Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meaning

"Though we are given names before or shortly after we emerge from the womb, our names are often reflections of who God has created us to be or the work God wants to do in our lives."  - Margaret Feinburg

Because this is absolutely the case for my three boys, I have labeled this post as both a "Wonderstruck" and a "Be a Boy" post
 
I have a love/hate relationship with the naming process. I absolutely love having names that are really interesting, unique and have a great meaning. However, I hate the long process it takes to come up with a name that is interesting, unique and has a great meaning. It can be very difficult to meet all three of these criteria. Now that we have had our third son, Rohan (pronounced Rowen), I would like to take just a minute and give a brief description of each of our three boys names, what they mean and why we chose them. 

MAXTON LUKAS SHIMER
Maxton's name was the most laborious for Gina and I to come up with. Most people probably have their children's names all picked out before they are even married but this was simply not the case for Gina and I. I knew that I wanted a good meaning and she knew it had to be unique, other than that we did not have a clue where to start! As we began to tear through every baby name book at the library and I went through every baby name website we both really liked the name Max. Gina did not like Max as it was so we pursued alternative options. Maxwell, Maxamillion, Maximus etc but none of them felt right. I saw in one book that Maxton was an English surname and threw it out to Gina hoping she would bite. We both loved it.

The reason why I like Max so much is that is means "Great". I want my son to be great at whatever he does in life. Whatever passion and dream that stirs in his heart I want him to never settle for being "OK" at something or "just getting by". I want him to excel and do incredible things with the time he has here on earth. This is not to say that I expect him to be perfect or strive for perfection. Nobody is and I get that. I simply what him to believe that God can do something incredible, something great through Maxton.  


Maxton's middle name is Lukas. This means "Light". By pairing these two names together it is the prayer of Gina and I that Max would be a "Great Light". In the Bible we are told that we as Christian's are the "light of the world". We, as followers of Jesus, should let the light of Jesus, the love he has for others and the truth he offers be something that shines incredibly bright for all of the world to see and be changed by. Whatever Maxton chooses to do in his life I hope and prayer that the light of God, the love and hope he offers people will be something that illuminates a dark world through Maxton's life.


  
DEACON JAMES SHIMER
When we decided to try and have another baby I was thrilled at the thought of adding to our family! I was obviously even more thrilled when we discovered this was going to be a reality in our life. Baby #2 was on his way...wait a minute that means we have to come up with another name...ugh! We tore through books and websites again but this time I discovered a name in a random place. I remember sitting at a Deacon meeting one night and our folders had on the front cover DEACON : A SERVANT written on the front of the folder. I thought to myself, wow that is something I would love for my son to be known by. So I pitched it to Gina and it stuck.

There is a scene in the bible (Mark 10:35ff) where two brothers, James and John, come to Jesus and in a round about way ask God to make them great. There is apparently brotherly rivalry taking place. Jesus tells them that the one who wants to be great will be the one that is the servant to the others.  He gives them as an example himself, he did not come to be served (although he was God and deserved to be served if anybody did) but he came to serve. In fact, he came to give his life up for others. 

I think about my son, Deacon, and I do not think there could be said anything better, or greater, about him someday than that he is a boy/man that lived a life that put others before himself. People wrongfully assume servanthood is a life of weakness but if you think of all of the public servants, firemen, police, military these are not weak individuals but people who have dedicated there life to putting others needs ahead of there own. There is something remarkable about that.

Deacon's middle name, James, is actually the only name that we have chosen after an actual person. The son of my namesake is somebody that I believe is truly a servant of God. Jamie Miller is somebody who has dedicated his life to serving God and other people by proclaiming the message of Life that God offers us through his son Jesus. I would love for my son to live a life like Jamie, choosing to honor and following close after God and serving His church well.

 
ROHAN CROSBY SHIMER   
Then along came #3! 

When we found out we were having another baby I had hoped we would have a girl because then I would not have to come up with another boy name. Ok, that is not completely true. I was thrilled to find out we were having another boy. It was going to be difficult process to find a name that was meaningful and interesting so I went right to work.
Eventually I discovered a website that allowed you to search names based on a specific suffix. We liked the idea of having the name ryhme with Maxton and Deacon so I perused the names ending in -on, -en and -an.

After scrolling through the hundreds of names with a similar sound I came across the name Rowan. I really liked it based on nothing more than the way it looked and sounded. I also loved the nickname "Ro". It just seemed tough, and if you are going to be the youngest of three boys I assumed a tough name might fit him in the future. Being bullied for many years has to make a tough guy, right?

One of the variant forms of Rowan is Rohan. I knew Gina would like the different spelling so that is what I suggested to her first and it stuck :) Rohan means "red-haired" but it also means "Ascending". We went with the later meaning; it would appear that he will not have red hair :).

When Gina was adopted, the paperwork at the hospital said "Baby Girl Crosby". When we learned that fact about her past we decided that Crosby would be a fantastic middle name for Ro. The meaning of Crosby is "at the cross"

Some people will look at the pairing of his names and be confused. Normally, when you think of somebody that is ascending you do not typically think that would be paired with in ancient roman form of capital punishment. "Ascending at the cross" seems like a paradox to the average mind.

However, when you read the bible you will discover that it is filled with paradox.
For example:

There is strength in weakness
  • 2 Cor. 12:10 .....For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Those that give actually recieve.
  • Acts 20 :35.....‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Serventhood to God actually leads to freedom
  • Romans 6:22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Finally, the last example is the greatest paradox of all in the Bible. We were all made to be in a relationship with God. We were all made to ascend to the heights of heaven and enjoy a perfect relationship with God forever. God is perfect and because we wrong him and fail to keep his law we are not able to ascend and enter a relationship with him.

However, even though God is perfect and demands perfection from us he does not leave us in our poor state of being. Jesus descended from heaven (Philippians 2) to ransom us from the penalty we had been sentenced to because of our sin against God . We deserved death for our sin (which is why all humans die) but by his death on the cross, if we accept his payment on our behalf, we can now ascend into a perfect relationship with God. When we come near the cross and accept Jesus we are able to ascend into a relationship with God. Near the cross their is life for all.

This is the theme of the Bible. God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we could be with him in heaven when we die and have a life of acceptance, impact and purpose here on earth now.

Rohan Crosby means "Ascending at the Cross", this biblical narrative is the greatest story of all time and it is my prayer that my son Ro comes to know this story. It is my prayer that he lives this story. That he looks up to God and sees a God that pursued him by accepting him even when he had done God wrong.

I pray that the reality of God's love, that he has made a way for everybody to ascend to Him at the cross, fuels a fire in my boys hearts to be a great light in the world serving God and all the people in this world with passion and great urgency

As Margarert said, I hope when they hear their names they remember "our names are often reflections of who God has created us to be or the work God wants to do in our lives.







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