Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Names That Tell a Story

Malachi Justice Teshale Erb
Hadassah Joy Belaynesh Erb

Big names for such little people! Yes, our children do have long names:). But, every part tells a piece of their story and belongs in the very statement of their identity. I personally love name meanings and hearing how people decided on the names they used. Here's a quick back story on our little ones' names. 

At the very beginning of our adoption journey we believe God gave us the first names for our children. We wanted to give our children names that testified to the world about the character of our God. Soon after we filled out our initial application we went away for the weekend. While away God did some major work in our hearts. This was when we made the decision to adopt 2 children and we also talked about 2 names that we felt God may be giving us for our children, Malachi and Hadassah. At that time we had no idea what genders our children would be, but those were the 2 names laid on our hearts. Malachi was a name that Nate had thought of. When he first said it in the car we both just stopped, looked at each other, and knew that was it. We didn't know the meaning yet though. Hadassah was Queen Esther's name in the Bible and had always been one of my favorite names. I knew it meant myrtle tree and I loved her character in the Bible, but didn't know much about the significance of the meaning. 

When we researched their meanings, we just knew these were their names. We were open to 2 girls as well so we talked about a 2nd girl name but never settled on one. I think in our hearts we both sensed our older child would be Malachi and our younger Hadassah. This is what their first names mean. 

Malachi: my messenger

We love that Malachi's name in and of itself states belonging to God, "my". We thank God for placing him in our family and cannot wait to get him home. But, we know this child belongs to the Lord. We now have the honor and priveledge to raise him in the kingdom as our son. We also love that he is God's "messenger". This is first and foremost true to us. Malachi has already taught us so much about God. From the time he was conceived in our hearts and I'm sure for years to come, we pray he will continue being a messenger of God's JUSTICE to us and to all those around him. This brings us to his middle name, Justice.With Malachi's name we kept thinking, my messenger...of what? What does God want to show us through this little one? After a study through the book of Radical, our pastors were teaching about God's justice. During this season of hearing God's heart for justice, our prayer is that Malachi is a messenger of God's justice. 

Hadassah: myrtle tree

Myrtle trees are considered one of the most beautiful, fragrant, and sweet-smelling flowering trees. They are also known for growing with little water and in the toughest environments. In many ways this whole adoption has felt like that at times. It's been a very dry and difficult season and yet God has brought the most incredible beauty and fruit from it. Easter Sunday, 2010, during some of the most intense months of waiting, we planted a myrtle tree in our yard in honor of our children to come and as a symbol of God's promise. You can read more about that HERE The Israelites brought myrtle trees back with them when they came out of exile. They used them in several feasts and scripture references them growing within desert places as a sign for the Lord. With Hadassah, we thought a lot about what the fruit and reward out of this dry desert time would be. When we first laid eyes on our daughter's sleeping face in her referral picture, there was nothing but pure JOY in our hearts. Her middle name needed to be Joy. Joy happens to be my middle name as well and I'm so excited to share that with her. Isn't it so true that no matter how hard the trial, God brings you out on the other side and fills you heart and mouth with His joy; not joy based on feelings or circumstances, but a heavenly joy from Him. Our prayer for Hadassah is that she would be a sweet-smelling offering to our Lord, even through hard times, and that her joy would be found in His presence and flow to those around her. 

Another HUGE part of their names are their given Ethiopian names. We knew that we would keep their Ethiopian names as a second middle name. These names are so special to us and we loved calling them by these while we were in Ethiopia. In many ways, we feel like their Ethiopian names are more of a second first name than a second middle name. They are a part of their story, and for us, we felt like keeping them will help our children in sharing their story someday. You will probably hear us use their Ethiopian names quite a bit. Their Ethiopian names very much so speak for themselves. Ethiopians choose names that very much so reflect the circumstances surrounding the child and their hope for their child. 

Teshale: he becomes better

Belaynesh: you are superior

There's so much more we could say about their names. God has already spoken so much to us through their names and we pray that someday our children's names will even further proclaim the gospel in HIS kingdom. 

A really quick note on pronunciation for the more difficult names. Also, please feel free to ask us in person about the pronunciations!

Hadassah (Huh-DAH-sah) "u" as in other and "a" as in father
Teshale (Tesh-SHAH-lu) "e" as in elephant
Belaynesh (Beh-LIE-nesh)

1 comment:

  1. Beyond beautiful!! I LOVE hearing how God's chosen these names as their identity in Jesus. So exciting to hear an update on your journey. ALMOST home...the best is yet to come.

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