Every Name Has a Story

June 19, 2008
By Beth Curtis, Colmar, PA

Part 1

“Mother I am so fed up with my name! Today we had a substitute teacher! And when taking attendance he commented on how lovely many of the names in our class were, but when he read off my name, do you know what he said? He said, ‘ah, another Elizabeth, no matter where I teach I can always rely on an Elizabeth in my class, it is such a common name!’ Why did I have to be stuck with such a horribly simple and boring name! Elizabeth Ruth, what a name! There are at least five Elizabeth’s in the 6th grade! Can’t I change it? Please!” I cried, becoming more frustrated with my name as the moments passed.

“Well darling, you are what gives your name meaning. I chose those names because in the past there have been great role models with those names, who you can try to live up to. They say that names have a meaning, but I disagree. The name I chose for you has a great meaning, but you have to live up to it and give the name its meaning! And, dear, your name is not ordinary or average, your name represents two of the most remarkable women of the Bible! You may not change your name yet,” Mom replied without even looking up from the dishes she was washing!

I groaned and started up again, “Oh but Mom, if only you knew. This is not the name that I want to live up to, I want to live up to a more unique and original name. Please I wouldn’t change it completely; I could just translate it into another language or something, please-”

“Again Elizabeth, you did not listen to what I said! I said you couldn’t change it yet. First, I want you to hear the story of your name. And this time listen,” Mom said, “or else we will just have to change your name to mean something like ‘one that does not listen.’” Mom added jokingly! “Now put down that backpack, let me dry off my hands, and I will tell you about your name.”

Part 2

“Now darling, let’s start with your first name, Elizabeth. Surely, you remember her story from Sunday school, but this time I assure you, it will be different. So settle down close your eyes and listen!” And with that, Mother started the story

“The name Elizabeth means ‘God’s Promise’ and Elizabeth certainly didn’t understand that! Her husband, Zachariah, and she had been trying for many years to have children, but the Lord just hadn’t granted that prayer! Now Zachariah was a priest, and so he would go to the church every day and at the end of the day, he would pray to God to grant them a child. Now they were not as young as they had been, and Elizabeth knew that they must have a child soon if they wanted to be able to play with him, and keep up with him. Yet, no matter how much they wanted a child, they just couldn’t have one! Now, Elizabeth also read her Bible every day and one day, she discovered a passage that promised that anybody who was faithful and put their trust in the Lord would have whatever they wished for! So Elizabeth surrendered over all her anxieties and fears of never being a mother to the Lord. She knew that the Lord would be faithful and keep his promise, so she trusted him. She shared this with Zachariah, and he too put his hopes in the Lord. So, then they figured, all they could do was sit and wait!

So one day, just like every day, Zachariah went to the Temple to do his work. This time however, he saw an unknown man sitting by the front of the church, just staring at him. So Zachariah approached this man, and asked him what he wanted. As it turns out, this man was an angel of the Lord, sent to tell Zachariah that because he and his wife trusted in the Lord, they would be rewarded, and Elizabeth would have a baby! The angel also told him that this baby was to be named John, and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth! Zachariah felt unsure though, not only would he have a child, but also that this child would be an honor to his family, and bring them glory? He questioned the angel, and was slow to believe that he and Elizabeth, in their old age, could have children! The angel then, to make an impression on Zachariah, told him that because he didn’t believe, he wouldn’t be able to speak until the baby was born! Zachariah hastened to finish his work and return home, he had to tell his wife the good news! But alas, upon returning home Zachariah remembered that he could not talk! How would he tell his wife that their greatest wish was coming true? He motioned excitedly for Elizabeth to come outside, and he wrote the story in the dust! By the time he was done, Elizabeth and Zachariah were both in hysterical tears, hugging each other. Elizabeth knew then that she was the Lord’s promise, and that he remained faithful to her, and gave her a child. So 9 months later Elizabeth gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and they named him John. He grew up to become John the Baptist and did bring much honor and glory to his family,” Mother finished. “Do you see now why I named you Elizabeth? I hoped that you would try to live up to the Elizabeth of the Bible, and trust God and be faithful to him. I also hoped that you would be blessed because of your trust in the Lord. Also Elizabeth, I knew that you are God’s promise, and you will bring his love to other people!”

Part 3

“Now, it’s time for the story on your middle name, Ruth. The name Ruth means ‘a faithful friend.’ There was once a woman named Naomi, and the Lord blessed her with a husband and two sons. At the time, there was a great famine that struck the land, causing many families to migrate away from their homeland, and sadly, Naomi’s family was one of the many families involved in the mass exodus. So Naomi held her head high and tried to make the best of their new home, though it was especially hard for her because few families believed in the Lord there, they all were Moabites and believed in foreign gods. Now one day Naomi was notified that her husband had been killed, and she was crushed. She held to the hope that her sons would marry nice girls who believed in the Lord, and she would be able to delight in their children, her grandchildren. And then Naomi lost everything near and dear to her heart. Shortly after the marriages of her two sons, to Moabite non-believers, both her sons were killed in the course of their work. So Naomi decided that she couldn’t bear to stay alone in Moab, and she knew she would never find anybody to remarry there, so she packed up and started back for her homeland.

Now in those days it was expected that the widowed daughter-in-laws would stay with their husband’s family, and would remarry the next oldest son. So Naomi’s daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth, started the journey with her. When they were just barely started on the long journey, Naomi said to her daughters, “Go back to your families, I will not have another son that you will be able to marry.” Ruth stepped forward and said, “I shall stay with you on this journey anyway,” but Orpah kissed Naomi and Ruth good-by and turned around to go back to her family. Yet despite Naomi’s many objections, Ruth continued with her. When they were almost to Judah, Naomi’s homeland, Naomi asked Ruth why she stayed with her and Ruth responded, “Where you go, I shall go, and where you stay, I shall stay, your God shall be my God, and your people, my people.” So Ruth was a devoted companion and friend to Naomi, and she accepted Naomi’s God just because she trusted Naomi. I hope you will live up to that example, and be as devoted and loving to your friends, Elizabeth. You name has a very unique meaning, and very remarkable role models from the Bible. I can only hope that you will be able to see the meaning of your name, and keep it just as it is. But now, I am done convincing you, and it is completely your choice,” Mom finished. I sat and thought for a couple moments and then said, “You know, maybe I can live with this name after all. I mean, it is a great name. I never realized just how cool the Elizabeth and Ruth of the Bible were and I just hope I can do justice to the name!” “You know darling, I think you already have,” Mom said, “but now, if you will excuse me I must go back to washing the dishes!”

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This article has 5 comments.

reader said...
on Aug. 22 2008 at 1:17 am
I think this is a good story but it seemed kind of like it was hurried along. Although i understand that writing a short story that isn't rushed is hard!

BabyRuth said...
on Aug. 9 2008 at 8:14 pm
This story was not that great, to be frank. The idea of it is good, but it is not eloquently written.

loveLAX said...
on Aug. 8 2008 at 4:00 am
That was a great story Beth! It's so annoying when people have the same name! HEHE!

youngestkid said...
on Aug. 7 2008 at 11:30 pm
I love it! It seemed a bit rushed though, as if there could be more transitions. I enjoyed the storyline from the bible though!

Red Gold said...
on Aug. 7 2008 at 7:39 pm
Great work! I love how you show that even common names are unique!


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