Friday, August 19, 2011

How a Girl Gets Her Name (according to Bryan and Kathryn)

For me and Bryan, naming our children has always been a very significant undertaking -- as it is for any parent, I imagine. The meaning of a name is paramount for us, and we spent countless hours in each pregnancy discussing names, their meanings, and how we want a name to be a blessing over each child's life -- something we can pray over them, hope for them, and challenge them to strive for.  Bryan wrote briefly about each of our boys' names in August of 2009:
How a Boy Gets His Name (according to Bryan and Kathryn).

With Caleb, Joel, and Samuel we discussed girls' names before finding out gender -- at 20 weeks with Caleb and Samuel and at birth with Joel. And in each pregnancy, Anna has been our top girl's name. In fact, when I went into labor with Joel, we still hadn't settled on a boy name (and wouldn't until he was 8 hours old), but we had long been settled on Anna Patricia as our girl name. Actually, Anna is a name we loved back in college before we were even engaged. Presumably Anna has been our first daughter's name since as long as we've been a serious "us."

Over time I grew to love the name Anna more and more, as its meaning became increasingly fitting and appropriate for our child. I have an old dime store baby name book from the 1970's that my mom used when she was pregnant with my brother and with me, and it says Anna means "full of mercy, grace, and prayer." I have always loved the idea of praying that over our child -- 1) that her life would be full of God's mercy and grace and the prayers of others for her, 2) that she would demonstrate God's mercy and grace to others, and 3) that she would have a relationship with God that's marked by prayer and the intimacy with Him that emanates from a prayerful life. After our two miscarriages, the death of Samuel, and our struggle to conceive again, the meaning of Anna grew ever richer for me. Her life, that fact that she has life!, is indeed full of mercy, grace, and prayer. It is because of the prayers of many and God's mercy and grace that she lives, that God chose to create her, that she is thriving and healthy. Our Anna is already full of mercy, grace, and prayer, and it is a joy to pray that her life going forward would overflow with them.

As for Patricia, it was basically a given that our first born daughter would bear it as her middle name. My mom and Bryan's mom share the name Patricia, so Anna is doubly blessed to be named after two remarkable, godly women.

My mom is the epitome of servant-hearted, deriving great joy and pleasure from loving and serving others. Whenever she comes to visit, she looks for ways to serve me creatively, and she never fails to succeed. For instance, when she came to help with Anna she sorted through all my tupperware and found which bottoms are missing lids and which lids have no bottom to fit them. She also scoured our master bathroom for us and made it sparkle more than I've ever been able to. My mom can see needs before I'm even aware that I have them. She is also incredibly generous. I can't tell you how many things we have because my mom simply wanted to bless us with them -- like my computer, the crib our children slept/sleep in as babies, the glider I rocked Joel and now Anna in, Anna's baby bedding, and Bryan's Kindle. She also taught extra classes in order to be able to provide Bryan and I with date night money since she's not here to offer free babysitting. Moreover my mom trusts the Lord with all her heart. In the darkest of circumstances, her feet have remained grounded in God, unwavering in her faith. And she exudes joy. There is a little girl still alive and well in my mother, and she often comes bubbling out. Mom is also a prayer warrior. I can attest to the veracity of James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." People from far and wide ask my mom to pray for them because we've all seen how powerful and effective her prayers are! We joke that she has a direct line to God's ear (which of course we all have, but hers seems particularly special). I would love for Anna to grow up and be a woman like her grandmother!

I asked Bryan to write a paragraph about his mom, and here's what he wrote:

It is interesting, and even a bit difficult, for me to write a paragraph about my mother. Since I have now lived more of my life without her than with her (this last week marked the 19 year anniversary of her death), I'm trusting in memories that are not nearly as fresh or clear as I wish they were. One thing that does strengthen over time is my appreciation of the foundation that was laid in the first 15 years of my life. My mom loved Jesus, her husband, and her family. I never doubted any of those things. In fact, growing up I heard multiple people say that they had never seen someone as intentional or committed as a mom. I have a letter from her that she wrote just weeks before she died. When I read it now, it is remarkable to see how well she knew me at 14 years old: my gifts, my struggles, my passions. I think that she's a big part of the reason that I love being a dad so much. It seemed that everyone loved her and loved to be around her. She was attentive, kind, generous, and servant-hearted. She was passionate, creative, and particular. She was a great cook and baker, and whenever we had people over, the house was just right. She had a heart for the marginalized - always paying attention to the poor, the outcast, the foreigner, the sick, etc. She was also a noble woman; that was never more evident than in her suffering and dying. She was courageous, honest, faithful, and unselfish throughout her sickness. In short, if our Anna Patricia is anything like either or both of the Patricias after whom she is named, then we will be richly blessed parents.

So, Anna Patricia Apinis it is. And that is how a girl gets her name -- at least in the Apinis family!

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