any day now.

This is the first time since entering my third trimester that I’ve had the chance to sit down and write. Yet here I am, 37 weeks, 4 days. Dilated at a “5cm+.” Increased Braxton Hicks and practice labor three of the last four days. Hospital bags packed. I’m sitting in Eliza’s almost-finished nursery while Lydia sleeps. I’m sitting in here trying to process the reality that we’ve finally hit the any day now stage of pregnancy. Kevin, Lydia and my world is about to change… any day now.

It’s been a challenging last few months. This pregnancy, by far, has been worse on my body than my first. Braxton Hicks and piercing abdomen cramps wake me up at night. One night, I felt paralyzed laying on my back and couldn’t move for several minutes, panicking to tears and waking up my husband who proceeded to lift me to an upright position through piercing pain and coach me through breathing until the cramping went away. Daily I’ve been pushing through hemorrhoids, heartburn, pelvic pressure, fatigue, and not to mention seasonal colds and a teething toddler.

I’m ashamed to admit that there’ve been moments where I’ve longed for the days of not being pregnant more than the day that I will meet this precious little girl growing inside of me. It’s hard to bring attention to a child inside of me that I can’t see, and much easier to bring my attention to the discomfort I’m feeling. I remember confessing this to God one day as I clung to the words in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

“We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

There have been days where I physically feel like my body is wasting away and breaking down. On the harder days, I praise God for practical truth that reminds me to

bring my attention
not to the physical
to what is seen
what is temporary,
but to the spiritual
what is unseen
what is eternal.

He promises us that our light and momentary afflictions are actually preparing us for eternal glory beyond all comparison. We may feel, emotionally or physically, the brokenness of sin in our world, but He has promised to renew our Spirit within us, every day, as we cling to Him.

And He is a God who is faithful to fulfill His good promises.

 

J O Y F U L . P R O M I S E .

Does this sub-title look familiar? If you read my post Naming Eliza Rose, you’ll recall that Eliza’s name means “joyful promise.” This has been a season of choosing joy as I cling to His promises.

About a month ago, we had the privilege of taking a family vacation to the beach for a long weekend of rest, to slow down, and treasure our last few weeks as a family of three before Eliza makes her arrival. With family help and an automatic-reply email set up for work, I fully unplugged and spent much needed quality time with the Lord through the weekend. One day while overlooking the ocean waves, I found myself in 1 Kings 8 when King Solomon dedicates the temple after the process of building it was finally complete. In a lengthy sermon, Solomon again and again echoes praises to God for fulfilling His promises. God had promised to David that his son, Solomon, would be king, and that Solomon would see the temple completed during his reign. Solomon is full of joy as he meditates on how God fulfilled this promise!

I paused from my reading and thought of my Eliza, being reminded in this story of the meaning behind her name. I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for her, that she would have the gift of wisdom like Solomon and have eyes to see the way that God fulfills His promises. I prayed that she would know and trust fully in the joy of His promises.

I’m not one to ask for a sign much, but I felt the urge to open-handedly pray, “God, if this is from you, would Eliza move right now?”

Immediately after praying that prayer, I felt her move in my womb.

Overcome with peace and comfort, I continued to pray for her and also praise God that He felt so real in that moment. As I sat to finish 1 Kings 8, I came to verse 56:

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise…”

As if to just lavish me with His love, unbeknownst to me, I stumbled upon a mirror image verse of Joshua 23:14…

The verse I read the morning after we found out we were having a girl.
The verse I read while contemplating the name Eliza Rose, which means joyful promise.
The verse I wrote about in my post 3 months before this moment.
The verse that sealed her name.

“You know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.”

I sat in awe.

In an incredibly busy third trimester that included three weeks of travel, work events and deadlines, and a sprint to the end—a third trimester that has taken a beating on my body—it’s been these quiet moments of overwhelming peace, hope, and joy that have gotten me through.

 

S H E . W H O . B E L I E V E S .

As Kevin and I place the finishing touches on Eliza’s nursery, we picked out the verse that will hang above her crib. We hope that Eliza will keep this piece of art with her when she moves out of our house one day—yet even more—we hope and pray that this verse will be on her heart for all of eternity. It’s the second verse I mentioned in my previous post as we were in the process of naming Eliza. It echoes the words of Elizabeth as she greets her sister Mary, pregnant with Jesus, our Savior and Messiah, in Luke 1:45:

“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”

The word believed will be emphasized as an encouragement that we must choose to believe, to trust, to have faith, even when the promise is yet unseen. We must choose hope and choose truth in any season of waiting. And blessed will we be on the day when we get to look back and say not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord my God promised! All have come to pass, not one of them has failed.

So here I sit.
Waiting.
Praising.
Hopeful.
Joyful.
The wait is almost over, any day now.

I am choosing to trust God’s timing, not my own, not my doctor’s, not what other people say based on my dilation or contractions or due date. God alone is the author of her birth story. In His perfect time, in His perfect will, Eliza Rose, we are ready to meet you.

naming eliza rose.

“It’s a little girl!” the sonogram tech announced. 

Hi, Eliza.

That was the first thought that came to my husband’s mind upon hearing the amazing news that we’re having another girl.

Kevin squeezed my hand but neither of us could take our eyes off the screen, staring at our beautiful daughter. As I watched my little girl move around on the sonogram screen, joy and relief filled me. Joy in her heartbeat and her health, and relief in feeling a deep bond with her—God is growing my ability to love a second child.

As the supernatural peace about having two girls set in, I started dreaming of her name and who she would become. I thought a lot about my one-year-old daughter Lydia, too. How will they be similar, and how will they be different? As I prayed through names we had considered, asking the Lord to reveal her name, there was one phrase I couldn’t get out of my own mind: Lydi and Liza, my daughters.

I left that open handed and started imagining decorating her nursery. I thought of the rose flower wreaths I made for a party that I’d been holding onto as décor just in case we had another girl. All of a sudden, the idea of roses seemed to fit her.

Tears came suddenly.

Rose.

 

E L I Z A .

Kevin and I have certain criteria that we love for names: familial, biblical, and meaningful. Preferably a name carries all three, which narrows our list quite significantly! We came up with the name Eliza more recently than some of the other names on our list. As we were thinking of family names one day, we got stuck on my mother’s middle name: Elizabeth. We considered that but also loved the name Eliza, not just as a nickname, but standing alone. I thought instantly of how much this season of motherhood has brought me closer to my own mom, and how special it would be to honor her name in a similar way that Lydia Evelyn’s middle name honors my mother-in-law’s middle name, Lynn.

>For more on Lydia, read Naming Lydia Evelyn, written in April 2018.

Next, we thought of Elizabeth in the Bible, a beautiful woman of God! While pregnant with her son, who we know as “John the Baptist,” she was visited by her cousin Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus. Elizabeth is one of the first people to recognize Jesus as Lord. She was filled with the Holy Spirit immediately upon Mary’s arrival and declared Mary as the mother of “my Lord.”

Elizabeth says this in Luke 1:44, “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Finally, Eliza means “my God is an oath.” For us, the meaning of God as an oath is two-fold because it represents both our promise to God to follow Him with our lives and His abounding and unfailing promises to us as His children. We have a God who has been and always will be faithful to fulfill His promises to never leave us, to always love us, to work all things for our good, and to restore us. God had promised that He would send a Son, a Redeemer, into the world to deliver His people. Jesus came to be that fulfillment through His life, death, and resurrection. Now, through faith in Christ, we can trust that He will continue to fulfill these promises as we wait in hope for eternal life. As Elizabeth said, blessed are those who believe that there will be a fulfillment of God’s promises!

Eliza may also be used as a variant of the Hebrew name Aliza, עַלִיזָה which means “joyful.” Seeing the Hebrew word for joyful is what gave us that final affirmation that Eliza is her name. It fit perfectly next to our intention for her middle name, Rose.

 

R O S E .

The formal meaning behind Rose is to indicate rose, the flower. But to Kevin and me, the meaning of Rose has carried much more significance because of the person we ascribe that name to.

My identical twin sister, “Rosie” as we call her, is by far the most joyful person I have ever met in my life, and I have the privilege of calling her sister and best friend. She has been a constant source of light and joy in my life and continues to be. Joy is her spiritual gift, it’s the Holy Spirit’s manifestation in her, it’s who she is. To me, “Rose” represents joy. With this in mind, it’s no coincidence that Eliza also meant “joyful.”

As Kevin and I were talking and praying over the name Eliza Rose after our appointment, that’s when it all came together…

Eliza Rose means joyful promise.

 

J O Y F U L . P R O M I S E .

The next morning after our appointment, Lydia woke up around 5 o’clock with teething pain. After giving her some medicine and putting her back down for her final hour or so of sleep, I was the typical pregnant-hungry-anxious as the clock hit 5:30 a.m. I decided instead of going back to sleep to take advantage of a quiet morning and sit with the Lord, thinking and praying about Eliza Rose, and continuing to process if He had really, truly given us her name.

Coincidentally (or not), I happened to be finishing up the book of Joshua, and there it was, God speaking to me through His Word. At the end of Joshua’s life as he was charging Israel’s leaders onward, he says this:

“You know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed” (Joshua 23:14).

Joyful promise.

This verse served as a reminder that He has promised good things for us. And though I may be in a season of abundance and blessings now as I bear children, I know that hard seasons will come back around.

The true test is believing in God’s good promises no matter the season.
I want to choose to trust and have faith in my God even when it isn’t obvious or easy.
I want to put my hope not in this fleeting world, but in the promise of eternity with my Father.
I want my source of joy to come from my confidence in His promises.
And
more than almost anything,
I want this daughter of mine to do the same.

I know in my heart and soul that if I continue to love God and put my faith in Jesus, God will fulfill all of the good things that He promised concerning me, even when I don’t understand.

He will never leave me (Duet. 31:8).
He will always love me (Isaiah 54:10).
He will work all things out for my good (Romans 8:28).
He will come again to restore this broken world and make all things new (Rev. 21:5).

In these promises, we find our joy.

 

.

Eliza Rose.
May her name be a reminder of God’s joyful promises to our family.
May she grow to love and trust in His joyful promises to her.

Eliza Rose, we can’t wait to meet you.
We will love you until the end of our days.
We promise.

by name part II: naming lydia evelyn.

If you read Part I, you read my story of how, in the very process of pursuing to learn about this calling to motherhood, I did a lot of reflecting on the idea of “names.” The Lord gifted me with revealing the meaning behind my very own name.

Everyone is different in how they approach the naming of their child. Throughout the Scripture, we see God naming His children something specific and profound that represents their calling, or His promise to them, or a reminder to glorify Himself. Several times in the Bible from Genesis to the Gospels, we actually see God’s people that are renamed after a transformation. (Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul.) The pattern of the Lord’s voice tends to be “Your name shall be _____, which means ____.”

“…your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 17:5)

“‘You shall be called Cephas’ which means Peter (or rock).” (John 1:42)

So after New Years Eve in a great midnight reveal when we discovered that we are having a baby girl, we took one final day to pray in confirmation of her name. The Lord gave me the sweetest vision that next morning.

Her name is Lydia Evelyn, which means beautiful life. I have known her name since the beginning of creation, before I formed the world. I have called her by name. She is mine.

In a whirlwind of emotions that included humility, joy, unworthiness, excitement, and tears of worship and praise, the Lord gave us the clearest vision on behalf of our daughter. She is not our own, she belongs to the Lord. We have the privilege of carrying and raising her, but the Lord is the one that has named her, created her, and called her into life. Seeing her grow and feeling her move every day is nothing short of a miracle to witness as He creates this life inside of me. Our God already knows her by name.

In an attempt to document all the miraculous ways that God has revealed Himself simply through the naming of our daughter, I’ll start from the moment that Kevin and I decided to start praying for a child. I meet with a friend regularly for prayer and accountability, and I asked her if she would pray that the Lord would provide a child for us. A few days later, she sent me a text message that she felt the Lord calling her to — for some reason — pray for a baby girl. I pondered this in my heart but remained open-handed.

 

L Y D I A .

A short time later, Kevin and I found out that I was pregnant. After the initial shock and excitement we began to process the reality that our lives would never be the same. I’ve always loved the name Lydia, not only because it’s a family name, but because of the strong female character she is in the Bible. Coincidentally, that very next Sunday at church, our pastor preached a sermon about Lydia in his introduction to a series on Philippians. Lydia’s story is documented in Acts 16 as the first Christian convert in all of Europe. Her hospitality and openness to God allows Paul to share the gospel in Philippi and plant a church there, opening the door to sharing the gospel across Europe.

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:14-15)

While we didn’t know the gender yet, in retrospect, this message was another gift from the Lord that confirmed her name. When we looked up the meaning of Lydia, we found that is can also mean “beautiful one.”

 

E V E L Y N .

Evelyn comes from two different parts. We love that it is a combination of Eve, which is my middle name, and Lynn, which is my mother-in-law’s middle name. Yet it’s the meaning behind the name that the Lord used to truly confirm this. The Hebrew root for eve means “life.” After reading my last entry, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise as Eve is destined to be the mother of the living.

 

L Y D I A . E V E L Y N .

So as we put this together, we found that her name would mean “beautiful life.”

Her name is Lydia Evelyn, which means beautiful life. I have known her name since the beginning of creation, before I formed the world. I have called her by name. She is mine.

A beautiful life, already, not yet even born, is who she is. We pray and we ask God that this would be His promise to her, that she would be destined for a beautiful life that reflects His glory.

“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)

by name Part I: fulfilling eve.

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)