Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's in a name?

A lot.  In my mind, names can be a blessing or a curse.  It's something that you speak over someone every day of their lives and in a sense declare it over them.  I am not writing this to criticize anyone for their name or name choices.  This is just a strong conviction that I have for my family.

My name is Shaloma.  It comes from the Hebrew word shalom (שלום) which means: "Peace, wholeness, safety, prosperity, wellness, to restore..."

My husbands name is Nathan.  It is also a Hebrew name (נטהן) which means: "He (God) has given" or "He will give."   The popular translation is "Gift of God."

We named our first son Ezekiel (אזקיל) which means: "God will strengthen" or "Strength of the house".
His middle name is Manuia which is a Samoan word meaning: "blessing, peace, grace"
His personality lines up very well with his name.  He is a tough boy with so much heart and cares for the people around him.  His mind is strong and he can focus intently on tasks that would make my mind feel crazy!

Our second son is Isaiah (ישייה) which means: "God is Salvation" or "Salvation of the Lord".
His middle name is Tumau which is a Samoan name meaning: "to stand up/to stand firm"
God has recently shown me how much the word salvation means love.  Or how great love is to save to the extent that he has and wants to do for people.  Isaiah is a bundle of love.  He hugs and loves constantly!  He gives kisses and still at 21 months old, loves to just rest on my chest with his head on my shoulder and hug me for minutes at a time.  He looks you in the eye and has the most tender of hearts.  He also knows what he wants and stands firm in it.  He is a very decisive little bugger sometimes.

We obviously put a lot of thought into our kids names.  When it came to naming our little girl we had a couple names picked out from right around the time that we found out we were pregnant.  Our understanding of the meaning of the name was that it meant "princess of the Lord" or "daughter of the King".  However, after doing a ton of research, we found that it means: radiance in Russian, Shining/flower or beauty/light in Arabic, I saw one site that said it means princess in American. It's across the board.  We finally decided that we needed to be ok with what ever it actually means considering that all things seem positive and go with it the way that God gave it to us.

Last May I had been reading a book called Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge which was amazing.  God was showing me a side of being a woman that I had never allowed myself to embrace.  I went on a long run from home down the interurban trail.  It was raining and when I had run about 4 miles I noticed a name etched into the cement on a corner that I had run on for years.  This was obviously very old etching and it was the first time I had seen it.  The name caught my eye.  I will reveal it in a minute. I continued running for another few miles and felt led to pray Psalm 23 into my and Nathan's life. As I was praying this, I saw a vision of Nate and I on a hill.  It was a stormy, cloudy day with the wind barely blowing.  We had conquered the hill together.  Nathan was holding a long sword out with a strong stance. One hand on the sword and one arm back as though he was protecting me. Eyes fixed forward as if he was defending what had been conquered.  I was beside and slightly behind him wearing a long flowing white dress. Obviously dirty and torn from battle holding a small dagger with my eyes fixed on the offending party.
The feeling I got from this picture for me was that I can be rugged and beautiful.  I can battle in a dress and be graceful and beautiful and strong and a threat.  That Nathan and I can and do work together and that it had to do primarily with spiritual warfare.
At this point in my run I ran another mile or two and turned around.  I was praying about what I had seen and again passed the etching on the sidewalk.  When I was about a mile from home I saw a homeless man up ahead on the sidewalk in an area that was a bit secluded and started feeling a little nervous.  Mostly because at that point I was exhausted and he had looked up and taken an interest in me.  At least enough of one to stare as I was running toward him.  As I got close, he stepped back and took a very royal bow toward me as I passed.  I felt like God had spoken to me at that very moment.  I am his princess, I can and will defeat the enemy and He made me to be rugged and beautiful.  I am a daughter of the king.

Later that night I asked my sister if she had heard of this name that I saw etched in the sidewalk and without hearing my story she responded by saying that she though it meant "princess of God" as she was going through all her knowledge of Hebrew words and trying to put it together for a meaning.  Come to find out that it doesn't mean princess of the Lord....  If the first letter of the name was changed from a "Z" to an "S" then it would mean princess of the Lord.  However, I felt strongly that she needed to have this name that God showed me on my amazing run that left me feeling very empowered as a woman and a mother and feeling somewhat capable of raising a daughter now that I knew what my place was in the eyes of the Lord.  Nathan and I have discussed it and discussed it and decided together about a week ago that this is what she needed to be named.  There was no other possibility for her and we need to trust that His intentions are met with the meaning.

So the name...

The second part is the middle name which I have loved ever since I saw it the first time.  The Samoan word for Warrior.  How fitting with the vision that I had at the time that I saw the name etched in the ground.

Our beautiful daughter is to be named:

Zariyah Toa Allen

A name fit for the beautiful daughter of the King that she is and will always be.  We are so excited to have a little girl join our family and we are excited to see the personality that God has chosen for her.  We are honored to be entrusted with her care.
It's hard to see, but this is the etching in the cement from my run.  I went back several months later to take a picture. 
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Laura said...

What a great backstory to her name, love it! Can't wait for her to arrive!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing the whole story, Shaloma. I can just imagine you telling your daughter this story over and over...her own personal bedtime story:) We can't wait to meet her and watch her precious life unfold. We are blessed! Love to the whole family, Donna & Tino