Choosing a baby name is hard. It’s a pretty permanent decision and if you think about it, how many people do you know who love their entire name?

We all have that friend that goes by their middle name and won’t tell anyone their first name. Likewise, there are people who only use a middle initial because they hate their middle name so much. I don’t want that to be our children’s experience.

There are also names you can’t use because every Kayla you know is crazy (Kayla is not really one of those names for me, I just used it to keep the real crazy people from hunting me down). Quickly options become limited.

As Stef and I try to choose our baby’s names it usually takes months until we are content. There are two things that are a priority for me but both come back to the meaning of the name.


I want our children to have a name that reminds them of their purpose on earth. It should bring life to them.

So names like Caleb (meaning: Dog) or Leland (meaning: empty land) do not make the cut.


Stef and I spend time praying, asking God to show us the personalities of our children before they are born. We want their name to represent the gifts, talents, passions and calling God has given them.

Neither of us would consider ourselves prophets, but we choose to pray and listen.

Our Kids Names So Far

Ava Grace

Ava means “Like a bird” which seems weird but wasn’t for me. When Stef was pregnant with her it was during a season I was really trying to learn more about the Holy Spirit, and what it looks like to live a life walking in step with the Spirit. I started reading the book Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. The description of the book says this:

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life.

Mark Batterson

So Ava to me was a name that represented someone who is willing to go wherever God leads her. And Grace…that’s what she shows everyone along the way.

Although Ava is the quietest of our children, she is also the most adventurous. She loves trips and talks about exploring the world.

Charis Hope

Charis is the English equivalent of the Greek word χάρις which is usually translated as ‘grace’. In ancient Greek, this word referred to the favor of a ruler. In Christian writings, this word meant the favor or gift of God. To Christians, things like spiritual gifts are charis or grace gifts.

Hope is an excitement about what’s to come. In today’s society, it’s so often missing. 1 in 5 people are medicated to help them with the anxiety they face every day. Hope is desperately needed.

So Charis Hope represents our desire to see God use our child to show people God’s grace so they can live with excitement about what He has for them.

Of all the names we have had to choose this was the easiest. Shortly after Ava was born Stef and I met a family with a daughter named Karis. Walking away Stef looked at me and said ‘I LOVE THE NAME CHARIS”. I replied and asked, “Do you know what it means?” Then I explained the meaning and we decided in the lobby of the church that was our next daughter’s name.

Our Charis is a firey little child who definitely brings excitement to our family. Everything she does she does with passion. What has surprised me is how much she has taught Stef and I about grace…because she require so much grace from us!

Isaiah Jude

Isaiah was one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. He was amazing at portraying who Jesus would be, how he would live, and the way he would die. Since I was a teenager the call of Isaiah in chapter 6 has been one of my favorite passages. “Here am I, Send me”.

The name Isaiah means “The LORD is salvation”. The name itself is a Gospel declaration. So the trick was to choose a middle name that complemented that.

Jude means “praise”. Think about it. How do people respond when they come to truly understand the Gospel. They praise. So our son’s name is “the LORD is salvation, give praise”.

Our prayer is that God uses him to declare the Gospel boldly.

Right now we are experiencing something else that comes up from the book of Isaiah.

He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

Isaiah 6:9

The Biblical Isaiah talked a lot and no one listened. Likewise, our boy talks so much that usually, we don’t realize he is talking to us because it NEVER STOPS. Maybe we should have taken the hint knowing the biblical Isaiah wrote a 66 chapter book.

Our next baby’s name

Did you scroll here hoping to learn the name of our next baby? Well, I’m not going to tell you today. I will give you a huge hint: It represents royalty and divine pleasure. But don’t bother guessing. We keep the name a secret until it’s official.

How did you choose your children’s names?

1 Comment

Bridget Smith · December 1, 2019 at 5:49 am

All of our children’s names are a tribute to someone in our family, except on 2 occasions, the middle name has more meaning behind it.

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