Today is my birthday. Twenty-seven years ago, I entered this world blue and strangled, delayed my first breath of life in the world by the very cord that provided life to me all those months. My life began in a struggle and has had plenty more since then but it is my life and unique.
I love birthdays. Not just mine but others as well. For me, it is a day to reflect on what on I have accomplished, what my goals are for the next year, and enjoying my favorite cake of course. For others, such as my children, it is a time to reflect on how much they have grown, the process of their birth, and where they may be headed.
Birthdays are so important; they are a celebration of life. My birthday marks seven weeks left until I am due to give birth to my fourth child. We have finally picked a name but we will not share it with anyone.
My husband is quick to explain it is because we do not care for the opinions of others. While this may lack what some call tact, the tactless responses we did get when telling others our firstborn’s name before he arrived was worse. Many people would say, “I don’t really like that name,” “It’s not original,” or “Have you thought about this name? It’s better.”
But it is more than just avoiding the opinions of others.
I can think of no other place more hallowed than the birthing room outside of a spiritual experience. It’s messy and it’s ugly and it’s painful but brought forth out of all that is the breathing of first life. In that moment I have never been more terrified and calm at the same time. During that time you may not feel that it is holy, but something holy is happening, the recreation of the breath of life filling the lungs of Man. It is in that moment, when our child enters this world, that I speak their name.
There is something special about naming a thing and something even more special about naming a person.
Isaiah 43:1 says that God has called us by name and we are His.
He commands Adam to name every living thing on the Earth. When Eve bears a child, she and Adam are given the responsibility to name the child.
As I mentioned in another post, I am a firm believer in the power of words. Placing a name on something, what that name means, and the power behind it. More so is the responsibility of the name of a child. And all my children have begun to fulfill their names.
Samuel- Heard by God. I have posted before and explain in further detail in my book how we lost our first child. I cried out to God many times to have a child and He answered my prayer. Samuel has a beautiful misshapen birthmark on his leg that resembles a heart, similar to a smaller one on my arm, and it reminds me of how God heard our cry and how He loves us.
Isaiah- Yahweh is salvation or My God is my salvation. Never have I met a three and a half year old so eager to pray or express his faith. The first to volunteer to pray at dinner and the first to lay his hand on you and pray for healing, he is a child of simple, pure faith. He takes notice of things around him and is in awe of His creator and will readily say thanks to God for the wind, the sunset, a healing, finding a toy, anything and everything.
Hadassah- Myrtle flower. While her name’s literal translation does not mean anything too significant, who she is named after (Queen Esther) and the famous words spoken to her that she was brought to that place for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) is fitting. Our Haddie was given to us at a time when I was scared I would never succeed in a mother/daughter bond, desired it but had falsely assured myself I only wanted boys, and at a time when I needed to prioritize. Her life and energy has prepared me for the coming of my second daughter and I could not imagine not having a daughter. Her fiery spirit gives me faith she will do something great one day. Myrtle flowers also represent simple, uncomplicated love, and she loves without abandon and gives it freely.
Our last child’s name does not have a direct translation (hint hint!) but the background of her name is so strong I could not help but fall in love with it.
Even my own name, given to me by parents who had only just begun to know me and love, is derived from a flower, the laurel. Laurel wreaths were given to those who were considered to have good insight and were successful. My hope is that I have lived up to my name or will one day. People with my name are considered go-getters and achievers. I look at what I have accomplished so far- four children, two Master’s, a step into publication, an amazing marriage of almost eight years.
My husband’s name, which we have joked how it means “keeper of the horses” really gives light to his character. Like someone who tends horses, he calms my anxiety and fears, speaks words of comfort, and is trusted to lead and direct our marriage and family. He is loyal and full of integrity.
So speaking a name over a child is more than just not caring about opinions. Calling out a child’s name, I am claiming them as mine. I am claiming them as all that their name stands for.
Birth days are incredibly important. The naming of a name, a blessing put on them as the first thing they hear over their cry- that is holy.
I love birthdays. I love celebrating life and my blessings and the love around me. I can’t wait for the next one, but until then I will enjoy this one, reflecting on all that has happened, good and bad, and enjoying the birth day of my second daughter and the celebration of the birth days of my others.