Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's In A Name?

A friend of mine recently had her second baby.  Up to the day of his birth she was lamenting over the fact that she and her husband couldn't settle on a name for him.  It brought me back to the days of pouring over baby name books, making lists of possible names, then lists of first and middle combinations.  Oh and then there's the "what nicknames could be made from this name?" consideration that ranks right up there with the "what do the initials spell?" question.  

So much thought and emotion go into the names we choose for our children.  Is it any wonder that a thoughtless, "You like THAT name?" ignites the fire that soon sends smoke pouring out our ears? Or once that precious bundle arrives we get irritated when friends and family can't remember the name we chose to attach to our child.  The reverse is true too.  People who gush over the name we chose become our new best friend as do acquaintances who greet our child by name.  Remembering a name, especially our children's names, endears that person to us.

I read a beautiful love letter today from a father to his children.  He tenderly expresses his love for each of his kids.  He is possessive and protective, ready to beat up anyone who intends to harm his brood.  He promises unwavering support, constant comfort, and whispers sweet nothings in his kids' ears when they are paralyzed by fear.  He calls each one by name and they are comforted by hearing their Daddy's voice.   It was so beautiful, I wanted to share it with you.

This Daddy says, via Isaiah 43, (emphasis in caps is mine) "But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you BY NAME - YOU ARE MINE.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD, YOUR God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;  I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.  Since YOU are precious and honored in my sight, and because I LOVE YOU.  I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you;... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth - everyone who is called by MY NAME, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

My mother's heart resonated with the desire to protect, ease fears and comfort my children.  And my personal heart warmed when I realized that God, my Heavenly Father, hovers over me in love.  Calling my name and whispering in my ear, "I love you.  I chose you.  I will protect you.  I know your name and I even know how to pronounce your maiden name."   

What's in a name?  Maybe not much from an earthly standpoint, but I proudly bear the name Jodi Lynn Stilp, daughter of The King.

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