Naming Hope

Coming up with a name for this little girl was quite the process! “Hope” was a name I really liked from the beginning because during pregnancy you hope for so much for the person growing inside of you. We toyed around with lots of different middle name ideas and couldn’t come up with anything, so we decided to make “Hope” the baby’s middle name. Then we came up with a list of about a dozen possible first names but we weren’t in love with any of them.

After at least a hundred conversations with Nathanael where we pared our name list down to our top four or five, we still couldn’t choose. Ok, I couldn’t choose. For some reason I was just hesitant to commit to a name. Every time someone asked “So have you picked a name yet?” I got so stressed out, haha.

Then my water broke and we spent the night in Labor and Delivery. At some point in the wee hours of the morning I turned to Nathanael and said, “Let’s go back to Hope for the first name.” He readily agreed and commented, “It’s very fitting now.”

Over the two and a half weeks that I spent in the hospital I became fixated on finding a middle name that meant something to do with strength or fighting; I saw Hope as this tiny warrior inside of me, making it through day after day without her living space being the safe protection that it had been. One of the names left on my list (I can’t say “our list” because it was always Nathanael’s least favorite) meant “famous warrior,” and I was determined to convince Nathanael to like it. I failed. After Hope was born I tried harder to get it to grow on him, and he just wouldn’t go for it. I thought something would eventually come up that we both like and that’s meaningful, and hey we have a long NICU stay before her discharge to choose, right?


We found out as I was being discharged on Sunday night that we had to turn in the birth certificate then, not when Hope comes home! Luckily, the nurses had gotten to know us pretty well over the past weeks and trusted us to bring it back tomorrow when we explained that we hadn’t chosen a middle name.

We talked on the way home about a name we had briefly considered a long time ago and decided against. I had recently discovered it means “noble strength,” but I didn’t mention it to Nathanael because we had already decided against it a long time ago. During the car ride home, I asked him about this name that wasn’t on either of our lists.


My maternal grandmother’s name was Audrey. I never knew what it meant before searching name lists meaning “strength” late one night in the hospital. My grandma Audrey was the sister of Ella’s namesake.

My mom told me Sunday night over dinner when we told her we were thinking about using her mom’s name that Grandma’s favorite song was “Whispering Hope.”

Decision made.

Hope Audrey Carbrey


“Whispering Hope,” by Septimus Winner

Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.


Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.


Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal.
Come then, O come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, O never depart.


Lyrics copied from


(Sorry Mom and Aunt Beve and probably Jenny for making you cry…)

One comment

  1. Elisabeth–
    Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of knowing you. I went to high school with Jenny and knew your mom well through church. Jenny and I used to babysit together for Gwen and Angie when they were babies, so through those connections I knew Bev also. I had the pleasure of knowing your grandma Audrey too. She was a fixture at our church. You have honored her and her good name well. How proud your momma must be to have a daughter who can eloquently articulate words to tell such a beautiful story. You have made a stranger cry…and pray, for your sweet little girl whose strong name God knows.


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