Saturday, June 17, 2017

What's In a Name?

Do you know the meaning of your name, or the names of your children? I don't know that we always give the meaning of a name much thought. While I don't always hear from God as clearly as I would like to about every situation in life, He has spoken to me a lot about the baby I am carrying now. As it turns out, in his case, the meaning of his name is everything. If you want to know what his name will be before he arrives, you have to know the story.

When we found out we were having another boy, we began tossing ideas around, and thought we would either go with a name from the Bible or a name that reflected family heritage in some way. Most of the Biblical names I love the best just don't go well with our last name, so that narrowed the list down quickly. Just for the fun of it, we were also thinking of names we liked beginning with "L" because we already have Lucas. One day in March, I opened a book of Irish names that once belonged to my Granny. She came to America from Ireland with her family when she was a little girl. My grandmother was a wonderful storyteller and I loved to hear her tell of her family and traveling here, and I was fascinated with all the things she owned which had anything to do with Ireland. This book was no different, and I had looked through its pages many times as a child. So I have saved that book in my own collection for years. On this day, I found my focus settled on a name that I have heard many times before, and it never jumped out at me as a name I would choose. It was a fine name, but I personally never thought there was anything exceptional about it. But for that moment, it held my gaze. Then the meaning of the name nearly took my breath away. When I tell you the meaning, promise me you won't go Googling that to see what the name might be....just read on.
The meaning of the name that had caught my attention was "strong willed warrior and protector." Why is that important? Only because one of the specific reasons we have so desperately wanted another child is so that Lucas would have someone who would love him for life after we have departed this world. We hoped in our hearts that God would indeed give him a protector. Someone who would be glad to fight for him as needed, the same way we always have tried to do. At this point the name was not set in stone, but after I told my husband what it meant, we were pretty sure that this name was going to be the one. Several weeks later, God gave me confirmation that this was the right name for our child through the first scare we had about this pregnancy. Here is something else that only two very trusted friends know about, because we wanted prayers, but we didn't tell anyone else at the time what was happening because we didn't want anyone to needlessly worry, or make the situation worse by thinking negative thoughts and believing something would go wrong. It is my firm belief that everything about this baby is going to be a miracle and I need people to stand in agreement with me about that. However, this news did bring a brief feeling of fear. My second round of blood work that can be used to rule out some genetic disorders came back with an elevated risk of trisomy 18, a condition in which there would be an extra copy on the 18th chromosome. At the same time, my most recent ultrasound at showed two small cysts on my baby's brain, often a sign of other disorders, but as the doctor told me, they can commonly dissolve on their own and mean nothing.
I will be honest and say that when we realized these two things were occurring together and read the possibilities of what trisomy 18 can mean for a child, I became fearful and cried. I was even angry for a moment, at the mere possibility that my next child could also be disabled and said repeatedly that it wouldn't be fair. And then, I did what I should have done from the beginning. I prayed. I was crying out to God, saying that I couldn't possibly believe He would lead me into this pregnancy for us to have another big problem, when what we had asked Him for was a solution....provision of a friend for Lucas in the future, someone to care about him. This could never happen if our next son was on his developmental level of worse, and after all, it was God who had spoken to my heart that all I needed to do if I wanted another child of my own with no disability was to ask Him. In that moment, praying by myself in my living room, the tears suddenly stopped rolling because I felt an amazing sense of peace come over me. And then I heard God's voice in my heart once again, asking me what my baby's name was, and telling me that I needed to name him according to what I believe he is going to be. I did have faith that my son would become a warrior and protector for his brother. That is what we believe about him and that is the answer to prayer that we are stepping out in faith to know that we KNOW this is what God will provide. And so answering back to God in prayer I said the name. His name is Liam. I had not one more moment of fear after that about any possible unwanted conditions. Later that day, my wonderful doctor called me on the phone and told me not to be worried as we were going back to follow up with genetic counseling and have another ultrasound to get a closer look at the baby. He repeated that those cysts often disappear and the first round or tests I had, which was all clear, was more accurate than the second. He reassured me that we were only going back to genetics as standard protocol. That appointment came only two weeks later, and I was scheduled to see my doctor for another ultrasound about two weeks after that. That regular appointment was the one where they were going to check his brain to see of the cysts were gone or had remained and grown. But that test proved to be unnecessary, because in only two weeks time at the genetics center of the hospital, I watched the monitor as they carefully explored every aspect of my baby's anatomy. And that day God proved to us that everything was going to be all right, because the cysts were already gone, and there was not one other sign of improper development. The doctors there agreed with my doctor's assessment that we had no need for concern, because the elevated risk on the second round of tests I had was negated by the first tests that showed no problems. We were more than grateful that God had quickly come to our aid to calm our minds and remind us that He was at work doing something special. And this was not the last time He would confirm to me the name.

The next time I was in deep prayer for my son was at a worship experience a friend had invited me along to with her. I prayed there during worship fervently that every chromosome in this baby is whole, undamaged, unbroken, and there are no extra or missing pieces anywhere. I prayed that every system is going to function properly, and he will meet all his milestones on time. I prayed over his brain, and his heart, and his whole body. And I heard once more God ask me to say his name, and know that I need to name him according to my belief. I silently said "This is Liam," and at that moment, I felt him moving for the first time in a while that evening. If it wasn't sealed already, that did it. Whenever this child makes his entrance into the world, Liam Michael will be his name. We want to honor Mike's dad who passed on from this world a few years ago, and would be over to the moon about a new grandson if he were here. We have come to find out that Liam has increased in popularity so much that it has become the number one boy's name used in 2017, but my decision has nothing to do with its popularity, and everything to do with its meaning. What's in a name? This time, it's an element of faith that we have, knowing the child on the way will be what we always wanted for his big brother. One friend for life...a strong willed protector. 
"Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart."

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