Naming Girls

by Sissy Goff

God has specifically chosen you for this job of namer. In spite of the fact that you will fail her over and over, he has entrusted you with the life of this girl you love.

When your daughter was born, you gave her a name. She may have been named after a family member, a close friend, a Bible verse or even one of your favorite characters from a book. Regardless of how you chose your daughter’s name, you named her. In essence, you said, “This is who you will be to the world,” and with that name came all the hopes, expectations and dreams you had for her.

Before your daughter was born, God gave her a name. His name for her is a secret that will finally be revealed to her in heaven, and his name captures the essence of who he has called her to be. His name says to her, “This is who you are.” Before she even knows what that name is, she is growing into it, and that name is calling out in her everything God has uniquely created her to be.

You may have hopes for what your daughter’s name is. You would like a daughter whose name is “Delightful” or “Woman Beloved by Everyone She Meets,” but you may have a daughter named “Creative in Her Solitude” or “Quiet Strength.”

As a parent, you do not get to choose the identity of your daughter. He chose her name before you even knew of her existence. He has placed an identity inside her that is distinctly hers.

God gives her the name, but you help call it out. Romans 8:17 says we are “co-heirs with Christ,” and you are also co-namers of the girl you love. He graciously gives us that place.

You discover her as you lean into him, and her identity will unfold as you listen and watch.

Listen. It is in the stillness that you will begin to hear God’s voice above all others. His name cuts through the frustration and the hurtful remarks to remind you of who he is calling her to be.  And as you watch your daughter through the years, you will continue to discover who God has named her.

God has specifically chosen you for this job of namer. In spite of the fact that you will fail her over and over, he has entrusted you with the life of this girl you love.

As you name your daughter, you help to call out the unique identity God has placed inside her.  In doing so, you make her more her.  In other words, you help loosen the entanglements of all that holds her back – the insecurities, the rejection from other girls, the confusion of boys – all  the turmoil going on inside her and around her.

Your daughter deeply longs for and is created to be in relationship, and your relationship is one God can use greatly in these nineteen years (from conception to adulthood) to impact her for the rest of her life. In the midst of a turbulent, sometimes hurtful world, you can help free her to be more particularly the particular girl she was meant to be.

And that is a pretty terrific job to have.


Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP spends most of her days talking with girls and their families, with the help of her counseling assistant/pet therapist, Lucy the Havanese. She has worked as the Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee since 1993, with a Master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. A sought-after speaker for parenting and teacher training events such as dotMOM, Lifeway Kids Conference, and Heart of the Child, Sissy has spoken to thousands of parents, teachers, and girls across the country. Sissy is the author of a Lifeway video parenting curriculum called “Raising Boys and Girls”, as well as six books including parenting titles, “Intentional Parenting”, “The Back Door to Your Teen’s Heart”, “Raising Girls”, and “Modern Parents, Vintage Values”, as well as “Mirrors and Maps” for 11-14 year-old girls and “Growing Up Without Getting Lost” for 15-19 year-old girls. Sissy is also a frequent guest and contributor to media shows and publications such as Moody Midday Connection, “ParentLife” magazine and The Chat with Priscilla Shirer. You can find her giving parenting tips on the blog at www.raisingboysandgirls.com.

Sissy will teach us how to help girls understand who they are and how they can navigate the world around them at MOMcon in her workshop Raising Girls.