With great joy, Kevin and I named our daughters Lydia Evelyn and Eliza Rose within hours after finding out their genders around 20 weeks pregnant. Our last pregnancy, we had decided on “Micah” boy or girl and had been referring to Micah by name within a few days after we found out we were pregnant.
Through our first two pregnancies with Lydia and Eliza, Micah had been our top boy’s name. We’d hardly even considered other boy names because we were so sure of it. So, after losing Micah to miscarriage, and nearing halfway on our rainbow-baby pregnancy, brainstorming boy names were a total blank slate.
As we awaited the gender, “Baby J” had been this baby’s nickname from early on, mostly due to the Jayhawk mascot and being a KU family! Along the way, we also wondered if this kid would have a J name and the nickname “J” would stick for the rest of their life. When it came down to the week of our gender reveal, we had our top three girl names and top three boy names, and all of them started with the letter “J” except one late addition: Caleb.
Caleb means faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous. It was the meaning behind this name that drew us in most, as I’ll get into more later. As the days before our gender reveal grew closer, we landed on our top girl’s name, but our boy’s name remained unclear. Every time we casually discussed boy names, ultimately, we couldn’t even fathom having a boy! The very thought that blue balloons could come out of that box felt so surreal to me that naming a son was even less comprehendible. So, Kevin and I stacked hands on our girl’s name and when it came to our boy’s name we agreed: let’s cross that bridge when we get there.
T H E . R E V E A L .
On the Sunday before our 20-week appointment and gender reveal, I was sitting in church, and our pastor closed his sermon by inviting us to intentionally avoid distractions and listen to the voice of God. I had been preoccupied all sermon-long recounting regrets from the day and overanalyzing what others thought of me, constantly replaying situations in my head. As I paused to ask God what He had to say and put away the tormenting distractions in my mind, the Holy Spirit brought this Scripture to mind:
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).
God, I feel so faithless, and so full of doubt…
“I AM FAITHFUL.”
This year, this season, it’s been so hard…
“I AM FAITHFUL.”
But God, what if…?
“I AM FAITHFUL.”
My thoughts had been interrupted, and I could not get His words “I am faithful” out of my head. It was as if the very voice of God had been written on my heart. I could no longer think of my faithless regrets, only of the Grace that comes through Christ alone. Praise God, even in our doubts and disbeliefs, even when we lack faith, HE IS FAITHFUL.
As we were driving away after church, I shared this moment with Kevin. I knew that God wanted to draw my attention away from my faithlessness in that moment and focus my attention on His faithfulness – and to give my God the worship and glory He deserves. To rest in His grace. I also told Kevin, with open hands: “If we are having a boy, did God just give me his name? Will our son’s name forever remind me that God is faithful?”
I pondered these things in my heart, but Wednesday’s reveal still needed to come.
O U R . B O Y .
Even though I had said that out loud to Kevin days before, that Lydia had insisted all pregnancy that Baby J was a boy, and I’d had a dream about being pregnant with a boy two weeks before our positive test… still I doubted and convinced myself that we were having a third girl. We had an all-girl family, and surely that’s how it would always be…
We had decided to save the special moment of finding out the gender of Baby J until we could have the moment with our daughters Lydia and Eliza at our sides. After a healthy 20-week appointment and the gender sealed in an envelope, we gave the sealed envelope to a dear friend who put together a box filled with balloons and streamers for the reveal. We invited a few close friends and family to join in the celebration. This same friend caught on video our reaction: shock, surprise, excitement, and literal jumping for joy when blue balloons and streamers indeed poured over our heads!
It’s a boy! He’s a boy! We are having a son!
While we processed all the emotions – the excitement, the fear, the joy – it was within the full week after this reveal that God confirmed our son’s name, Caleb Jordan. His nickname around the house has slowly changed from Baby J to Baby CJ.
C A L E B . J O R D A N .
Most of 2020 through the start of 2021 was a difficult season for our family, even before our miscarriage in January. Heading into the year, the Lord gave Kevin the word “courage.” His constant prayer: Lord, give me more courage. Kevin’s conviction was that it’s not about getting things right or having the right answers, but simply having more courage. For me, I felt that I was constantly being reminded into the new year to “embrace my humanness.” My conviction was that it’s not about my ability to be faithful on my own, but that God alone is faithful, and He created me—human—to depend on Him, and that dependence is not weakness; that dependance is beautiful.
As I mentioned earlier, Caleb means “faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous.” It truly was the meaning of his name that we couldn’t get past because of how it fit with the exact words and prayers we’d been praying for in this season of our life. It encompassed both the word COURAGE and FAITHFUL. We needed courage to rise redeemed out of a season of darkness and to re-enter hope and intimate relationships. We needed our faith to be dependent on God and not on ourselves in the depths of our grief.
As we look back on this entire season, it was more than just that moment sitting in church and hearing God draw my attention to His faithfulness, but GOD has made His faithfulness known throughout our entire pregnancy with Caleb Jordan, from the unplanned timing of conception to the joy of discovering we will raise a son!
For his middle name, Jordan means “to flow down.” The Jordan River has very significant symbolism in the Bible and has provided several meanings for us. Water is a representation of new life. Just as Caleb Jordan is the sign of new life after loss, so water represents new life in Christ through baptism.
Secondly, the Jordan River is another symbol and reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. After wondering 40 years in the desert, after decades of unfaithfulness and turning away from the Lord, God carries the Hebrew people through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. The Israelites were faithless, but God remained faithful. And then, centuries later, God chooses to send His son Jesus into the world – the ultimate symbol of His faithfulness to a faithless human race. God had spoken of Jesus’ coming through the kings and prophets, and again He was faithful to carry out His promise. And where does Jesus’ ministry begin? Jesus’ ministry begins with His baptism in the Jordan River.
The Jordan River is where Jesus was baptized and truly began His ministry on earth after 30 years of waiting (Mark 1:9-11).
Together, Caleb Jordan means “faithfulness and courage flow down.” And wow, has God’s faithfulness and courage flowed down from heaven to us through this precious life!
T H E . N A M I N G .
After a weekend trip away, about a week after the reveal, I was sitting down during Lydia and Eliza’s nap time and praying that God would confirm our son’s name to me. I was drawn to study the Scriptures and the life of Caleb, a courageous and faithful warrior. I found the account in Numbers 13-14 of Caleb, who enters to story as one who took part in Israel’s great exodus from Egypt, through the parting of the Red Sea, a rising leader among the tribe of Judah. As I read that story, I saw Caleb’s faithfulness and whole-hearted devotion to God in the face of disapproval and even death. I saw Caleb’s courage to speak out against all of Israel to trust in God’s faithfulness. I read about the way that God honored Caleb’s whole-hearted devotion and courage by allowing him to be one among only two from his generation that would see Israel indeed experience and receive the Promised Land.
As I read Numbers 13:30, the words nearly leapt off the page: “Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, ‘Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!’”
Again, in Numbers 14:8-9, Caleb along with Joshua persist against Israel’s betrayal and faithlessness, saying: “Don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land… the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”
And yet, Israel chooses to deny God, and as God’s just wrath comes, God spares Caleb and acknowledges his faithfulness: “But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it” Numbers 14:24.
This kind of courage, this kind of faithfulness, that is our prayer for our Caleb Jordan. That he would live a life of courage and whole-hearted devotion to his God and King. In this moment that I was praying for our son, Kevin spontaneously walked in the door, and we studied the Scriptures together. Tears filled our eyes and we prayed. God had just revealed Caleb Jordan’s name to us.
1 0 . W E E K S . L A T E R .
The past 10 weeks have been a blur since that day, and as I write this, I am nearly 32 weeks pregnant. CJ is moving all the time, day and night, whether I’m laying down, sitting, or walking. We just finished a very busy few months of work and life and I should be spending more time on the couch. Lydia and Eliza love watching CJ grow and give him hugs and kisses and talk with him every single day. Lydia is constantly asking questions about his arrival and always follows up on how his doctor’s appointments go. Lydia and Eliza have both made a habit of praying for baby CJ at night to grow healthy and strong. Our whole family is counting down the weeks until his arrival!
With only 8 weeks to go, I’m trying to start a small baby registry and think about boy nursery items but the little boy clothes and decor all still feel very foreign to me. As we transition Eliza to her sister’s room and start getting CJ’s room ready in a few weeks, I wonder if adding a third, a son, to our family will start to feel more real. Chasing two toddlers with physical pain and fatigue from pregnancy don’t allow much time for planning and dreaming for the future, but it also makes the moments that I stop to pray or dream that much sweeter.
Lord, thank you for this little life. Thank you for Caleb Jordan. Thank you for our son. May he continuously remind us of Your faithfulness flowing down to us and to have courage no matter what season we are in. We can’t wait to meet you, CJ.