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What’s In a Name?

Fascination with the meaning of names and a tribute to some special people

I decided today was the perfect time to repost this article since it involves both my daughter and my dad, whose joint birthday was yesterday! Enjoy!

I fully admit to a fascination with names and their meanings.

I think I’ve always loved investigating names. I recall scouring baby name books even at a young age. I must have passed this love on to my own children, for this book, which I acquired when I was a young woman, became a favourite with my kids. (The cover has been repaired more than once.)

When I was pregnant with my own children, I was very intentional about choosing their names. I wanted each one to have a Biblical name, a reference to our family heritage, and a good meaning. Also, I didn’t want to choose something that was too popular. (I missed the boat on that one with my son. I thought Zachary was unique at the time – but it has seen an explosion in popularity… I did think I was very clever, however, because his initials also spell his name: ZAK.)

In any case, to this day I keep a list within sight of my desk with all my children, their spouses, and grandchildren’s names on it with their meanings. I use it to pray over them, that their positive characteristics would increase as they step into the destiny God has for them. It has been a great comfort for me at times.

As for my own name, I admit to feeling disappointed the first time I learned about its meaning. Apparently, Tracy comes from Theresa which means “The Harvester”. How boring, I thought!

Now I choose to think of this in the Biblical sense. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9: 37 – 38 (ESV) I count it a privilege to be among God’s harvesters and believe that I can be used in this regard. Even though I have never been comfortable as an evangelist, I believe my writing is one way of reaching people for Christ.

I also found that Tracy can mean ‘Courageous defender” so, again, I like to think that part of my destiny is to defend the gospel.

I am very proud of the fact that I was named after my paternal grandmother, but that wasn’t always the case. (My middle name is Lydia.) As a child, I was embarrassed because I thought it was so old-fashioned. I got over that by the time I was an adult and named my first daughter Lydia. In fact, something rather cool has happened, as you can see from the picture below.

My grandmother’s name was Lydia. Her son, my father, was Fred. I named my daughter Lydia. And… she has named her son Fred. (She was born on my Dad’s birthday, so they were always very close.) I also had an aunt Lydia and my middle name is Lydia, so as you can see, it is a strong family name.

I could go on, waxing eloquent about the meanings of each of my children’s names and why I chose them, but I won’t do that to you. My daughters all seem to be following in my footsteps in that they have chosen very intentional names for each of their children. Suffice to say that there is more to a NAME than meets the eye.

This post was first published on Inscribe Writers’ Online Blog on April 15, 2021.

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