Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, Eliana!!

Oh my sweet, sweet Eliana Joy... bear with me, Child. You mama is about to go on a bit! ;)

You know, of course, that my name is Christina Joy. My mama always said that my name meant, "the joy of the Lord is my strength." Growing up, I always loved my name, especially paired with my middle name, and considering the meaning. But I didn't realize until I was a bit older that when my parents gave me that name, that joy was what I was meant to claim.  You see, in my youthful interpretation, I always thought of it as an expression of where my mom was when I was born. My dad was working hard far away; she was home with three babies under three years of age... that can be hard and tiring work! She needed the joy of the Lord to strengthen her!

As I got older, I came to realize that I, too, needed the joy of the Lord to strengthen me... and even in my name, I was given the direction and the way in which I could find that strength in Jesus. What a gift.

Twenty five years separate each of us, my mom and me, me and you... and yet as she prayed and blessed me with that precious direction in my name, your dad and I were so honored to pray and bless you with your name, Eliana Joy. You know that Eliana means "God has answered me" and when paired with your middle name, I always think of it as "God has answered me with joy."

Of course, you could interpret your name as an expression of where Daddy and I were when you were born -- we were so, so thankful that God answered our prayers for a child with you! What a gift and what a blessing -- and that is an accurate interpretation.

But, Sweet, Sweet child... don't forget to personalize the meaning of your name. It's for you, too. And we've seen that in you in the last few years. You are so, so beautiful. You have such a sweet spirit, a generous heart, a forgiving nature, a humble strength that produces joy in leadership and in service. You've embraced the heart of God that forgives you of your sin, and in doing so, you've found that God has answered YOU with joy. What a treasure it is to see you walk in that strength and kindness. As John Piper says, "God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him." You've found a worthy God, and we see Him glorified in you.

During this morning's service when the pastor was talking about ministry and people, I started to think that I could easily replace the word "ministry" with "parenting" and the word "people" with "children." It is not always easy to parent (I know you've heard the stories of when you were a paint-peeling two-year-old!), but when we think of you (and your siblings, of course), you make it a joy to be a parent. Thank you.

Okay. Rambling done (maybe). Now you're twelve years old. Two-thirds of the way through this foundational adventure called childhood. Keep following your dreams, and don't be afraid to share them with others. You are a quiet warrior, a gentle leader, a humble joy... and we pray that you will be blessed with the knowledge and peace of how very, very loved you are, precious one!!

Happy, happy birthday, Eliana!!

1 comment:

Joelle said...

I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Eliana! I really enjoyed taking you and Mikey to Monterey.