Rachel is my best friend, and a strong woman of faith. For her portrait, I took inspiration from her first and middle names: Rachel and Ann. In Hebrew, Rachel means "ewe," but for the purposes of our modern understanding, I've chosen the descriptor "beautiful" for the definition of her name, as this describes the Biblical Rachel (Genesis 29:17), wife and love of the patriarch Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. The English name Ann derives from the Hebrew name Hannah, meaning "grace". Hannah was the mother of the prophet and judge Samuel, and her story is detailed in 1 Samuel 1-2.
These women lived centuries apart, but had a few commonalities to their stories. Both were barren, which was considered a disgrace in their time, although they dealt with their situations differently. While Rachel blamed her husband and took matters into her own hands instead of turning to God (Genesis 30:1-3), Hannah went to the house of the LORD and poured out her heart and soul to Him in prayer. In these cases, despite their differences, God extended His grace to both women and allowed them to conceive. Rachel bore Joseph, and Hannah, Samuel, both of whom became prominent figures in Israel's history. The phrase used in both Genesis 30:22 and 1 Samuel 1:19 is nearly the same in Hebrew, which translates to "and God remembered her," the words used in the top half of the painting. The latter two words come from Hannah's prayer of praise to the LORD when he answered her plea, and they read "I rejoice in your salvation" (1 Samuel 2:1).
What connects these three women is not their personalities, but the "beautiful grace" of God at work in their lives. Today, God still works to take away disgrace--the disgrace of sin. In His love, He entered our existence as a human being, the spotless Lamb, lived perfectly and bore our sins and our disgrace on the cross, and rose again, triumphing over death and sin. Because of Christ, Rachel Ann can rejoice in His salvation and know that the Lord remembers her.