The name Elizabeth means “God’s promise”. We can all most likely think of a famous Elizabeth, but I’d like you to meet a few less widely known bearers of that same name.
My grandmother, Nana as we called her, was Carolyn Elizabeth. Nana was an incredibly strong woman in spirit who raised four children, helped manage the affairs of the family business, and endured the loss of two siblings while immigrating to the United States with her mother, a brother in the Korean war, and two of her own children. Growing up, I saw my Nana as my rock and comfort. She held our family together and made sure we took care of one another. While her health began to decline later in life, she remained just as stubborn and independent as her body would let her, even holding off her eminent death as long as she could still fight. My Nana embodied God’s promise of faithfulness, love and devotion to family. She was an Elizabeth.
My dearest childhood friend is Elizabeth Tova. She has been a blessing to my life for over 30 years. I have known her longer than I have known my own siblings. Elizabeth is curious, wise, creative. She possesses a spirit of adventure and inquiry that has always enthralled me. Her education, passion and work have sent her traveling the globe in service to others, collecting stories from various cultures and people. I could sit with her over coffee for hours just listening to her retell her adventures. Her latest adventure is motherhood and I have watched her embrace it with fervor and reverence. Because of Elizabeth’s captivating spirit, I chose her as my daughter’s namesake. Elizabeth embodies God’s promise of wisdom, grace and friendship. She endures as Elizabeth.
My oldest daughter is Tovah Elizabeth. Her names are a combination of “God’s promise” and “blessed” and she is both in so many ways. I lost a child at a young age and being given the opportunity to be a mother again with Tovah was God’s promise to restore me and place a new life in my hands. I will never forget the feeling of holding her for the first time and being completely at peace. Tovah is a remarkable child with a huge heart for others. She truly believes in humanity and has such a strong faith. She sees needs to be met and wants to solve the world’s problems. Her strong spirit far exceeds her age and is evidenced in her compassion toward her friends, family, animals and mankind. I am in awe everyday of the two amazing girls God has allowed me to raise and love. Tovah embodies God’s promise of compassion, service and steadfast faith. She bears well the name Elizabeth.
I too am an Elizabeth, Erin Elizabeth, and there are many more. I facilitated a training workshop just yesterday and, as we were sharing, an instructor described his daughter as a spirited, gracious and loving child who came to him and his wife later in life and is such a delightful six year old. I asked him what they named their daughter. He replied, “Erin Elizabeth”. I said she’s off to a great start.