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.