we did not choose the name hazel because it had a significant meaning. in fact, i didn’t think it really had any meaning it all. it seemed like my own name — Brooke — which literally just means one who lives by a brook (stream) and has english origins. (side note: much later in my life, God brought new life and insight into the meaning of my name and it is wonderful!). most baby name books and sites said that Hazel just refers to the tree of the same name and has old english origins.
so, we named hazel hazel because it sounded pretty. and because it was old-fashioned and rare enough to suit my Type 4 sensibilities. not very deep reasons.
but after she was born, our friend Tony pointed out to us that Hazel has some associations with healing. Witch Hazel is an herb used for several uses in herbal medicine (according to wikipedia: Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling). and the wood of the hazel tree is worn as jewelry against the skin to reduce inflammation and acid conditions. given that the gift of healing is one that i’ve been petitioning God for, and a gift that He seemed to be growing me in even during my pregnancy with Hazel, this is really meaningful to me. and i pray that she will bring healing wherever she extends her hands.
this is significant enough for me.
but yesterday i discovered another meaning of hazel:
Alternatively, the name can also be derived from the Hebrew hazā’ēl (God sees).
— From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman
wow! i love this!
one of my all-time favorite Bible stories is the story of Hagar who, found to pregnant with Abram’s first child after his own wife could not produce an heir for him, is scorned by his wife and forced to flee. she is hiding under a bush in her misery and despair when God himself seeks her out, finds her, and talks to her. He instructs her about what to do next (return to her mistress) and gives her promises for her son (who will be Ishmael). after this encounter with God, she calls Him El Roi – the God who sees [me].
how many times God has demonstrated to me that He sees me. He sees the most hidden corners of my heart and responds to them in deeply personal and meaningful ways. the grace astounds me every time He does that. even in giving me this daughter, i have felt seen by Him.
and as it turns out, my daughter’s name is a derivative of a hebrew word meaning “God Sees.”
it makes me laugh to think that i thought we were giving our daughter a meaningless name… only to find out that God has great meaning for it. for her. what a lovely surprise.