There is a crescent moon on the silver night my husband and I lay face to face discussing baby names for our second child. He smells like soap. He is blue eyes and rough unshaven. A breeze rolls through tree tops and our open window. Cotton drapes shift.
“James,” he says.
“Too plain,” my first reaction, eyelids heavy on a down-filled pillow.
“Hayes,” I counter.
“Zimbabwe,” he says.
Laughter fills his face, the night.
I like Hayes, Crew and Inman. He shudders, a traditionalist. My wish is for a name with unique meaning- as to this child and me as his mother.
Some weeks later, my bible is open in my lap and I am not thinking about baby names when God grabs my attention and tells me the name for our son.
First, I must tell you that I don’t wear pregnancy well. While some women glow, I unfortunately vomit. Clothed in a heavy robe of exhaustion for months on end, it is a trial. A sacrifice. The unconditional surrender of physical and emotional self. A blessing, always, but from the first morning one finds she cannot keep down one oyster cracker, there is no way through except one foot (and month) in front of the other, leaning on Jesus, because of the desperate need for a savior.
And so it happened one morning that the Savior I had been clinging to through months of sickness whispered to me the name of our unborn child. I read that morning in the book of James:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
I remembered the night, weeks earlier, when my husband had whispered, “James.” And it wasn’t that I decided that morning that James would be our son’s name, it was that morning that I knew James was his name.
And I do believe it matters. I believe God knows me and that He knows me by name. I believe that 2,000 years from now God will still know me by name, as mother of Wynn and James, the way He still knows Azor by name.
Azor is one of the men listed in the long “Abraham begot Isaac who begot . . . ” section of the bible that you, like me, probably scan over with glazed eyes. (Azor is named smack-dab in the middle of this long list at the opening of the book of Matthew.) Furthermore, did you know that in the book of Nehemiah, rarely is a person mentioned without their parent being mentioned by name as well?
“Zadok, son of Immer, made repairs . . . next to him was Shemaiah, son of Sheceniah . . . . “ Nehemiah 3:29 (etc.)
I say this because if you are feeling lost or forgotten, if you feel glanced over in a long proverbial list, take heart, God knows you by name.
Likewise, if you are a parent awaiting prodigal son; if you are a parent in the trenches with a toddler; if you are a parent hugging a toilet and begging for grace, your name, as parent of your child, is known and will be remembered. If you never held your child this side of heaven, He knows your name as parent and the name of your child. Because you are loved by a timeless God.
Because you are His child and He is your father.
Because your name, like James’, matters.