Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's in a name?

One thing about me: I love names.  I like to ask people's middle names, I love finding out what a new baby's name is and I find the process of naming children to be a hugely important, fun and a little bit stressful too!  I have found most parents have some type of "guidelines" they go by when naming their babies....some like uncommon names, some like family names, some like to make up their own names, others like Biblical names and so forth.  For us, we like traditional/"older" names, we really love the meaning behind names and we prefer names that are less common without being too "out there."

When we found out we were pregnant with our second, we immediately started talking names but waited until we found out she was a girl before really pursuing it.  When we were pregnant with Caleb we had a long list of girl names we liked and struggled with finding boy names....but now that we were pregnant with a girl we decided we didn't like most of those names anymore! There were a few we still really liked but for some reason they just didn't feel "right" this time.  They were names we might very well use again but neither of us felt like they were "it" for this baby.  We had the distinct feeling that she needed a special name.

One day (I remember very clearly), I was riding the Nambu bus up to Mediflower Birthing Center (where we were planning to have a beautiful water birth) and I was thinking of what her name would be.....I realized that we hadn't prayed about it so I prayed and asked the Lord to help us figure out what the "right" name was supposed to be. Literally as soon as I finished praying, the name "Evelyn" came to my mind. At the time, I didn't connect it with the prayer, just thought - "hm. That's a really pretty name! I've never thought of that before. I wonder what it means?"  Evelyn was not a name that either of us had ever talked about or thought about before that prayer.

When I got home, I looked it up and found it meant "Life" or "Life giving."  I really liked that.  It was a beautiful, very girly name, it had a meaning I really what would Steve think?  I decided to wait and see if he would come across it on his own. I didn't want him to just go with it because I liked it. So I played cool.  Several weeks later, I casually added it to the growing list of "maybe" names we had started. He didn't say anything or seem very "wow-ed." So I let it go.  I waited and secretly kind of hoped he would decide he really liked it too. We kept adding to our list and talking about it.

Fast forward to end of November (I was "due" in February) and we were getting ready to head to the States for my sister-in-love's wedding.  Still no name. We both hoped to table the discussion and maybe come to a conclusion later.  While I was gone, Steve told me "I think I've decided on a name" I was curious because Evelyn was still my top choice.  He wanted to wait to tell me until he got to the States. And I made him go first because I didn't want him to change his mind based on my answer. 

His top name choice?  Evelyn.  :)

Now to find a middle name!

Fast forward again.  We arrived back in Korea January 1, 2013 (almost one month before her guess date).  Two days later I was in the hospital and we were facing one of the scariest times of our lives. We had learned a new vocab word: Hydrops.  And our baby's life was in danger.  Then my health began to also deteriorate from her condition.

 And we had to get her out. Fast.

 And then she sat in the NICU, fighting for her LIFE.  The whole experience was the hardest thing we have faced as a married couple, possibly the hardest thing we have ever faced, period. 

And Evelyn was the perfect name

It meant "life" and as we prayed and cried and sat in suspense, awaiting doctor reports and more testing, we clung to her name like a promise from the Lord.  The story of how that name came about offered us some measure of hope. Months before, the Lord had known and I believe had answered that prayer:  This child will have life. 

We didn't know at the time if that meant eternal life with her Maker or if that included physical life here on Earth with us, but it gave us hope. And we clung to it in those frightening days and weeks.  The Lord had named her Evelyn and He had a plan and held her in His Hands. 

There were several middle names we had thought about but Steve decided in the hospital that Grace would be fitting - knowing that any outcome would be "God's Grace", and praying that He would grant her grace as she fought for her life. 

Evelyn Grace.

It was perfect. Fitting.  Her name.

And now that she is healthy and the Lord has graciously granted her 7 months of LIFE, we pray that she will grow to be a gracious woman, marked by His grace and that one day she will be given new life, as a new creation in the Lord. As my favorite blogger frequently reminds us, "All's Grace"

For those of you asking, yes, I do like calling her "Evelyn Grace."  I love the tradition in the South to frequently use both first and middle names and I think it is a beautiful testimony to her story. Do I always refer to her as "Evelyn Grace"? No. Do you have to? Not if you don't want to! Do I love it and will we continue to use it and would we love for you to join us in that? Yes!


  1. This is beautiful & so inspirational my dear niece... And when when her name Evelyn Grace was given, really is so perfect for her... Made a tear slip out on me... One would never know she's been through any health issue. She is one very joyful and happy little girl! Give her and Caleb and each other a big ol' hug from me, please?! I love you lots and miss you lots!
    Love, Hugs and Continued Prayers,
    Aunt nj

  2. What a beautiful post, Sarah! Thank you for sharing the story of sweet Evelyn's names.