Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our Sweet Girl's Name

I love to read birth stories, but I must confess that I love just as much, if not more, learning about how people's names, the history and meaning behind their names.  For my husband and I, we prayed for the names of all of our children, and the Lord revealed what we should name them at the right time.  Each time, the name reflected spiritual growth, revelation, or a wonderful work God had given us at that time.  God brings forth life.  Life is made for Him.  We are made to worship Him; so, if He is bringing forth life in my womb, my husband and I want to make sure we ask Him what to name the children He gives us.

Our oldest daughter's first name, Nora-Kate, is two-fold, obviously.  The Lord prompted us to put together Nora, meaning honor, and Kate, meaning pure, to work together to mean pure honor.  Our prayer for her is that her life brings pure honor to the Lord.  Our son, Gracen, was conceived after 8 months of praying and trying to have another baby, and simultaneously, while I was battling for my dad's life through prayer and fasting.  My dad was in the hospital and I fasted for three days for my dad's body to heal and my body to conceive another life.  Although my dad's body never healed on this side of heaven, the Lord taught me His grace, mercy, and His desire to do whatever He wills with, in, and through our bodies.  Because of His grace that was so apparent during that time, we named our son Gracen to help us remember the Lord's grace and what He taught us during that time.  The story of our newest baby, a baby girl, is no less miraculous and astounding.  The Lord is just so faithful to show up and speak to us when we need it.

The story of our baby girl's name came forth from a spiritual struggle.  In this life, we all experience fear, doubt, and worry.  This past summer, I experienced fear like I have not experienced in a long time.  In the beginning of 2014, shortly after our son was born, the Lord gently led my husband and me to go off of contraceptives and trust Him to provide however many children He wills for us and everything they need.  As with any step of obedience in God's will, Satan began His attacks, and he attacked me with fear.  Fear of the unknown and fear for my children's lives in this world.  Like a lot of fears, my fear encompassed unfamiliar territory.  I feared for my children's lives if Christians are ever persecuted in our country, a nation that claims to provide everyone with spiritual/religious freedom.  That fear overwhelmed me so much that I would wake up during the night and it would consume my thoughts.  I battled through it during the summer, and the Lord was always faithful to show up during my quiet times with Him.  He would always speak encouragement into my life through His Word and through friends.  It was a crippling fear.  Then, the Lord reminded me of the story of Moses.  During the summer, all I remembered about Moses was the fact that his mother had to abandon him in the Nile River because she loved him and didn't want him to be killed by Pharaoh.  That's all I remembered of the story, and I didn't want to think of it.  I didn't want to put myself in Jochebed's shoes and picture myself having to let my child(ren) go to keep them safe from persecution.  So, the way I coped was by not thinking about it.  Every time the story would come to mind, I would force myself to think of something else.  Then, the Lord started tugging on my heart through my daughter.  This is the absolute truth and it sends chills down my spine every time I think of the way the Lord was drawing me closer to Him even through this time...every time I would sit down to read with her, she would choose the story of Moses...EVERY time!  She has about five different publications of the story, so it wasn't always the same book, but always the same story.  She would bring it to me and ask to read it, and I would think of excuses not to read it.  I would usually say that the story was too long and we didn't have enough time to read it or I was too tired to read it.  But she would ask every time. 

Then, in September, we started our Bible study class.  I had no idea what we were going to study for the year.  The first day when I got to class, I learned we were going to study the life of Moses.  Of course!  Of course we were going to study the life of Moses, because that was the one story I didn't want to study!!  But my God loves me so much that He didn't want me to be held hostage to fear.  He didn't want me to be stuck in that; He wanted to free me.  He wanted to pull me out of that fear and shower me with His love.  He loves me too much to leave me in my fear.  He had big plans for me through the study of Moses's life.  When I took my notes home, I knew I had to face the story, the story I had pictured myself in, the story I had tried to push from my mind.  The first thing I said to the Lord before I even started reading was, "Lord, You know this is hard for me.  You know this is the one story I don't want to read.  I don't want to think about persecution and something happening to any of my babies.  I don't want to read this.  Please help me through it."  Then, I just faced it.  I read and prayed and leaned into God, and He was faithful as always.  Through the events in Moses's life, the Lord did not press on me the persecution.  He did not emphasize the weight of evil in this world.  Instead, He taught me about His faithfulness to those who believe in Him and follow Him.  He taught me about His provision to His beloved children.  He taught me about His unfailing, unending love for us and that He will take care of us, no matter how scary things around us seem.  He loves us!!

If you remember the story of Moses, he was born in a time of persecution.  At the time, Pharaoh had ordered for all baby boys to be killed.  There was no logical reason Moses should have survived, but his mother, Jochebed, held fast to the Lord and His promises.  The Lord led her to make a basket for Moses, put him in it, and lovingly place him in the Nile River.  Somehow, she found the courage, strength, trust, and faith to follow the Lord's leading and she obeyed.  She released her son into the dangerous river, not knowing where he would end up or what would happen to him.  She took the first step of obedience, and God blessed her obedience.

Pharaoh's daughter found Moses, took pity on him, and drew him out of the water.  Because Pharaoh's daughter didn't have the heart to harm him, Moses was taken back to his mother for her to nurse him to sustain his life.  Of course, Pharaoh's daughter had no idea it was Moses's mother.  The Lord's work through that story is just amazing and breathtaking.  The facts that Pharaoh's daughter found Moses, took pity on him, returned him to his mother, then grew up to become a great leader for the Lord and led the Israelites out of Egypt are NOT coincidence.  That is the Lord's faithfulness, and that is the way He works when we obey Him.  All we have to do is obey; He will take care of the rest.  He provided for Moses; He provided for Jochebed, Moses's mother. 

Being a mother is the hardest job I have ever taken on because there are so many fears and worries that bombard me each day, but where there is faith, there is no room for fear.  Fear is the absence of faith; you can't experience both at the same time.  God has given us His Word to remind us of His promises, faithfulness, and unfailing love.  The more I lean into Him and His Word, the more my faith grows.  So, after experiencing the Lord's beautiful love that this world cannot fathom and His faithfulness to His people, He gave us the name Nila Faith for our sweet girl.  Nila reminds us of God's faithfulness to Moses and his family when Jochebed had to lovingly place him in the Nile River, and Faith reminds us of what our walk with the Lord is all about.  We have to have faith to follow Him in obedience.  Hebrews tells us that "without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord."  So, our sweet baby girl's name is Nila Faith.  The Lord is so good!!