We celebrated Noah’s half birthday this last weekend. And when I say celebrated I mean, I started on laundry, organized closets, took a walk to the park, replaced some toy batteries, and then I finally moved her crib from our bedroom into her own. As we “celebrated” her 6 months of life, I couldn’t help but reminisce on the story of how we chose her name.
When I was pregnant, I had the hardest time picking a name for our second daughter. I wanted her name to have power when spoken. I wanted it to sound fluid with the name of our firstborn. I wanted it to be unique, but not unusual. But mostly, I wanted her name to have depth and meaning. In a world that seems so superficial and shallow these days, it has become my goal to teach my girls that the things we do and say carry great significance.
From the moment we found out it was a girl, I would find a name I loved but would grow tired of it by the end of the week. My husband and I had a short list of names we liked, but not one of them we loved. Even when we found the name Noah, I was still a bit iffy about it. I kept thinking Norah or Nova sounded better, more feminine.
But by 37 weeks, Noah became the obvious choice.
Noah means rest and comfort. It sounds beautiful when spoken with her sister’s name. Although it is one of the most common boys' name, it is unusual for a girl. The part that sealed the deal for me was finding out about the story of the female Noah in the Bible.
Numbers 27 tells a story of five daughters, one of them named Noah, whose father had just passed away. Noah along with her sisters stood before Moses and all the leaders of that day to make this claim:
“Our father died in the wilderness…Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no sons? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”
In other words, just because their father didn’t have any sons, their entire inheritance would have been given to someone else and they would have lost everything. Just because they were women.
So Moses prayed about it and the Lord told him the daughters were right and commended Moses to give them their father's inheritance. But God didn’t just stop there. He commanded Moses to literally change the law of inheritance.
When I heard this story, electricity ran through my veins.
Yes! That is who I want to name my daughter after. Noah, daughter of Zelophahad, one of the first feminists in the Bible. I can only imagine what was running through her mind as she stood before Moses. I will never know what her pounding heart felt like as she stood with her sisters to make a claim they knew was right but felt impossible. I will never know what she felt when the leaders of that day reluctantly said yes to their request.
My greatest hope for my darling Noah is that she will. That she will trust that voice deep inside her and not allow custom or popularity keep her quiet. May she change laws and do so alongside her sisters. May she know what that burning chest feels like and live a life like the Noah she was named after.
Happy half birthday baby girl.