September 9, 2006

What's In a Name?

Have I ever told you the story of how Ezra James Christopher got his name?

We (Okay, mostly I) was going crazy trying to find the perfect name for our firstborn son while I was pregnant. Actually, the intensive, mind-devouring name hunt started awhile before I was pregnant... and I may or may not have had about 30 pages of my journal sectioned off for names that had caught my eye...

This only started after I was married, when almost immediately after the words "I do" left my lips at the altar, my Maternal Clock started SOUNDING THE ALARM (MEEP! MEEP! MEEP! MEEP!). This was altogether strange to me, because before I was married I didn't think much of when I wanted children, and I really didn't think I'd want them so soon. But about 4 months into our marriage, it was all I could think about. And this from the girl who'd never really thought about it before. I thought I was crazy. I thought people would think I was silly or stupid for wanting a child so early into our marriage. I mean- geesh!- people wait AT LEAST 3 years now-a-days, right? I tried to suppress these intense urges I was having. I tried to talk some sense into myself. "People will think you're a doofus", became my daily mantra. Or- "I'm too young, right?". Or- "But, we don't own a house yet!", came from another corner of my brain. It was like a boxing match was being held on my Grey-Matter morning, noon, and night.

Afterall, I had DREAMS, you know? Like, dreams that were big and exciting, and dreams that didn't look easy or practical with a baby-in-tow. So, I felt like I had to pick between one desire (my dreams) and the other (having a baby)...

This. was. depressing.

So I kept my mouth shut.

Then, I felt like God started talking to me in the midst of all this brain-craziness. I heard him say to me one night while I was hanging out in our old apartment in California:

"I would never put two dreams in your heart and then force you to choose between them... That's not the kind of God I am... Do you trust Me?"

Things started to change in my heart after that. I began to believe in what He'd said to me. I started talking about my desire to have a baby. And Chris was right there with me. We felt like God was asking us to have this baby, and to trust that He had a good reason and a good plan ahead. So we said yes.

When I was about 6 months pregnant, I was still going crazy trying to pick a name for the little person growing in my belly. I believe that a name is more than just something you yell across the lunchroom to get your friend's attention, and I knew I wanted God to tell me what this kid's name was going to be, but I was getting a little impatient with the WAITING. I bought baby name books. (I know, I know...) I scoured the internet and scanned the credits after every movie I watched. (that's how my mommy found my name!). I obsessed. And made lists. Ridiculous lists. You can tell I was getting desperate when names like "Orson" and "Radio" were showing up on these lists and NOT GETTING VIOLENTLY SCRATCHED OFF immediately after I wrote them.

Then, FINALLY, I felt like I heard the Voice I had been "so patiently" waiting for. I was looking through an old journal from a really rough time in my life. I found an entry where I had written about something I felt God said to me, but didn't understand at the time. In my journal, on an otherwise blank page, I had written this:

"I felt like God just spoke something really clearly to me, but I don't have any idea what it means. I heard God say 'You have the Spirit of Ezra in you.'"

(Ezra is a book in the Old Testament of the Bible- written about a man named Ezra who was a scribe and brought the word of God back to the people after they'd forgotten about it.)

I started crying as I read these words years later- sitting on the floor of my apartment in front of my bookshelf, one hand resting casually on my prego belly. I immediately knew this was his name. So I called Chris. I was so worried he wouldn't like the name, or wouldn't understand the revelation I'd just had. But he LOVED it, and so we had named our son.

But the story doesn't end there.

I called my mom to tell her the name we'd settled on. After I said the name "Ezra", there was a pause on her end of the line. "Oh! Cool! Your Great-Grandfather's name!", she said happily.

"Huh?", I asked- completely shocked.

"Yeah! Grandpa Ezzie? His real name was Ezra!", she explained.

I was so baffled. We had picked my Great-Grandpa's name and we didn't even realize it. This was getting creepy. So, needless to say, my Grandma was THRILLED. (Ezra was her father's name). My whole family was excited. I felt more than 100% sure this was the right name.

For a middle name, Chris' family has a tradition of giving the son the father's name as a middle name, so we knew that he was going to be Ezra Christopher. I was visiting may family in Reno for Christmas when I was 8 months preggo, and one day I was driving with my mom when I casually mentioned that if I could pick any middle name that I wanted, I would have picked James. She was silent for a second.

"Honey, I think that was your Great-Grandfather's middle name too.", she said slowly.

Needless to say- I was SHOCKED again. How did this keep happening? What did it mean??

We double checked when we got home by asking my dad, and sure enough- That name (of all the names) was my Great-Grandpa Ezzie's middle name too. So Ezra's unofficial middle name became 'James', while his birth certificate only says 'Christopher'.

That's the story of his name. His name literally means:

Ezra: "Helper"
James: "Supplanter"
Christopher: "Bearing Christ"

This is my Great Grandfather Ezra James Fjeldsted. Ezra's Great Great Grandfather.


sd joel said...

love the story... super cool! is that really your great grandfather???

Megan said...

Such an incredible story! :-)By the way...your previous post, with Ezra taking his own picture...too cute!

Tamika said...

I love it! Ezra is a wonderful name and it's even better when we know God has given our children their names. You are a wonderful mom Emery!

mo-mar said...

Emery: This is great history, keep blogging but for Heaven's sake back it up somewhere safe !!

Joel: Yeppers, that is really Emery's great grandfather


I loved that!!! What a wonderful story. I like you, obsessd over baby names and had my boy and girl names all ready to rock when I was three monthe preggo...

You already know that Ezra is my favorite name after Archer. Special child. Special story. Thanks for sharing.

Andrea June said...

That is a BEAUTIFUL story!!! I'm so glad you found such a great name for Ezra. God is SO GOOD!!!!

jcbend said...

Ezra was my Grandma (Mattie Fjeldsted's) brother. I felt like I knew him from the stories she told. They were both histerical and inspirational. Including a story about the time he removed all the tags from my parents wedding gifts and replaced thim with tags that read "With Love from Uncle Ez". The seriouse side of him was much more complex as he was a great visionary in community and civil service. His accomplishments in these areas are still being realized today. He was truly a great man. I can see how God would move you to carry on such a name.

I don't know how i stumbled on this site but it provided a conection with the past i was searching for. thanks for the incredible story.

Anonymous said...

I do not know if you look at this site anymore but I was looking online for our sons name ( He is in a band and we can stay up on his "Press" and his shananigans that way. His name is Ezra Christopher. Funny huh? We also wanted a Godly name for our adopted son and had to fight the agency who said "you do not name a black (Mixed race) child Ezra! because years ago, a tv show "Strp & Fetchit had a charecter named Ezra" But we got our way! God's blessings to you!

Jessica said...

Emery - I have been reading your blog on a regular basis, recently, and tonight I was looking through your archives and saw this post. I don't usually comment on the blogs I read, but I can't help it. This statement has brought me to tears:

"I would never put two dreams in your heart and then force you to choose between them... That's not the kind of God I am... Do you trust Me?"

Sometimes what God says to one is meant for many. Thank you for posting this. I've been struggling with wanting to know how everything I want to do with my life is supposed to happen and how these things can simultaneously exist and knowing how I'm supposed to proceed and if I'm doing God's will. His plan is so awesome that I don't even have to be able to make sense of it. He'll make it happen and I just have to trust that. I think I'm rambling, but thank you thank you thank you for sharing that word.