Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Early memories

One of my favorite early memories of Joshua was when he was about three and a half years old. I had to go into my office for some reason, so I took him in with me for a few minutes.

The place where I worked believed in the open floor plan. The only two people who had their own office were the Senior Vice President and the Vice President. Everyone else had cubicles with low walls. The most junior employees were grouped into four in their cubicles. Even though I'd been with the company for five years, I still sat in what we affectionately called the "quad."

As I was at my desk, Joshua leaned on his elbow against my co-worker's desk with his ankles crossed on the floor. It was such an adult pose. Considering that Joshua was always tall for his age and articulate, I didn't think much about it.

My co-worker asked him his name. He said. "Joshua." He paused a moment and added, "Josh." And paused another moment and finished with, "J.D."

It was rather funny since I'd never heard him refer to himself as "J.D." before. But even funnier was my co-worker's reaction. She told the story of Joshua introducing himself for weeks and even mimicked how he took a relaxed pose as he chatted with her like they were old friends.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In the tradition of the Hebrews

In the tradition of the ancient Hebrews, I named all my children based upon the character I prayed they would become as adults. Some of their names came easier than others.

I was a single parent when I had Joshua David. So I didn't have to negotiate with anyone else when I prayed through his name. I love several verses out of the book of Joshua. And as I studied the life of Joshua, I grew to admire the man he was. Joshua was a servant of Moses for forty years. Joshua guarded Moses' tent, took dictation from Moses, sat half-way up a mountain while Moses went all the way up the mountain to meet with God to receive the Ten Commandments, and commanded Moses' armies.

Joshua means "The Lord is Salvation." Joshua is the Hebrew form of the name "Jesus." Just as Jesus leads His people into the promises of God. Joshua lead God's people into the Promised Land.

David was "a man after God's own heart." And yet, David was also a flawed man, like the rest of us. He had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. And yet, after David sought God's forgiveness for these things, God blessed David and Bathsheba's marriage with a child. That child was Solomon, who is world renowned for his wisdom and wealth.

My prayers for Joshua David is that he will become a man who will lead people into the promises of God despite the fact that he was also born out of the conventions of marriage.

My middle son, Jonathan Paul was a little more difficult to name. My husband, Scott, and I agreed on naming a son Jonathan even as we just started dating. We both admired David's best friend. Jonathan was the first born of King Saul, and the rightful heir to Israel. However, after Jonathan met David, he recognized that David would actually succeed Saul as the king. Wow! Even now I marvel at the relationship Jonathan must have had with the Lord. He understood that another man would inherit the kingdom and yet Jonathan became best friends with that man. Not only that but Jonathan saved David's life from Saul. And finally, Jonathan remained loyal to his father and country by fighting attacking nations. In fact, Jonathan died beside his father, Saul, in battle.

Jonathan's middle name was harder. We'd picked out three options. "Kelly," which means "red." Since there is red hair on both sides of our families, we were sure that he'd have red hair. I wanted his middle name to be "Scott" in honor of his father. But his father wasn't comfortable with that. The one day during a sermon through the Book of Acts, the pastor was talking about Paul. I don't think I heard the rest of the sermon because I was pretty sure that "Paul" was the name that God wanted Jonathan to have. Just as I am convinced that Jonathan's brother, Joshua, will be leading people into the promises of God, I'm convinced that Jonathan will be like his father and will teach people about the promises of God. In the bible, we see many examples of Paul's teaching about the Lord and His promises through the Book of Acts and all Paul's letters in the New Testament.

Our daughter, Faith Jubilee, was the hardest to name. I was six months pregnant and we still didn't agree on any female name. In fact, we decided not to talk about it anymore until we knew we were having a girl. We had a number of ideas about the name which complicated the issues. In Scott's family, all the children have the same initials. This isn't an issue in and of itself. The issue comes when Scott and I had our hearts set on names from the bible. Jezebel Delilah were the only two names that seemed to meet our two criterion. Of course, these weren't acceptable.

Scott and I were driving two hours away from our home to a hospital for some testing. All the initial testing at the local hospital seemed to be indicating that our baby would have Down's Syndrome. On the drive up, we agreed on Josiah Titus if the baby was a boy. That was easy. We never really disagreed on a boy's name. I proposed Jubilee as a middle name for a girl's name. It met both criterion, it was a name which started with "J" as our sons and it was a name of an Old Testament Feast.
I didn't want to saddle our daughter with an unusual first name.

The Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament was to be celebrated every 50 years. The feast was to foreshadow Jesus' coming. It was a year that started off with all of Israel coming to the temple where the high priest would have the ceremony to forgive their sins. That year any family lands which were sold outside the family would be restored to the original family based upon when the land was first divided after Joshua entered the Promised Land. And any Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery, would be set free. This foreshadows when Jesus returns all his people's sins would be forgiven, their inheritance would be restored and they would be set free from the bondage of death and sin. Just as I had prayers for my sons I had prayers that my daughter would also tell people about Jesus. I hoped that she'd use her name as one way to tell others.

While we were in the hospital, more testing further indicated that our baby would have Down's Syndrome. So we finally agreed to have the invasive test which would definitively allow us to know prior to birth. The staff decided to start educating us on what having a Down Syndrome baby would mean. The tests results would take two weeks to be known.

On the two hour drive back, Scott and I talked about what having a Down Syndrome baby would mean to us. We talked about the future, about changes in the house, about starting to prepare, etc. When we fell into our beds later that night, we were just looking up at the ceiling, each in our own thoughts. Scott said, "Faith Jubilee." I said, "What?" He said, "What about naming her Faith Jubilee, if she is a girl?" As soon as he said it I knew that was her name. We didn't even have to discuss it further. But we did talk about her name reminding us of God's faithfulness to us that He had already given us everything we needed to raise her.

Two weeks later we did find out we were having a girl and that she did not have Down's Syndrome. It is amazing that those two weeks of praying and talking prepared Scott and I later to easily accept the news that Jonathan was high functioning autistic.