She’s here, guys! She’s finally here! Aidah Hope took her sweet time, finally arriving a week late on New Year’s Eve. She is this sweet, dimpled little dino-baby – all grunty and hungry and wiggly. Her birth was really difficult and scary – we both had pretty severe complications – but she came through like a champ and continues to thrive. We watch her for hours, like a television, as our house gets messier and our hair gets greasier. And we don’t care one bit because look at her. LOOK AT HER.
We decided to carry on the noble tradition of a phonetically-correct first name that somehow continues to be botched by the general populace. And like any good set of parents, we projected all of our own significances and wishes into the meaning of her name.
Here’s another one of those letters we’ve been writing to her, sharing the significance of her name. It still feels really strange to share our baby-letters with you, but after some of the amazing conversations the last letter started, it seems good and important.
You’re 19 weeks today and I’ve been thinking a lot about your name. Now, maybe I put too much emphasis on the significance of names, but I am really moved by the tradition (especially in the Bible) of NAMING someone. It seems almost prophetic, to speak a good truth over someone’s life.
I’ve loved the name Adah for a while now (I think we’ll add the ‘i’ for phonetic purposes) and when I first got pregnant, we were talking baby names and I threw out Aidah Hope. Your dad stopped and said “I think it’s a girl. When you said that name, I just felt like it was right. I think she’s Aidah Hope.”
And sure enough, you are.
The name Aidah, as far as I can tell, in the original Hebrew, means to ‘ornament oneself or someone else.’ I didn’t know this until after we had already named you, because I had decided to simply keep your middle name significant. However, combined with your middle name, this first name now makes me cry.
At the beginning of the summer, when you were first conceived and I was working feverishly to finish my book, your Aunt Lindsay and I had an amazing chat, all about hope. Hope has been a difficult topic for me for years now, and that long story is covered in my book. Basic hope in God’s simple goodness and rightness has returned to my life, but what Lindsay and I talked about was CRAZY HOPE. That concept that C.S.Lewis talks about when he says “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.” This idea that we can believe in and hope in his lavish love for us. That we don’t need to sit in the backyard making mudpies when He’s planned a vacation at sea for us.
We talked about delighting ourselves in Him and that complex, mysterious promise that He will give us the desires of our hearts and how difficult it is to trust. So we agreed to share our deepest desires – regardless of how insane they may seem – and to pray that our good God would grant them to us BUT IF NOT that He would work mightily in our hearts to prepare us for the alternative. But in the meantime, we were obligated to trust that He planted those desires in us, as we delighted in Him, and that it was our responsibility (Hebrews 11:6) to hope in them.
I had 3 crazy hopes:
1. That the ball would get rolling with my book’s publication before your birth. When you arrive, I want to give you my full attention and delight. I believe that Werewolf Jesus is something I couldn’t have written without His calling and I hope He wills it to be published. But it seemed too crazy to accomplish in one summer.
2. That I’d get to carry you to term (I was and still am so terrified of miscarrying) and that you’d be healthy and strong.
3. That He would find us the perfect home to live in before you arrive – either through a house we purchased, an apartment we rented…or a genius arrangement of our current apartment.
And every day this summer, as you’ve grown, so has hope. It seems so significant. God sent some publishing contacts out of the blue and I have some big meetings this week . We made it through first trimester and saw your perfect little body on the ultrasound this week. We continue to search for a new home, with ever-growing certainty that HE IS FOR US.
Aidah Hope, my prayer for your life is that you’d do exactly as your name says. That you’d be the type of woman who is ornamented with hope. That it would mark your life, in good times and bad. That you’d anchor your hope in Christ’s deep and omniscient love for you and that the path to your joy and His glory would spring forth from that steady anchor. I pray that – as you seem to have done for us, even metaphorically- you’d also ornament others with hope. That you’d be His hands and feet and mouth and arms to the orphans and widows of this world, bringing good news, binding up the brokenhearted and proclaiming liberty for captives. Hope is freedom. We pray that you’d shine light in dark places and that this world’s darkness would not overcome His hope in you. Hope is so powerful – maybe the most powerful tool we have in this world of fears. I pray that yours would give you courage and certainty. That you’d be a force of a woman – void of the insecurities and hesitation that seem to plague our gender – that in your hope, you’d lead and embolden by example.
I can’t even begin to imagine the amazing story He has already written for you. I’ll try to be the kind of mom who doesn’t control or predict your path. I don’t know what your personality or character will be. I don’t know what kinds of talents and giftings He is already knitting into you. But I know that I can pray hope over you. That I can put it on every day as my own ornament and pray boldly and crazily that it will seep down into your pores. I know that is a good prayer and that it will benefit you, regardless of all the other things I cannot control.
It feels surreal – 5 months later – to sit in my new house with my new baby and read back on how these things were only dreams just a few months ago.
And while I know that it is not always so cut and dried, I look at her little chest going up and down and I remind myself that hope does not put us to shame.