Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.

Last week, while at the homeschool convention in Memphis, I was reminded of the value of our names. We read in Isaiah 43:1 that we are called or summoned by name. Our name is important to us and can influence our identity. It can influence our security, too. And, our belonging. Would you believe our name can even influence our purpose and competence?

If you’ve never told your children why you named them what you did, please share your story. Knowing is better than not knowing. Don’t assume the story wouldn’t bless them. It could increase their hope in their purpose and in their tomorrows.

If you didn’t have a solid reason then, are you glad with the name now? Have you found out what it means and shared that with your child? I encourage you to.

If you can’t ask your parents about your name’s origin, look up its meaning yourself. Ask an older relative if they might know anything. Make up a story! I met Vanderly and she didn’t know anything about her name. After I suggested she make up a story, her husband announced, “I think it means full of beauty and strength.” Vanderly smiled broadly.

I saw my friend, Jay, at last week’s convention. When he introduced me to his son, he explained that he and his wife named him Jamison. Although it’s pronounced with a short i sound, it means “Jay my son.” You should have seen Jamison’s face when his dad told me that. I could feel, and almost see, the connection between the two of them. Jamison doesn’t need to wonder if he was wanted or if his parents wanted a girl instead.

Another one of my favorite name stories is about my friend Laurie. Her given name is Laurel and she’s named after a laurel bush that grew outside the cabin where her parents honeymooned. Imagine how she felt when she was first told her parents were thinking of her as their marriage began. Security, identity, and belonging were affected for sure. Purpose and competence may have been, too, as Laurie has always wanted to live up to her parents’ hopes and expectations.

My niece is named after my mom and me. Her given name is Kathryn Arlene Koch. ‘Kathryn” means “pure one.” I can remember eating dinner with her and our family when she was about 5 or 6 years old. While she was playing with her food rather than eating it, I jokingly asked “You’re the pure one?” She smiled and immediately stopped what she was doing. It’s as if she wanted to live up to her name’s meaning. Purpose.

By the way, although you might not believe me if you know me, I was not named after the Chatty Kathy doll. I was named after my mom’s Great Aunt. What’s your story? I’d love to know. There’s a comment box below.