Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Name, A Legacy -- Naming Asher Joseph

This is the second post in a series I'm writing on choosing names of significance for our seedlings. To read the first post, click here.

My firstborn was easy to name. By the time I was 8 weeks pregnant, we knew that, if our baby were a boy, Asher Joseph would be his name.

Had I been a boy, my name would have been Austin Joseph. August was my great-grandfather on my dads side of the family, and Joseph was my maternal great-grandfather. My parents, however, thought that "August" sounded a little too grandpa-ish for the late 70's, and Austin was considered a more "modern" equivalent.

Having had only one sibling, a younger sister, my parent never had the chance to use the name, and so as a girl, I always imagined that my firstborn son would be Austin Joseph. But by the time my turn to name a real baby came along in 2004, I found that Austin was not only perpetually overused, but also riddled with the baggage of several less-than-desirable namesakes.

Besides, we had come to the conviction that we wanted to give our child an name with a strong spiritual antecedent, so I found a book of biblical baby names, and headed straight for the "A's".

Aaron? No.

Adam? No.

Amos? Um...no.

Asher? Yes. Definitely Yes.

Not only was it an attractive Bible name that is not commonly heard, it also had a deeply profound, personal meaning.

"And Leah said, 'Happy I am, for the daughters shall call me blessed,' and she called his name Asher." Genesis 30:13 (KJV)

After going through a year of infertility, I definitely felt happy and blessed to be having a baby!

Joseph still made sense as a great middle name. It reminds us of not just one, but two great men of the Bible, and it also honors my great-grandfather.

My great-grandfather, Joseph Vanney, with his wife, Minerva, and my great-uncle Jim, 
at the grocery store he owned and operated when my mother was a little girl

I didn't really think about it at the time, but Joseph also means "may He add".

"Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. 

So she conceived and bore a son and said 'God has taken away my reproach.'

She named him Joseph saying, 'May the LORD give me another son."
Genesis 30:22-24 (NASB)

I remember a conversation I had with a friend at church when Asher was about a year old. She asked me if we were going to have any more children. I told her that I truly didn't know. Asher had been so "hard to come by", and I didn't want to tell God that this one blessing he had given me wasn't enough. If He saw fit for Asher to be an only child, I was at peace with that.

Shortly after that, I was pregnant.

Asher Joseph is now six years old and has two loose teeth. I love the name now more than ever, but I have to confess that I am a bit disappointed that it seems to have caught on and become popular, having made the list of "cool Bible names" at nameberry.com, as well as being mentioned numerous times in the latest version of Rosencratz and Satran's best-selling book, Beyond Ava and Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby.

Maybe I'm a trend-setter?

In Genesis 49, at the end of Jacob's life, he pronounced blessings upon his twelve sons. At first, I wasn't too impressed with the blessing given to Asher,

"Asher's food will be rich;
he will provide delicacies fit for a king."
Genesis 49:20 (NIV)

Now, my husband taught me how to cook (seriously!), so it wouldn't surprise me if Asher inherited his father's expertise in the kitchen. However, maybe this blessing has a deeper spiritual meaning?

Jesus called himself the bread of life (John 6:35), and said that his food was to do the will of the Father, who sent him. (John 4:34) He also said,

"It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4 (NASB)

I have come to hope that Asher will know, love, and live the Word of God, and will feed it to others, both great and small.


asher_joseph@hotmail.com said...

I love this!My name is Asher Joseph...My son's name is Jacob Asher Joseph!

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

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