I sit here writing, 3 days until “due date” with my second daughter, and wonder: Who will this little girl be? What will she love? What will she look like? What will make her laugh? What will make her cry?
Two years ago, my husband and I sat, outfitted with large books filled with thousands of names, and we called out the possibilities. Each name was met with an immediate veto or accepted and put on “the list”. I remember my anxiety of wanting to name our daughter with thoughtfulness, intent, hopefulness, and meaning without confining her to the limits of her name. Caleb, my husband, needed the name to mean something; he wanted us to hope for her life, her humanity, and her story in by intentionally naming her, like the Hebrews did in ages past. We both wanted her name to be something of beauty.
We finally agreed on Malia Lynnae – meaning “wished for child who is soft and beautiful.” Little did we know that this little girl, along with her name, would change us in so many ways and open up our imagination of who she truly is, and who we are. In a brief two years she has surpassed the meaning of the name we gave her. She is still longed for and both soft and beautiful, but she is also feisty, fiery, and stubborn. She has already shown us that she will live out of the bounds of the title that we bestowed upon her.
In the future she may have nicknames. She might even want to change her name. Her name will birth many associations that we, along with everyone she meets, will have with the name Malia Lynnae. She will be unique; the only her. And, we will get to watch her own, live into, and transform a beautiful name to fit her even more fully.
As the birth of my second daughter is approaching quickly, I am again reminded of the honor it is to name a child. We get to put letters together to form a word that our child will come to own for the entirety of her life. Our job doesn’t stop at naming our children though. Each day, we have the opportunity to “name” for our children who they are and who they are becoming. What a huge responsibility and honor to be given – to help our children see their glory in all the unique ways they have and will engage this world. So go and bless your children with words and actions that show them that they are unique, wonderful, gifts of life…. because they are!