What’s in a name

A few weeks ago I sat here at the computer digging into the meanings of my name and those of my kiddos.  I did some research on their names before they were born, but a refresher course was nice. Since the kiddos have biblical names, E-sword’s Strong’s Concordance feature is a great tool. You can study the root words behind the names to get an excellent grip on what they mean.

I was reminded how each of the boys’ names are so perfect for who they are. When I did a study of the etymology of my middle boys’ name a few years ago, it blessed me so much that I printed it out and put it in the front page of his homeschool portfolio that year.

My name is a compound of my grandmothers’ name: Susanna Maria. So I looked up both names. Susan means ‘lily’ in hebrew, and comes from a root word that means to be bright and happy.  The connection between the root word and the flower has something to do with the whiteness (as in brightness) of a lily.

Maria means bitterness, or stubbornness. Some people say it is akin to the word myrrh which is a very bitter substance but releases a very sweet fragrance when crushed. I like that explanation for the name, though I am not sure how accurate it is.

I like the thought that in my bitter, crushed brokenness, a sweet fragrance may come forth. I like the thought too, that my life might stubbornly blossom into a pure lily despite the bitter sadness I have had to bear.

Jenna’s name can have two meanings, and I like them both. It is either a pet form of Jennifer…which means white and smooth, or ‘white wave’ in Celtic. Alternatively, it is a derivative of Jenny, which comes from Jane, which is the female form of John. John means “God is gracious”, from a root word that means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, to bestow, grant graciously, have mercy upon…

I can understand it to mean that God, in his gracious mercy, and infinite kindness gave me a precious little gift in Jenna. Oh, what a sweet treasure she was! I enjoyed her so much and miss enjoying her now. It really sucks. Yet I am hoping that in celebrating her life, and in my efforts to cope with her death, His presence will wash over me like a wave and make me like Him.


3 responses to “What’s in a name

  1. Dearest Sumi,
    I just read through your posts getting caught up. And I wept. Maybe I am taking your tears today so you won’t have any. Maybe that is what the Bible means when it says to weep with those that weep.

    Praying for you…


  2. “Some people say it is akin to the word myrrh which is a very bitter substance but releases a very sweet fragrance when crushed.”

    This struck me. You have indeed been crushed by a pain no mother ever wants to face…and yet you are releasing a sweet fragrance, the fragrance of one who trusts in the Lord, the fragrance of one clinging to Him. I know that those who have faced this same pain are blessed by your words here, Sumi. Thank you for being willing to share so openly from your heart.
    Praying for you,

  3. tessofthebellgrades

    My neice’s name is Jenna. There is another meaning for the name. (I can’t remember it’s origins though) it means small bird. Which reminded me of your story about the little birds. (Robins I think?) I always call my neice small bird. (I made the discovery when I was pregnant and searching for a name for my baby- that was 13 years ago. )

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