It’s a thing to watch your own body change, swell with life and hope and fulfillment. My body had finally caught up with the expectation of my heart. I watched him grow, wondering at who he would be, how the Lord would use his life. He and I spent countless minutes in the shower talking about the upcoming months and the man who would be his father; my momma heart grew, planning and hoping, preparing a place for tiny feet.
Our people celebrated the goodness of the Lord, celebrated the life within. They showered us with love and gifts, and we watched as the nursery slowly filled with bags and boxes, strollers and an undone crib. They entered into our hope perfectly, eager to see all that He had planned. We brought them into our praise, intent to show off the goodness of the God we trust. We beamed and glowed and pranced through our days, my beloved thrilled beyond measure to wear the hat of DAD.
Early on, we had the privilege of seeing our son regularly; ultrasounds and doctors littered our calendar like popcorn on bleachers. It was reassurance that his life was full, abundant, that he had all he needed. My beloved and I loved comparing our son to random pieces of fruit, excited to see all that the Lord could do in the unseen places. We looked at names, pairing each with another, yelling them across the room to see how they would sound in our day-to-day. If we had a daughter, she would have a whole, full, Frederick-worthy name. If we had a son, Baby Boy Frederick might have to work. We couldn’t agree. It felt like we were permanent passengers of the #strugglebus.
One random night, my beloved looks at me and says some words. I’ll never remember what those words were; I’m sure he remembers. Here’s what my heart heard: Why do you get to name our daughter AND our son? Why can’t you trust me with naming him? Gideon Isaac was formed within days; we yelled it, we whispered it, we prayed it, we loved it. It fit our heart for our son–a warrior within the Kingdom whose heart is light with laughter.
We loved that kid wholly.
But our son didn’t come home with us. We met him; we held his tiny frame. While I was spending quality time with doctors in an operating room, my beloved was walking our son through this life into the next. He told Gideon about Jesus, teaching him how to praise in the dark, weeping in his stead. He ushered our son to the Throne, leaving him with the only One who loved him more.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds – psalm 147:3
Our people showed up in our mess, in our undoing, in our pain. Many had no words, simply pushing us into scripture, pushing us into Jesus, holding our arms up in praise when we couldn’t lift our head. They shielded us from good intentioned strangers, guarded our hearts with their intercession. They were His covering over our raw humanity. Our people were the Church, the Church of Acts, the Church of Jesus; they stood and fought from Toronto to Texas. They prayed when we couldn’t answer questions, they prayed when we sent teary texts from our bed, the literal night an echo of our internal night. They fed us good food. They sat at our table. They invited us into their parties and conferences and normalcy with grace upon grace. They were His fullness fleshed out.
Gideon Isaac. His name was once again an elephant in our home. It was hard to say, more difficult still to write out. It was hard to find a comfortable place with his name. To yell it into the wind, out of pain and grief, into the chest of my God was one thing, but to say it like a regular human name within the walls of my home seemed like a violation of something sacred. He was our promised son, the hope of our home. Gone. He never set foot in our home. His name. What do we do with a name that we spent months toiling over; a name that fit the prayers lifted on his behalf? What do we do with a “wasted” name?
A warrior within the Kingdom whose heart is light with laughter.
This tiny person, this whole life was now tangled in all of who the Freds were, were becoming, all of who we will forever be. This name wrecked our home, wrecked our marriage, wrecked all words we used to define us. It wrecks us still.
He speaks over my heart:
You are a warrior within the Kingdom.
Your heart will be light.
You will laugh again.
Your beloved is my warrior.
Your beloved will know peace.
Your beloved will laugh again.
The name given in a season of hope, of celebration, will be used in this aftermath to push us into Him. The name given to our son holds promise of a new season, of recovery, of rest. He finds us here, walking out this grief. He holds and listens and carries. He teaches and breaks down that which is false. He is always present, and He is unrelenting in His pursuit. Whether by my interference or His provision, He will make much of Himself through my life. His glory will be made known. His concern is that all who wander, all who wonder and are left wanting in this life, find fullness in Him. Gideon’s life was to this end; my life is but a thread, a tiny offering to the same.