What’s in a name? Greatness. Meaning. Character. Much is in a name. Your name is one that will stick with you for life and will begin a lifetime of telling the world who you are. The Lord is big on names, so much in fact, that many times in the Bible He chose to change certain characters names to give that person’s life and character new meaning.
Naming a child is a huge decision for a parent. For some, the child’s name was decided for them from generations past because their name has been carried on from generation to generation. For others, parents decide while the child is in the womb… and others wait until they have that first look at their little bundle of joy to name their child. Well.. for this child that I am carrying in my womb… (if you know me well)…. you know there is a story behind the name of this precious child. And this is how the story unfolds…
The day was Sunday, May 20,2012. I was sitting with Jeff at Passion City Church and it happened to be Baptism Sunday. A few believers were baptized and then Louie came on stage to lead the congregation in prayer. It was then that the Lord began to speak to my heart. I know “hearing from the Lord” may be a strange concept for some… but believe me… when you hear from HIM, you know it. The voice of the Lord is so distinct that you know it is God. I felt as if the Lord was telling me that He wanted Jeff and I to have another child. My best reaction was to totally ignore Him. Yes, I just said ignore. There was no way I was going to hear those words clearly. I had three beautiful, healthy children… had previously miscarried, which was a very difficult situation to go through (you can read about that part of our story in a previous blog titled “Baby Faith”) … our lives were a little crazy at the time with being business owners of a business that was not doing so well financially… certainly God was kidding by speaking to me with such an idea. I just knew He had the wrong girl. I was most certain that He meant to whisper that idea into the ear of the lady behind me. I continued to ignore… and the Lord continued to speak. He even decided to speak through having a baby start crying all through the prayer. Funny thing (or shall I say the “God thing”) was that the baby stopped immediately when Louie stopped praying. (After church, I asked Jeff if he heard the baby cry and he said “what are you talking about… I never heard a baby cry at all.”) When the Lord speaks… He makes sure we know it is His voice.
After the prayer, I thought I was off the hook and would be able to push those words from the Lord to the side and brush them under the rug. Well… the next person to be baptized was a little 6 year old named Emory. The moment the child was introduced, I felt as if not only was I to have a child but that I was to name the child Emory. Again.. my reaction was to hit the IGNORE button. (I can be sooo stubborn if I need to).
I then felt as if I were to read Romans 5:1-2. When scripture was spoken to me, I decided to listen (just a little). I opened my bible and turned to Romans 5:1-2 which reads: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
I was in complete shock. I had no idea why the Lord was speaking to me… why He gave me the name Emory… that scripture from Romans… and why in the world did He desire us to have another child. I so badly wanted to pretend these words from the Lord were never spoken over me.
Again, I ignored those thoughts… church ended and our family went to lunch like we do most Sundays. Life would go on as normal as far as I was concerned. I didn’t mention this conversation that I had had with the Lord to Jeff and tried my best to pretend it never took place. We got to the restaurant. I ordered my food. Sat down to eat (with all three kids sitting on my side of the table arguing to sit next to me) :)… and life was good. Then, in one second, everything changed…
I began to have an anxiety/panic attack. This was the first time (and prayerfully the last time) this had ever happened to me. I started shaking all over, my body felt as if it were tingly inside and out, head to toe. I had an instant hot flash and began crying uncontrollably. I felt completely out of control and had no ability to stop myself from feeling this way. It was a horrible array of emotion that I want no other person to ever have to feel. My husband was wonderful through the entire situation, but he was terrified himself and did not know what to do with me or for me. He got me in the car and took me home. He questioned many times to take me to the hospital because for two days I could not “snap out” of what was happening to me. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. It was a terrible feeling. One that is even difficult to discuss. I remember Jeff driving me home and putting me in the bed.
My laptop was sitting on my bed. I looked over at it and on the screen was a picture of decorated wooden letters that a lady was selling. You won’t even believe what the name was… EMORY!!!!! I was so weak and terrified and still in a state of anxiety that I quickly slammed the computer screen down and continued in my uncontrollable sob. In that moment, my “anxiety attack” began to make sense… I was in complete shock over what the Lord had spoken to me earlier that day during church. It took me a few days to get over this episode and attack. Life eventually went back to normal and month after month I tried my best to continue ignoring the Lord’s voice over me of His desire for us to have another child.
I finally explained this entire Sunday incident and situation to Jeff. He was just as taken aback as I was. He began to pray and seek the Lord’s will for our family and future children. He too was terrified to bring another child into our family. Month after month passed and we both kind of ignored the entire situation out of fear. September came along and I had planned a big birthday trip for Jeff’s 40th birthday. He had always desired to go to Boston to see the Red Sox play at Fenway. It was on that trip that we decided the following month we would be obedient to the Lord and allow our family to try and bring another child into it. (Funny how we always think we have such control over things, isn’t it?) What is even more comical is the fact that I was ALREADY PREGNANT ON THIS TRIP BUT HAD NO IDEA!!!! I threw up once during the trip but thought it was a bad dinner. These vomiting episodes continued when we got back to Georgia and we decided to take a pregnancy test. Well… it is no secret what the little lines revealed. 🙂 We were PREGNANT.
I love that the Lord will work as He sees fit in our lives regardless of what we say or think. I am so glad He is God and in control and I am not! The shock only lasted for a bit and we began to rest in the excitement of this precious little gift and treasure from Heaven. Blessed are we to be given such a gift. Blessed are we to have a God who loves us beyond our understanding. He is such a God of grace and mercy. He loves when we are unworthy to be loved. His love is greater than any could fathom.
When we found out we were pregnant we immediately knew we were to name the child Emory. After finding out that we were having a boy the Lord revealed that his middle name was to be Roman because that was the scripture He revealed to me at church when he spoke His desire over me.
Emory Roman Paul!!! It fits so perfectly with our family because our first two children have JAP initials and our youngest (now 2 youngest) will have ERP initials. We love you Emory Roman and cannot wait to meet you in June! What a little treasure from Heaven you already are and what JOY you have already brought to our family.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV):Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
(Part two of this post where I discuss this verse and the meaning behind it for our family will come at a later time)