Tuesday, October 9, 2012

the holiness of baby-naming

Yesterday, we saw our little baby.

We saw beautiful little hands waving, little feet kicking, a perfectly-defined spine curling and stretching, and a face formed with a tiny nose.

My breath was taken away.  Babies are nothing short of miracles


We also found out that the baby is a _____.  I will definitely share soon, but we just told our families and want to wait a little bit -- live with it a little -- before we share it with the world.

Since finding out, we decided last night to finally look at names -- a process that generally takes an incredibly long time.  We don't just want to choose names that resonate with us -- that we think are nice -- but that mean something, especially because of how Gwendolyn was named.

Naming Baby #1
Before we found out Gwenny was a girl, we had a name picked out for our girl: Shiloh.  Yet when we saw her for the first time, we were unsure.  Shiloh fit in some ways, but not in others.  So we took to the books and stressed over many names. all the while praying that God would reveal her name to us.

In the Bible, and probably throughout the time in which the Bible was written (not just those mentioned in the Bible), names were really important.  Names signified something -- usually what the child would become someday, or maybe what the child represented.  Maybe the child was a source of joy, then the name would mean joy.  If the child came from a bitter situation, the name would mean bitter.  Perhaps the child would someday become a great prophet, then the name would mean "who leads," or something like that.  Often, God would specifically tell the parents what to name their children.

So we sought God relentlessly while seeking to name Gwen.  One day, I was reading John, and came across this verse:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27, ESV

Even as I type out that verse, I remember sitting in Starbucks late on a weekday night -- probably weary from being pregnant, going to grad school, working, and living 45 minutes from our jobs/my school.  I read this verse and immediately knew that our daughter's name needed to mean peace.  It was an internal, "YES," that echoed throughout my body.

Gwen's name needed to mean peace because of this verse, but also because I had struggled with severe anxiety that whole year.  Through the pregnancy, God was bringing me to a whole new level of peace by trusting Him with everything.  My husband was also experiencing great -- miraculous -- reconciliation in his family that we never thought possible -- giving our lives even more peace. 

Even knowing that, Elliott and I struggled to name her until one day we both woke up and just knew.  We didn't know the other one knew, but by the middle of the day, I said, "Elliott, I know what her name is."  He said, "I do, too."  "Alright," I proposed.  "Let's write the first and middle name on a piece of paper and them switch them."  We switched the papers, and there it was:

Gwendolyn Shiloh
which means, incidentally...
Beautiful Peace

Naming Baby #2
It's a pretty cool story, and of course, we'd love for all our children to have similar stories.  Yet we weren't sure lightening could strike twice.

We were wrong.

Without going into too many details (the name will be a surprise!), we spent a couple hours last night listing out our favorite names -- first by what we just liked, and then by definitions.  After the list was up, we started writing out important life circumstances currently happening in our lives.  We wanted to see if any of the names matched up with our circumstances.

There was one name that fit perfectly for a first name.  And it was actually a name with a fairly obscure meaning -- one that we almost discounted.  Actually, when I heard the definition, my actual words were, "Well, that's unfortunate."  Yet there it was, staring us in the face, as if God just said to us, "This is your child's name."

And there was one middle name that made sense -- that made the meaning complete.  And in many ways, it parallels Gwendolyn's name rather nicely.
We were in complete shock.  I couldn't believe it had come together so soon -- so seamlessly.  To add to it, there was a verse in John that came to Elliott -- one that we recently looked at in church -- to make the meaning fully from the Lord.

To put it simply, I was completely giddy last night.  I already loved this little baby, but I am fully head-over-heels in love right now.

To find out what the name is and the full story, you'll have to check back around March 7.  I promise I'll share the sex of the baby sooner than that -- probably in the next couple of weeks.

  • How were you named?  What does your name mean?
  • How did you name your children?
  • What's the best naming story you've ever heard?

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