Names and their meaning are special in our family. We tell each other the stories of our names often and speak the meaning into our present.
Annikah Joy means “Grace of God” and her middle name is what she brings where ever she goes.
Evangeline Imani means “One who shares the Good News” and her middle name is Faith in Swahili (in honor of the place that was her first home) and this fiesty girl shares God’s love in big & bold ways.
Abishai Steven means “gift from the Father” and Steven (also in honor of my Dad) means honor. He was an unexpected gift and we see him following the Abishai in scripture that is somewhat of a Biblical bad ass.
We did not choose her name but it has been a reminder the God who knits all things together knew. When we discovered the meaning of her name is “mighty queen” it was a gift. We speak it over her again and again.
When the dear woman who gave her life and the woman who is raising her sat across from each other in the sacred space of a Wendy’s I asked about her name. She told us the sound of rain was relaxing and comforting during a time of difficulty and she found refuge in the rain and chose to name her Rayne. I asked her if she knew the meaning when she selected it and although she did not we both agreed it was a perfect fit for this little but mighty girl. She is a Mighty Queen. I shared that in the uncertainty of how to respond to the call to host that came on a rainy August afternoon I misheard her name as “Lane” on the phone. Their request was simple but would cost so much to my selfish heart, just love a little girl with the only promise being the unknown. Once the worker corrected me, “No, not Lane Rayne, like the weather outside but spelled differently” I had a moment. These moments are few and far between but they stop us in our tracks and we know deep in our being, no matter how scared we are (an we were terrified) that it is from God. I was suddenly transported to my bedroom as a teen when I scribbled baby girl names in a journal 20 years ago.
I wrote Novembre Rayne as a name for a baby girl at that point I could only hazily envision, only dream of as I had no idea the various ways motherhood would open up new spaces in my life and heart I never could predict. I had no clue how much it would cost me to not only become a mother but engage in mothering day in and day out. I also had no real conception of the intense pain and joy in getting a front row seat to our kid’s struggles and success. I still really don’t have much clue what I am doing but I know deep in my soul it is so worth doing. When Jason and I shared baby names early in dating just for fun he quickly laughed at my “Guns-n-Roses hippie name” and we never discussed it again. But then, there I was on the phone with a social worker and tears started to stream down my face. I KNEW in that moment we had to say “yes” to what seemed like impossible timing (Jason was out of town for work, our other kids were adjusting to so many news things, we were still learning life in a new town, I was spread thin and exhausted on the daily). But I just knew. That silly and naive teen girl sketched out a future and called into existence a daughter that would come to us only through massive heartbreak and pain but be so strong and lovely an teach us so much. I shared this with the dear one across the table from me whose face is just as beautiful as the little girl she gave birth to and she teared up, she told me how happy it made her to know that story and we both had a sense of peace in what was just impossibly difficult.
I was reflecting on all God has done in the last 4 years and the amazing gift He gave us in her name. A name that has origins in her first family and has grown deep roots in her forever one. I hope and pray we teach her to embrace her name and all God says about her each day.
Life is a gut wrenching & beautiful gift friends- I pray you have peace today.