Maeve’s Naming Story

As with all of our children, it took a little extra time to decide upon Maeve’s name. I guess that’s what happens when you have two opinionated people trying to agree on a title someone will be saddled with for the majority of their life. Admittedly, all of their names have come from compromise, but all ended up being very fitting. Maeve’s name is no different and equally special in its meaning.

MAEVE: From an old Irish name Madb (or Medb), “the cause of great joy” or “she who intoxicates.”

ILA: The Scottish translation is a variant of Aila or Isla meaning “from a strong and resilient place” or “island”.

JANE: Of English origin meaning “God is gracious”.

Maeve is one of the girl names Patrick has liked from the beginning (even before Moira was born), but it took the third girl for me to concede. I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of a name meaning ‘intoxicating’… until I found a translation that presented the meaning as “one who brings great joy”. That seems a lot more fitting, especially considering that her arrival came at a time of great uncertainty with fear and discouragement looming. As our world began changing drastically due to the advent of the novel coronavirus, it was Maeve’s arrival that God used to point our hearts to His purpose and provision during what could have been a very difficult time. Instead of fear and apprehension, I have experienced a new sense of joy that can only be attributed to a deep thankfulness and trust in God’s faithfulness.

True joy comes from God, and withstands any trial that may come — not because of anything that I can do or be, but because of what He does and who He is. This abiding joy is part of the victory we have in Christ — a victory over sin and death that we celebrated shortly after Maeve was born with Easter Sunday. With each day that has passed after her birth, I can see the workings of the Holy Spirit pointing me more to Him, less to the trappings of the world. This is still a process, but I’m overjoyed with the truths He is showing me through Maeve’s arrival. There are many things about this time of life that might be considered a trial — but in turning to the Lord, He strengthens our faith and imbues us with perseverance.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

James 1:2-3

When it came to selecting a middle name, I knew I wanted Jane to be part of it — after Patrick’s grandmother and also a great aunt on my side — and I love the meaning: God is gracious! A perfect partner for a name that means joy: God’s grace is indeed a source of great joy! But I had also had the name Isla on my mind for quite a while. Not for any particular reason, I just liked the sound. As I began researching the meaning, I discovered that while the direct translation is “island”, this can also mean “from a strong place”. Again, a perfect fit for a name that points to God as a source of joy, grace and strength. We went with a more American spelling, as opposed to the British with the ‘s’, and I love how it sounds paired with Jane like a double name “Ila-Jane”. Pairing God’s grace with His strength is a sure path to joy.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

All of these meanings didn’t quite come together until a few weeks after Maeve was born, and I am amazed to see just how fitting her name is. She is a sweet baby, and I look forward to seeing her personality bloom as we pray these great truths over her and trust in the Lord to continue as the source of our joy and strength, by His grace!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

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