Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Future of Hope

If I stop for more than a moment to let my mind wander into thoughts of my children growing up, I am instantly sad. For in that moment flashes a lifetime of disappointments and pain, the chill of a not-so-nice world wrapping itself around my heart. I think about all the hurt and silence, all the rejection and loss, and I am afraid for my children - scared that they too will fall prey to the darkness that seems to have chased me my entire life.

And I don't want that; what mother who truly loves her children would?

I want them to see the other side - the beautiful aspects of life, how amazing people can be, how forgiving (and apologetic) the world sometimes is. I want them to understand early on what took me years and years of wasting time to discover - that they are His children, born for a specific purpose, given gifts and talents to be used for His works. That despite any loneliness they feel inside or pain they endure, despite sadness that might creep into their hearts for no reason at all, He is always there to comfort, to strengthen and sustain; He is there to be everything that the world and their father and I am not.

And this fact helps to bypass that moment which I sometimes drown myself in; it helps me to release the anxiety I feel over their futures, the worry and fear I have for their lives. And it lets me dream for them. And hope. (And fight my own demons which haunt me still.) And it lets me live so that I may allow them to live, not bound in bubble wrap of safety or locked away in towers, but really live so that they can see what I could not, so that they can find themselves in the arms of Jesus every single step of the way.

'For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not fore woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.' ~Jeremiah 29:11 NAB

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's In A Name?

As I make my journey through this (my 4th) pregnancy, I am going back and forth with the names that we have picked out. We wanted to stick with Italian names for the girls, and Irish names for the boys. But the name I have picked out for a girl isn't Italian, though the middle name is (which at first I didn't know). And I am wondering if it matters. I have also taken into consideration, thanks to my sister, that none of these names are saints' names. But does that matter either? And at some point, will my children decide they don't like their names or want to go by their middle name instead of their first? Or a nick-name instead of their given name? Names are important in that they are a major part of our identity - they are one of the first things we learn of ourselves as our mothers and fathers attempt to get our attention as babies, as others come into our lives, as we grow and learn the importance of knowing someone's name as a major part in identifying who they are. But how important is a name, really, and does it actually identify who we are?

Since I've been an adult, I have had the issue of whether or not I should go by Rebecca or Becky. Usually, when I introduce myself to new people, I am Rebecca. It sounds more grown-up and professional and though it seems a bit strange to me for my personality, being known as Rebecca does in fact make me feel more grown up. But as I get to know people, somehow I feel more comfortable allowing them to call me Becky; or often, they are the ones who feel more comfortable. It is more intimate in some ways, to call someone by their nick-name.

When I met my friend, Lisa, almost 2 years ago, I introduced myself as Rebecca. We were meeting on a professional basis and I felt it more appropriate to use my given name as opposed to my nick-name. But as we became friends, she started calling me Becky and I had no issue with that. For me personally, I'd like to be called whatever people feel more comfortable calling me. But does this give me two different identities and is it too confusing? Now, wherever Lisa and I are together, if this issue comes up with others - with what name I go by - it's usually brought up by her. I am perfectly happy going by Rebecca if that's what people know me as or are introduced to me as, but it's always some sort of fluster for a having to make a decision about what people should call me, etc. And sometimes I feel like maybe it's a character flaw of my own that I am so wishy-washy with what I want. But really, it's not that I don't want to make a decision - I just don't care either way.

My name, Rebecca Ellen, means "captivating light." When I was searching for baby names for each of my last 3 pregnancies, I made it a point to look up what they mean. Angelina means "angel" or "angelic." Aidan means "fiery." Isabella means "consecrated to God." But do most people pick names for their babies based on meaning alone? If so, why would anyone want to name their child something that doesn't have a positive meaning, or one that doesn't make sense? (Such as Phyllis which means "leafy bough" or Tristan which means "tumult") Recently, I had a discussion with two friends about what each of our names mean. My friend Connie remarked that our name-meanings fit us exactly. I wasn't so sure if this were true for me and mine but I thought it was interesting - the idea that maybe sometimes our names are not just randomly picked but placed on our parents' minds by God Himself, in accordance to what His plans are for us. Can I one day be a captivating light? Maybe, based on this idea alone, our names are far more important than anything I could ever dream of, especially when identifying who we are as His children.