I’m always on the lookout for good names for our children. Joanna’s middle name is Elizabeth which was easy to pick. My mother’s name is Elizabeth (Liz) and Kirk’s mother’s name is Mary Elizabeth (Beth). Joanna we actually found on-line and it means “God is gracious.” I was later to find out through a friend whose name is also Joanna that Joanna was actually one of the women that went to the tomb and discovered Jesus’ body wasn’t there. I didn’t believe her and had to look it up (Lk 24:10).
Samuel was almost named something else, which I won’t say because we might still use it, for his first name but his middle name was always going to be Paul (after my dad). We switched his first name to Samuel only a couple of weeks before he was born. We realized that he was the first boy born of the next generation with the last name Ward. Kirk’s grandfather’s name is Samuel Ward. He named his son Samuel Keith. Uncle Keith didn’t have any sons but his brother did and he named him Samuel Ward (I forget all the middle names but they’re all different). That Samuel hadn’t had a son at the time our Sam was born and all the other grandkids of that generation were born to daughters who now have married names. Long story, but significant to our family. The other part of the name that is more personal to me is that Samuel means “heard by God.” Hannah named her son Samuel after praying and pleading with God to give her a child and promising to give him back to God. I was sick through my whole pregnancy with Sam and prayed every day that God would give me what I needed to get through and he heard me and provided.
So why did I name this post “Cursed Ground?” The other day I was reading in Genesis about Noah and read a verse that stuck out at me and made me love the name Noah. Genesis 5:28-29 says, “When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.'” (*Noah sounds like the word for rest.) I think that there is a lot to naming a child and putting thought and meaning into their name. So often in the Bible people really became what their names meant. In Kenya, where I grew up, you could tell something about people from their name. When they were born, what was going on then, what order they were in the family, if they had been born after a child who had died, etc. I would love to have a child named Noah and have this blessing over his life.