It’s with joy and relief that I can announce that our baby girl was born on Monday. Her birth wasn’t entirely as planned or expected but she arrived safe and well and we are all smitten with her.
We have named her Naomi Grace.
Choosing her name was fairly easy on reflection although during my pregnancy it seemed a huge responsibility, and perhaps because Abi isn’t here we wanted to think more deeply about what this baby should be called.
We like quite traditional names but ones that are not that common, also we like names that are easy to spell and that won’t cause a lifetime of explanation about spelling or pronunciation.
We seriously considered another A name, so rounding and completing our family with another A. For a few months, I had a strong yearning just to say an A name again! But I found the names we liked were similar to Abigail’s, either in the number of syllables or the sounding. We could do it, but I wondered if we’d later regret it.
My hubby came in from work one day and had a few names on a list. There were 3 or 4 ones I liked and one in particular that we all liked. Naomi.
We chewed them over (and over and over) for a few months but always came back to this name. It didn’t sit entirely comfortably when saying all the children’s names together, but I reasoned that she will be a person in her own right, not a part of a rhyme or always talked about as a set of children.
I also wanted a name with meaning. Not necessarily biblical, although Abigail is a biblical name meaning father’s joy and my sons have variations of the biblical names Joesph and Jacob. We considered flowers or something natural to represent the blessing of this double rainbow baby, there is so much choice! But Naomi had such a serene and pleasent feeling to it, it felt right. It is also the name of a strong and admired female from the bible.
Naomi means pleasentness. Grace, which we chose much later, means God’s favour.
I’d not read the book of Ruth until we thought of the name. I was interested to find out more about this woman and when I did I felt the name was even more relevant.
So who was Naomi?
The book of Ruth is very short but it’s a beautiful book of the Bible that I encourage you to read. Naomi was a widow and in fact not too much is written about her, but what is gives a huge impression of God and his awesome forgiving love and how he turns pain and misfortune into the greatest blessing.
In short, thanks to Ruth’s (Naomi’s daughter in law) love of Naomi, they looked after each other and through Naomi’s distant family connections and wise and loving counsel, Ruth, having been widowed and childless, married a wonderful man called Boaz and had a son.
It could be a perhaps unremarkable story but for the fact the son of this marriage would go on to be a distant relation of Jesus himself.
Ruth was a poor widow, she was also a Moabite, someone not recognised by the Israelites; again God surprises us by not doing things the way we expect (or want). Using people from ‘humanly’ low backgrounds, sinners, the poor, a woman, perhaps not seen as of value to anyone… and creating something wonderful out of their story.
Jesus was expected to come as a strong king, not a weak vulnerable baby, which is why his own people eventually killed him. He wasn’t the warrior saviour that they expected.
What I like most about Naomi and Ruth’s story is that the ultimate blessing (the birth of the Messiah) isn’t seen by them as they lived out their lives. They had no idea how their family line would continue, like all of us. Yet they trusted God nonetheless and were thankful for all they had.
Life was far from easy yet even in their bleakest times they stayed true to (perhaps clung to) their faith. Despite her inner strength and kind heart Naomi still expressed despair, grief and unhappiness following the loss of her husband and children, and the desperate situation she found herself in. I like that she is so relatable and real.
My children may not do what I expect all the time, but I trust that God has their lives in His hands and that our stories are just tiny, beautifully created links in His chain.
I also liked in this story, when Ruth’s son was born, the people celebrated that Naomi had a son too. Ruth’s blessing had blessed her life again, a double rainbow of hope, as she sees her beloved daughter-in-law settle into a loving marriage and is able to see new hope and God’s grace. Just like my rainbows have brought joy to not just me and my husband but our family and friends too.
But then isn’t that what God wants? I believe without doubt he has eased my anxious heart through this pregnancy. He has helped me through my two losses with hope upon hope. A double rainbow.
And that’s by any means a romantic Christian dream that everything will be OK. That God’s will be done and all that. This is a much more realistic kind of spiritual acceptance. I feel that, no matter what, it will be OK.
With my grief, I have had to find a way, through my faith, to accept the ugly side of life. I may well face pain with my husband or children in the future. Life doesn’t feel secure in that sense. So I’ve tried to find a way that I can live with this and still walk with Christ.
Naming our child Naomi Grace, I am reminded of God’s immense love and
grace, and I hope she will be too. No matter what happens, we are loved and I will try not to doubt that. Even though I know the life journey ahead will not be a smooth road, having that deep trust in God will be essential to my journey on this side of heaven.
Welcome to the world little one!