I’ve been thinking a lot about names lately.
Have you ever googled the meaning of your name? Surely most of us have. Margaret, my real name, means “pearl.” Eve, my middle name, means “mother of the living.” I never really thought much about the meaning behind my name. Pearl is kind of cool, a precious gem, but not sure about the whole mother-of-the-living thing. In fact, I found that latter one to be a little strange and simply ignored it–until recently.
From the months of September to December, specifically between finding out that I am pregnant with our first child, to discovering her gender on New Years Eve, my husband and I spent quite a bit of time talking about names. We found ourselves feeling certain convictions about the name of our child.
We want there to be significance and meaning.
We want to call him or her by name as soon as we can, before birth.
We want to start praying for him or her by name.
[For the rest of the story on us naming our daughter Lydia Evelyn, read Part II of this entry.]
D I S C O V E R I N G .
In the meantime, I picked out a book off the shelf of my favorite bookstore called Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. My hope was that through reading this book, I could begin to prepare for the calling of motherhood spiritually, while simultaneously making preparations physically and practically.
In the early chapters of the book, Furman states that motherhood isn’t just a calling for some, for those who are married or those who are biologically able to bear children. In fact, she argues that all women are created to live in missional motherhood through making disciples. Making disciples, after all, is a calling of all believers (Matthew 28:18-20). As women, we make disciples by nurturing those around us, serving our communities, and showing compassion for our neighbors.
With this new perspective I realized that it’s not just now that I’m expecting a baby that I’m called into motherhood. This calling doesn’t just begin in May, when our daughter Lydia Evelyn will be born.
For as long as I’ve been a believer, the Lord burdened my heart for lost college students. I was only a sophomore in college when I responded to a calling to become a Young Life College leader and lead my first Bible study for freshmen women. This calling has never left, and the Lord has called me into a strategic “mothering” role of college students, which through the years has now transformed into a “mothering” of pretty much anyone He’s placed in my life, whether at church, work, in my ministry or in my neighborhood.
As I kept reading, the author continued to explain motherhood throughout the Bible. To start, she zoomed in on the creation story, examining a snapshot of the world’s first mom.
“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20)
God revealed something new to me in that moment. The meaning behind my name was not weird or random. My name was in fact a calling.
In this life, I am fulfilling a calling by God to mother the living. I am fulfilling Eve.
L I V I N G .
In the present, I want to serve people in my home and disciple young women. I want to nurture those in my community. Many of the character traits that we typically think of moms having, I have the opportunity to do every waking minute. Even in my full-time job in college athletics, I am serving young student-athletes constantly in that mothering role. I have no excuse for a lack of application to follow this call!
And at the same time, I am learning that the Lord has called me into motherhood in the traditional sense as I watch my womb grow. I will raise our daughter in a lifelong pursuit to disciple her to know Jesus, to love God, and to serve others.
I have been called into missional motherhood. The Lord gave me a special gift by softly nudging me that, indeed, that’s what He named me to do. Yet this isn’t just my calling because of my name. He created women with unique traits that make us exceptional at nurturing and serving others. We all, as women, are called to use our God-given intelligence, compassion, and empathy for His glory in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our communities.
Thank you Lord for this reminder that my calling to motherhood is not dependent on waiting for a healthy baby to be born in May. I have the privilege of living out this calling today, in this hour. Where would you like me to begin?
“But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1)