A Name for You
Today marks 6 days past your expected arrival, baby. We are so excited, and yet the wait is, in some ways, one of the hardest things we’ve had to endure. I’m understanding the phrase more and more, “Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick” (Proverbs 13:12). I’m so glad the rest finishes with, “…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. We’re eagerly awaiting our “tree of life” moment.
I’m finding myself incredibly grateful for the never-ending to-do list that I’ve had on my desktop stickies (I keep an ongoing list of to-do’s for the day as well as things I dream of doing some time in the future. On days that are slow, I pull some of those “in the future” to-do’s to the top, in my “Today” section and love seeing things I’ve had on there for months slowly diminish. That has been the case a lot lately). One of those “Future To-Do’s” has been sharing the thoughts behind our little man’s name. Crazy it’s taken me 6 days past his due date to finally get here, but then again, maybe the timing is perfect in helping to keep my days purposeful.
I feel compelled to share because, frankly, the fact that we chose a name for our little man after a greek demigod still surprises me sometimes. Most people who know us know our faith in Jesus is pretty important to us, and with that a conviction that all glory belongs to Him and that redemption from the world’s brokenness is found in Him. I admit we struggled with this component (naming our son after a pagan god), so I love and appreciate the process of how we ended up here too much not to share it.
Achilles, even though a mythical character, was a man for his own glory and was filled with wrath and revenge. He was undoubtedly a strong warrior, which is what initially drew us to the name. I wanted, in part, to turn to something safer, something from scripture (our backup name was undoubtedly so) that represented the good morals and faith of other men of God. But what I love so much about this name is the truth we feel we’ve rediscovered in the process: that the Gospel saves. That all of the world is for reclaiming for the Lord. That God restores what was broken and has the power to bring newness and redemption to all things. Andy (so intentional and a critical thinker is this guy I married) took the time to write out a letter to our little man on the meaning and purpose of his name and puts it so much more beautifully thanI ever could. If you’re not familiar with the story of Achilles, you can find some background here to help with context.
My son, after months of sifting through names, your mother and I chose one that stood out beyond all others. Your name carries with it an archaic tale of a mighty warrior. To the Greeks he was the essence of the aristocratic ideal, the paragon of male beauty, courage and patrician manners–“the splendor running in the blood”. His greatness and glory was woven across every thread of Greek history. His strength was great, his courage impenetrable, his leadership aspiring and his depth of friendship with Patroclus unbreakable. Yet, with all his might, glory, and honor, the rage of his soul, the unquenchable depth of his anguish, and his prevailing self-asorption lead to his demise. We have called you out as a mighty warrior and anointed you, not by a pursuit of rage or honor of your own, but a zeal for the Lord, a willingness to acknowledge weakness and pain and a desire to serve others rather than yourself. Your power and strength will require responsibility. Your anguish and pain will necessitate vulnerability. We desire that you be filled with the fruit of the spirt and not your own self-absorption. Know that you are loved, you are unique, and you are made in the image of God. This should humble you into a servant just as Christ himself came to serve and not to be served and with his mighty power chose to lay down his life, so that many could be saved. Achilles, your name is redeemed by the hand of God. He has cleansed what is tainted, he has empowered what is weak, and he has made anew what is worn out. All of the courage, might, and leadership of Achilles, the ancient warrior, has been transformed to a right calling–the glory of God and the love of others. Achilles thought he sufficed his rage through the death of Hector, but anguish continued to ravage his soul. For a moment he saw the painful result of his rage, he understood the pain of the father, for whose son he had thrust into the grave. Achilles, my son, there will be moments in life where your heart is pierced by regret and moved to compassion. Embrace these moments and push into them. As Priam has put his lips to the hands which killed his son, so Jesus embraces those who have pierced and crushed his body. Achilles was penetrated by this transformatative act, but only for a moment. We pray your heart would be eternally transformed by the suffering servant–your savior, Jesus Christ–and the reigning King’s deep love for you.
As a middle name, we’ve selected Jonathan. A man in line to the thrown of Israel by birthright, but who surrendered his own glory at the sight of injustice, and for the protection of his beloved friend and God’s spoken anointed, David. We love the combination.
I undoubtedly love these few photos taken at home in this last stage. The first is a self-portrait (one of my projects I was determined to conquer during my pregnancy). The others I had Andy take over, due to impatience using the tripod. I feel shy about showing my midriff, even if it’s a cute baby bump, but I fell in love with these depictions of motherhood too much not to share.