I was asked that question quite often during my pregnancy and I never had a satisfying answer to give. Names are something I put a lot of thought into. I was often accused of overthinking the matter, but to me there aren’t many decisions that we make that can effect the entire life of another person. So I took it very seriously.
Would the name sound right on a baby? Written on a kindergarten desk? Would it make for an easy target for teasing in middle school? What would someone think of it on a resume? Could I see it on a CEO?
I also did not want it to be a popular name. Had I not been known my whole life by my middle name, I would have had one or two other girls who shared my name in every class in high school. Jon was often called Roman because there were too many other people with the same name to keep track of them all. So any name on the top 30 list was out.
To make this choice even more difficult, Jon and I never could agree on a boys name. We had lots of girls names that we liked but there wasn’t a single boy’s name that we both liked. So while there were several names that I liked, Peter being the main one, I couldn’t choose any of them because I would feel like it would be dishonoring to Jon.
Once I got to the point in the pregnancy where I was no longer in denial, somewhere around the beginning of the third trimester, I began to search for a name. I read every name in the 10,000 Baby Name book and looked through all of the popular baby name websites. But nothing seemed to stick.
Early on I liked the name Titus, but feared that it would be picked on. Caleb was a contender for awhile until I saw that it was trending to be in the top 20 most popular boy names for this year. I landed on Luke and thought that might have been the one. But as I mentioned it to friends and family their very first response was the joke ” Luke, I am your father”. That joke removed Luke as a first name. I couldn’t have my son haunted by a joke that reminds him that he never got to know his father.
I started telling people that I wasn’t going to decide the name until I saw him. It was mostly a true statement, I didn’t want to commit to any name until I knew for sure, but it was also to try and alleviate the pressure to come up with a name. Time was running short and I was starting to get anxious. What would happen if I still didn’t know when he was born?
Ever since the day I announced that I was pregnant I have felt an unspoken expectation for me to name him after Jon. I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to do that. It would be too painful for me and Jon and I had already discussed the fact that we don’t like the idea of Juniors, children should have their own identities. Even after articulating these reasons, I still felt that pressure.
There was one name that I had thought of early on that would be close to naming him after Jon while still retaining its own identity. That name was Nathan. Nathan is as close to Jo-nathan as I could possibly get without making him a junior. There was just one problem. I hate the nickname “Nate”. Because I disliked the nickname so much I didn’t even put it on the list of possibilities.
Then one night just a week or so before he was born the name Nathan popped in my head again. Out of curiosity I looked up its meaning. The meaning of the name is just as important to me as the name itself. I think names meanings are prophetic. That every time you say someone’s name you are speaking its meaning over their life. When I saw the meaning of Nathan I knew it was the one.
Nathan means “God has given”. While you can say that about every child, my son was most certainly given to me in a divine way. It took us 5 months of actively trying to conceive Jocelyn. It took one act of obedience to conceive my son. (I may go into what I mean by that in a later blog.) His presence has been a gift to me even when I wished he did not exist.
With Nathan settled in my heart, I had to decide on the middle name. So the question became, “What has God given me through my son in this season?” I had several names pinned as possible middle names. Isaac, which means laughter. Luke, which means light. Atlas which means either endurance or guidance.
So with the meanings of the middle names in mind, I asked God, “What have you given me through my son?” The response was immediate “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Yes. God has given me light. I even wrote a blog dedicated to light in the darkness some months back.
Nathan Luke Roman. God has given light. The name clicked in my soul and I knew that was my son’s name. I still made everyone wait to hear it. I wanted to see his face before I announced it, just in case. Seeing him only confirmed my conviction that I had chosen the right name.
He is the embodiment of God’s powerful light that pierces through the deepest darkness.
So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, my son, Nathan Luke Roman.
(PS. If any of you start calling him “Nate” I will end you! )
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
If my writing has moved you to want to support me in my journey, you can find out how here