I'm reading through a book/study called No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking by Carol Brazo. It's a little dated, but I'm being encouraged and inspired by her words and by the Word. I am filled with hopeful expectation for our home; that it is being made into a space that welcomes the Holy Spirit. I long for our home to be a sanctuary for my husband; a secure and fun space for the boys to learn about Jesus and God's love; and a warm, safe place for visitors. Being a working mom now--even though I only work part-time--has been challenging in this aspect. I am constantly praying and thinking through how to make this place and these three men in my life my number one priorities after the Lord.
In the last chapter I read, the author highlights Deuteronomy 6:1-12, when Moses exhorts us to observe God's commands, so that we "may enjoy long life". In Deut. 5:32-33, he says,
"So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may life and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." What a sweet promise! If we fear God and obey His commands, not only is He worshipped and honored, but we receive His blessing. I want to create this kind of atmosphere in our home. I want Benjamin and Zachary to grow up seeing their daddy and mommy honoring God with their lives--in words and in actions. Moses also says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads" (Deut. 6:7-8).
I so want to impress upon these boys the wonderful ways of our God. His goodness, faithfulness, holiness, worthiness... I like the idea of symbols. In this book I'm reading, the author talks about these symbols and literally placing symbols around her home that prompt people to ask what they mean. The symbol she uses is a key--so there are literally keys hanging all over their house. Each key represents a different story of God's faithfulness or miracles in this family's history. What a great idea! I'm still thinking through symbols and would love to do this in our home. But as a start, I love to think of our boys' names as sort of "symbols". When they are old enough to ask, "Why is my name Benjamin?" or "Why did you name me Zachary?" -- we will be able to answer them and point them to God.
When Moses blessed the tribes of Israel, his blessing for Benjamin was this:
"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
for He shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders" (Deut. 33:12)
God spoke this "dwelling between His shoulders" to Andy in the midst of our infertility journey, when things were hard and not secure. God is a safe and secure place. Benjamin will know the security and comfort of God, his Father. Andy didn't know this as a young boy, but there will be redemption in his son. Benjamin's name will forever remind him and us that God is our hiding place, in the midst of trial or storm. (Even now, Benji is a little lover, and he especially loves to snuggle with his daddy.)
Andrew means strong and mighty. This son of our will be sweet and tender, knowing that side of God, but he will also be a strong man of a strong God. We're noticing even now that he may need some help in the strength area ;)
Zechariah means "the Lord remembers." In Luke, chapter 1, we learn about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, who were old and childless. No doubt that they prayed and asked God for many years for the blessing of children. And angel visited Zechariah in the temple, when he was doing his priestly duties and spoke, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son" (Luke 1:12)
When we found out we were having 2 boys, and not a boy and girl as we had felt, I was a little disappointed. I was afraid I might never have a daughter. I was sure God has spoken to me that baby A was a boy and Baby B was a girl. The Lord spoke to me that morning after the ultrasound, and He said, "I've always known who Baby B was. I have always seen him. I will never forget him." I knew what Zechariah meant, and the name Zachary soon followed. This name will forever symbolize to us that God hears our prayers. He remembers us. He knows our longings. The name will be a kind of memorial to God in the midst of our infertility. Zachary, too, will know that he is not forgotten by God.
Ryan means "little king". We also felt that God has spoken leadership over Zachary's life, and that he will be like Jesus, our King, in the way he loves and serves others.
"Impress upon" means to make someone understand the meaning or importance of something. I look forward to helping these boys to understand the meaning of their names and also the importance of honoring and loving God. What an honor and privilege and weight it is to be a parent.