Baby Rabon #3 is a…

GIRL. You guys knew that already if you follow my social media accounts. It’s been 2 months since we found out, but if you don’t follow my social media, we did a gender reveal piñata at a park in which Jonathan got to beat the Mario question mark box to death with a baseball bat. It was at this point that we realized we’ll soon have two daughters that will have Stephen wrapped around their little fingers.

Once we knew we had a baby girl on the way, we probably should have gotten started trying to find a name. While we are very intentional namers, as evidenced by these blog posts about Jonathan & Abigail‘s names, we tend to be procrastinators. We started to casually peruse baby name lists on the internet, which lead us to some doozies like “Grandma-Chic Baby Girl Names” and “Hipster Cowboy Baby Names.” These left us with more questions than answers, like… what IS a Hipster Cowboy?

We also wrestled with the question, “Are we officially a Biblical name family, or will we branch out to names invented in the last 2000 years?” Now don’t get me wrong, we clearly have no issue with Biblical names, but I feel like two kids could be a coincidence, three is a decision. I feel the same about same letters – if you had a Joshua and a James, for instance, that could be a coincidence that you just liked those names. If the third is Jessica, you’re an official J namer.

With this weird line-in-the-sand in mind, we decided to try to branch out to non-Biblical names to see if there were any that we liked. We made a list, checked it twice, made some cuts (because even if not Biblical, it needed to have a great meaning), and then had a deep conversation.

During that conversation, I had to clear the air that although I had a favorite “contemporary” name, I felt like it wasn’t enough. We set the bar really high with our first two kids – we gave them names not only with great meanings, but also steeped in a rich history from their Biblical namesakes. We intentionally chose those names because the stories they represent had great hopes and expectations for qualities that we would love for our children to have. I couldn’t imagine looking our third child, this precious baby girl, in the eye someday and being like “your brother’s name is Jonathan because not only is he a gift from God, but we hoped he would be an amazing friend to people, as we have been blessed with incredible friends in our lives and hope he has in his life. Your sister’s name is Abigail, because we truly believe that she is a fountain of joy, her father’s joy, and we hoped that she would be smart, love the Lord, be humble, and have a servant’s heart. And your name is _______… because it was cute.” It just seemed so unfair. I felt like I would be robbing her of such an amazing richness and legacy. Stephen agreed, and we felt like we had more of a clear direction for which names to still consider. {As a note, if you are not as crazy as I am about naming your children, please know I do not judge you. Every set of parents have different factors that play into their children’s names and I was lucky enough to marry a guy who doesn’t think I am insane (at least that he’ll openly admit) or overboard with all of my qualifications. Get you a partner who shares your naming values and go to town!}

Finally, after doing a little more research on possibilities, and Jonathan deciding on a name before we had officially decided on it, Baby Girl has a name.

Hannah, From the Hebrew name חַנָּה (Channah) meaning “favor, grace”, derived from the root חָנַן (chanan).

We did not expect to be blessed with a third child. Our history made it seem like a long-shot, but the Lord has shown us favor (gracious kindness per Merriam Webster) and given us this precious girl. We do not take for granted that we have done nothing to deserve this gift, but that the Lord saw fit to bless our family in this way. We are filled with gratitude, awe and excitement.

The Biblical story of Hannah appears in 1 Samuel 1&2. She was married to a man named Elkanah, but she had been unable to have a child. The other wife, able to bear children, mocked her for years. She goes to the temple, and prays. The priest sees her and accuses her of drunkenness, but she tells him she is not drunk, but instead is “pouring out her soul to the Lord (1:16NIV).” The priest blesses her and she “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad (1:18NKJV).” God remembers Hannah and her vow that she would give a son back to the Lord and she has a son, Samuel, who she raises until he is weaned and then takes him to the temple to be raised in the priesthood. (Cliffs notes version).

We recently studied this passage at BSF last year, and what struck me immediately about Hannah was her faith in God’s provision and goodness. She took her grief and her sorrow to the Lord, and left it there. The Bible states that she left and her face was no longer sad. As someone who has been in a place of wanting a child and waiting for years, I can tell you that I prayed about it a lot but I was not “no longer sad.” I was sad about it. For years. The ability to give it to God and trust that He will do what is right is something that I hope our daughter will have. I pray that she will have trust in His faithfulness, that she will know His goodness and favor, and that she will understand to her core the power of prayer and feel boldness in pouring out her soul to the Lord.

Hannah responded to multiple instances of hardship with grace. She was mocked by her husband’s other wife for her barrenness. Instead of fighting her, Hannah doesn’t respond. Knowing when to respond is a quality that I hope our daughter will have. When Eli the priest accuses her of being drunk in the temple, she chooses to respond, but does so with grace. She explains to him her heart and he takes that and blesses her, praying that the Lord would grant her request for a son.

My in-laws have these books that are Character Sketches of Biblical characters. Not surprisingly, the Biblical namesakes of all of our children appear in those books. The chapter on Hannah starts with a page that says “Kindness… is returning good for evil” and quotes Romans 12:20-21 – “Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” It goes on to say “the kindness of returning good for evil is totally opposite to our natural inclinations. Therefore, this type of kindness can only be carried out by an act of faith in God’s Word.” What a high goal for our daughter (and any of us) to aspire to! I pray that we can teach her to do this. I pray that God softens her heart to be able to achieve it. I pray that God softens our hearts that we can teach her this by example.

I found a great resource for Abigail’s name, and I looked to see if they had a short study on Hannah as well – I was happy to see that they do have one at BibleCourses.com. Here are a few traits of Biblical Hannah that I hope our Hannah will embody (each word or phrase taken from the linked study): tenderness of spirit and a joy of devotion, patient, she sought only His glory, had strong assurance in her prayers. I especially loved this section, based on the oft-quoted (including by me) verse: “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”

The Lord Has Given!

(1 Samuel 1:27)
What depth of spirituality is in this phrase!
This is a great revelation of Hannah’s heart.

  1. It reveals a trust and dependence upon God
    for sustaining us. God will provide!
  2. It reveals a heart which expressed needs and
    desires. God will hear and respond!
  3. It reveals a lack of trust of human ability. God
    can while man cannot!
  4. It reveals one who understands the great
    giving God. God wants to give!

I hope our sweet girl will know and understand all of these things! We have a huge job ahead of us as parents, in part because we’ve given our children names with a heritage. It’s our responsibility to help them exemplify the traits that we’re praying over them. Maybe we made our lives harder. Maybe we see these traits in our children because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because we give God the glory for our children and let Him in on naming them that (so far) we see so much of the meanings of our children’s names in them.

Side Note: I’m a huge nerd and I love that Hannah is a palindrome. There’s a quirky part of my soul that loves that symmetry. I also really love that H looks great with a serif and will make for an awesome floral letter to accompany Abigail’s A that Rebekah and I made for their soon-to-be-shared room.

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