Originally posted July 16, 2009
Welcome to Walking With You. Today, we are sharing how we chose the names for our babies and any special meaning behind them. I have previously written about the reason we chose the names for our babies in a couple older posts. While I feel it is important to share our stories, I want to remain focused on the hope we have in the Lord. We do not grieve as those without hope. Our sweet babies are alive in heaven. And I look forward this week, to sharing something special about them – something joyful.
Each of us gave our sweet babies a gift, a gift with meaning, from the heart. The gift of a name. A name we continue to hold in our hearts until we meet again. A name we long to hear – a name we ache for the world to recognize. A name that says this life mattered; this person was here.
It still blesses my soul when I hear someone mention the names of my Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Even so many years later, I long to hear their names spoken. Let’s face it, we moms love to talk about our kids. We love to tell funny stories about the things they do. We love to take pride in their accomplishments and seek comfort when we are concerned for them. We love to see them soar – to spread their wings and fly. I love to watch James slide into home plate, hit the ball to the outfield. Love to watch Timothy keep his cool on the pitcher’s mound and steal home. I love to watch the natural beauty of his golf swing. Love when they make good choices, learn lessons from not-so-good choices, and laugh their individual laughs.
It’s no different for my children who are no longer on this earth. I love to hear their names, to talk about them and wonder what their life is like in heaven. I love to see the effect their lives have had on others. It sort of feels like I’m watching them spread their wings to fly when someone finds comfort in our journey. Whether our little ones are with us or not, we are moms just the same. And each of our sweet babies have a name.
Faith and Grace
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10
When I was expecting our twin daughters, Faith and Grace, there were many complications. I lay awake in a hospital bed for weeks, praying, waiting, hoping, resisting doubt and fear. When we heard that we were expecting identical twin daughters, almost immediately, Ephesians 2:8 came into my mind. For it is by grace through faith you have been saved…
Grace has always been my favorite name, and that verse has always spoken to my heart. It was not something I did to earn salvation, but a precious gift from our Savior. So, it seemed fitting. They no longer were known as Baby A and Baby B, but Faith Elizabeth and Grace Katherine. I’ve been talking a little about names and what it means to have someone know your name. Their names had deep meaning, and more than I even realized. Webster’s definition of grace: “unmerited help given to the people by God….”. Unmerited. Undeserved. Given freely, not because of anything we did or could ever do to earn it. Grace that covers us. Grace that is given to us daily in a sufficient portion to meet our needs. Abundant, beautiful grace. Grace that saves…grace that carries…grace that comforts. I learned about His grace through being their mother. And I kept learning long after they left this earth.
At first, I thought that they were just beautiful names from a meaningful verse. When asked by one of our doctors why I chose the names Faith and Grace, I said, “Because it’s going to take a lot of both to get through this!” But even their situation – twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome made sense with the words in the scripture. Because in the condition of twin-to-twin the “lines are crossed,” so to speak. One baby, (Faith) gets too much fluid, blood flow, and nourishment, and the other (Grace) doesn’t get enough. In essence, Grace literally received her nourishment, her life…through Faith. And they were intertwined. Needing one another for survival. Interesting…It is by grace through faith that we are saved.
What I didn’t know is that there would be more. Carrying and saying good-bye to my Faith and Grace was only the beginning of learning about the faith and grace spoken of in these verses.
Carrying our Thomas, we learned about true faith. Not the pretty word we Christians throw around…thinking it has something to do with us. Somehow, if we just have enough faith. Oh boy, do we miss the boat on that one. True faith is not some pretty little thing. It is found in the nitty-gritty journey through this life. It is not never feeling doubt or fear, but trusting in God anyway, when you are most afraid and filled with doubt and questions. Trusting when you don’t see. Believing without seeing. Believing when you don’t get the answer you want or when there seems to be no answer at all. Praising Him in the storm. Trusting Him to carry you. Surrendering to the arms of our sovereign God. Blessing Him when He gives and when He takes away.
It’s not about how much faith I have or how strong it is. It’s about how mighty, able, powerful, all-knowing, merciful and good my God is. So many times, we want to see the miracles with our eyes. We want proof that He is there. Proof that He hasn’t forsaken us. Proof that He lives. Proof that He will carry us. Proof that His grace is sufficient.
We want to see. Never have I ached to see Him more than when we heard the words “incompatible with life” in reference to our son Thomas. I have shared about part of that journey before, but today, I want to focus on the precious gift Thomas’ life gave to us…the reason he is called Thomas. His life taught us about “believing without seeing.”
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. ~ John 20:24-29
ADDED: I just realized I didn’t mention how we chose the names for our two boys that are with us. Timothy James is our firstborn. He is named after his father and grandfather. His name means “to honor God”. James Henry is also named after Tim’s and my grandfathers. He is our youngest son. His name (although not at all chosen because this. I actually didn’t know the meaning until this morning when I looked it up online.) means “to replace”. Interesting. To us, it is just a biblical name that also honored our family. I also forgot to mention the middle names of Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Faith Elizabeth (just because I liked how Elizabeth sounds with Faith). Grace Katherine (because my mom’s name is Kathy). Thomas Patrick (because my father’s name is Patrick).
Next post, we will be sharing about the early days of grief. We will spend a few weeks talking about different aspects and phases of grief and its effects on the relationships in our lives. We will choose specific subjects to focus on for that week.