It seems like my husband and I have been discussing names for as long as I can remember. We go in phases- sometimes we talk about it frequently, other times months or years go by between conversations. I'm not sure when exactly it started. But it seems like it has always been part of the fabric of our conversations, even long before TTC.
Through it all, there has been one boy name and one girl name that remain constant in our discussions. No matter how many ideas we come up with, how many combinations we play around with, these two names haven't changed. We feel like these are "the" names for the family we hope to have some day.
Amidst this certainty for first, names, try as we might, we haven't come anywhere close to middle names for a girl. We've talked and explored and gone in circles, only to end up back where we started.
Sure, there are plenty of names that we like, but we wanted a name that had some meaning, some significance. It just didn't seem right to select just any old middle name when our first name has so much meaning for us.
Nagging me, in the back of my mind, I really really wanted the middle name to have some family significance. But unfortunately, I had the bad luck to be born into a family that doesn't have that many agreeable names. We scoured our memory banks of aunts, great aunts, and other great greats, and never found anything that we could live with.
A couple of weeks ago, my favorite aunt flew out unexpectedly for a surprise weekend visit. My aunt is my dearest friend and was the most significant adult in my life growing up, besides my parents. I love her to pieces and so does my husband. I'm not sure how the conversation came to be, but we got to talking about middle names. And I realized that I didn't even know what my aunt's middle name was. As I heard myself ask the question, i knew in that instant, before the name was even on her lips, that the answer she was going to be giving me would have some significance in my life.
"Elizabeth. My middle name is Elizabeth."
My husband was on the other side of the living room, only semi-listening to the conversation. But he heard enough of the conversation to catch his attention. He made eye contact with me, and we both knew- that was it. A middle name for our daughter to-be.
Conversation changed topics, the weekend passed and my aunt flew back home. But several days later, I was still thinking about how much I loved that name. My curiosity took hold of me and I turned to the internet to look up the meaning.
Elizabeth means "My God is abundance"
My heart did a little beat-beat. That hard-to-describe inner hunch that comes when you just feel that something bigger than you can comprehend is at work.
It has been something I have held on to these past several weeks. There have been some low times again that have crept in, causing me to doubt that something beautiful will ever come to be from all this loss. But what has carried me through is hanging on to that hunch, those small moments surrounding something as simple and profound as the name "Elizabeth."
This past Sunday, all of this came together in yet another even more moving way. DH and I went to a new church that I have been attending this summer, but that he hasn't been to yet. My period was in full force, I had just learned of yet another friend that is pregnant. I had been in tears on the husband's shoulder just the night before, drowning in doubt.
But as the pastor spoke, I felt like she was tying my faith back together with the words of her sermon. She spoke about how often we are conned into believing in a God of scarcity- which leads to fear, self-doubt, and holding tightly to the finite. But God, she preached, is a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity. A faith in a God of abundance leads us to dance in all that is beautiful.
At times I it feels silly to believe that all of this means that some day I will hold a daughter in my arms whose middle name will be Elizabeth, and what is even sillier is that I feel like just be writing this, that I am jinxing myself and in deed none of it will ever come to be.
But amidst all of the doubt, I still can't help but hold on to the hunch, the hunch that calls me to trust, to believe in something unseen at work. That maybe, just maybe, a daughter whose middle name is Elizabeth, will some day come into our lives.
Or even more importantly, that maybe I will never forget that we worship a God of abundance.