We still didn't like the "Jr." part, so we just decided to make him "the Second" instead of "Jr.!" Easy solution!)


  1. He is such a cutie. I can't wait to meet him in person!

  2. Love when God chooses the name...makes it so much easier to finalize the process. =) He did that same thing with Stephen!

    I was always confused - because I thought his name was Jeremiah...then I kept seeing his blanket...John I know. =)

  3. Thanks for sharing Deanna! That was awesome! So glad all of you are doing well!
    ~Jessie Hall

  4. Congratulations Deanna. He is a little cutie!