Naming Elisabeth Jane.

As we ask you to join us in our journey to Malawi, we want you to know who we are. We are the Crooms. Josh and Merribrooke married in 2014 and now have two beautiful baby girls. Ella Jane will be eighteen months this week, and Clara is five months. We adore our two precious blessings and pray fervently that they grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This week and next, we want to share with you how we chose our daughters’ names. Names have significance and we try and choose names that are meaningful to us and to who we pray our children become. So today we want to tell you about Elisabeth Jane (Ella Jane) Croom.

Elisabeth Jane, which we shorten to Ella Jane, is a name that we love because it is full of meaning. Many factors went into making this naming decision. First, I knew if we had a little girl I wanted her to have a double name. As a born and raised Southerner, I love the charm of double names. With that decision made, Josh and I began discussing names we liked and combining them with other names. Elisabeth was an easy decision for both of us. Not only did we love the graceful sound of Ella, but more importantly Elisabeth is the name of someone who has had a profound impact on my faith.

Though I never had a chance to meet our daughter’s namesake, Elisabeth Elliot has discipled me through her writings. My first meaningful encounter with Elisabeth Elliot was when I read her book Shadow of the Almighty during my junior year of high school. Shadow of the Almighty is her account of her husband’s life and martyrdom. It features many excerpts from his personal diary and paints a vivid picture of his unwavering commitment to a God to whom he fully surrendered his life. While reading this book, something stood out to me just as much as Jim’s powerful testimony. It was Elisabeth’s constant trust in a God whose plan she could not see or understand that truly inspired me. The book describes the early years of Jim and Elisabeth’s relationship. As I read about how Elisabeth trusted the Lord through every single step of her often tumultuous relationship with Jim, I was challenged to commit every single step of my future dating relationship to the Lord. The Lord used the example of Elisabeth Elliot to convict me to trust him fully with every aspect of my relationships. This conviction prepared me for the budding relationship that was developing with a very special man, Joshua Paul Croom. Without Elisabeth pouring into me, I do not know that I would have trusted the Lord to bring Josh and I together.

Elisabeth Elliot’s surrendered trust in God not only shaped my view on relationships, but also on responding to the call of God. Even in the face of undeniable hardship, Elisabeth trusted that God’s plan was perfect. She willingly sent her husband to an unreached and hostile people group who took his life. Not only that, but she had the courage and forgiveness to return to that same people group and spend a significant portion of her life living among them and spreading the gospel. As a result, the Aucas’ lives were changed here and in eternity. She is the picture of bravery and surrender I want to emulate as we respond to God’s call to Malawi. Elisabeth’s surrender to God was the model I needed when the Lord asked me to respond to His call to international missions six years ago. Since reading Shadow of the Almighty six years ago, I have continued to be taught by Elisabeth Elliot through many of her other writings, and I am so grateful for the example of her constant faith. I pray our sweet and determined daughter selflessly surrenders to the call of God, and walks with Him in faith like her precious namesake.

Once Elisabeth was decided on, we agreed we wanted to shorten it to Ella. We love the sweet ring of Ella, and it means fairy maiden. Since I have always loved the whimsical magic of fairies, I was ecstatic when I realized our daughter’s name means fairy maiden [Editor’s note: For the record, I (Josh) was not all that thrilled with “fairy maiden”, as you can imagine. I was more looking for “Fierce warrior princess who rides dinosaurs”, but my search was sadly in vain. I soon was convinced and I am very grateful I was.]. After Ella was decided, we began searching for a name to pair with it. After exploring many options, we thought of Jane. Upon further research, we discovered that Jane means, “Gift from God.” I could not think of a more fitting description to describe our little girl. As I think of her and what her name signifies, I think of James 1:17. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Ella Jane is one of the many good things our Father has blessed us with. We ask God daily to fill us so we can love, teach, train, and cherish this “perfect gift” He has entrusted to us.