Recently, I was perusing Facebook and came across a post by our amazing InspyRomance author, Angela Ruth Strong, in her Strong Readers group. She was talking about her name (I won’t spoil it for you…if you aren’t already a part of Angela’s group, you should be!), and it got me thinking about the origins of my name.
I’ve known since I was a child that my mom didn’t intend to name me Judith Jonelle. The name she originally chose if they had a girl was Christina Dawn. Once she had gone through labor, she changed her mind. She says they would have named me after my dad if I had been a boy, but they didn’t know for sure since there weren’t ultrasounds to find out back then. I wasn’t, and she went through all the pain to bring me into the world, so she wanted to name me after her instead. Jonelle wasn’t something she originally had on her mind, but she chose it because she liked it, and it sounded pretty.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, we didn’t have a change of heart. Early in my pregnancy, I picked out a list of names I liked and showed them to Doug. I said, “I kinda like Emma Grace.”
He said, “Me too. Let’s do it.”
From that moment on, she was Emma Grace.
It’s amazing that it was so simple because, for me, the hardest part of writing is choosing names—character names, place names, pet names, and even titles. I struggle so often that I’ve run several contests with my readers to name different parts of my stories when I needed something specific. We never chose a boy name for Emma because God had promised us a girl before I even conceived her.
When I started researching the meanings of our names for this blog after reading Angela’s post, I found that my first name means “Woman of Judah,” and my middle name means “God is gracious.” You could combine them to mean God is gracious to the women of His people.
My mom’s middle name is Ann. The meaning of Ann is “grace” or “he was gracious,” so he was gracious to the women of his people.
Now buckle your seatbelts because this is where it gets really good. We already know Emma’s middle name is Grace, so when I looked up the meaning of her first name, I literally shed a tear or two. Emma means “universal.” I named my daughter “Universal Grace.”
Praise God…moved by the Spirit, three generations of believing women in my family all passed down God’s grace to the next generation. It makes me think that maybe I should take a little bit more care in naming my characters. After all, what’s in a name? It could be everything!
Tell me in the comments how you got your name, or if you have a cool story about how you named your kids, tell me that, too!