Growing up the youngest of 5 children, I have always been considered the baby. With that came certain positive perks and great perspective, which at times evolved into traditions. One thing that comes to mind was going through this name book that my family always kept on the bookshelf in the living room. My mom always told me that if I ever had children, I HAD to make sure that I picked out the perfect name for them. I remember her saying that she strongly believed “that a person’s name will define them just as it has you Cara. Your name means cherished and beloved friend and that is just what you are!” … Ok, maybe it sounds a little silly. You may be thinking that it’s just a name on a piece of paper and all that matters is if you like it or if it sounds cool, right?!
Well she is my mom, and I like to think that she knows what she is talking about. With that in mind I did some reflecting on my family and how I would describe their legacies, what they have passed down to me and their children. From there I followed it up with a little research. From my perspective and whether they know it or not, here is what I see that makes them each authentic. Included in parenthesis is their name’s meaning, which I would have to say is pretty ironic:
- Dad (Supercedes) is servant hearted and makes sure that you know you are loved and special no matter what.
- Mom (Purple) is full of strength and always finds a way.
- Michelle (Like God) demonstrates the ultimate commitment to her family.
- Dori (Gift) always perseveres despite hardship, truly an inspiration.
- Tammi (Fruitful) is wise and provides amazing perspective.
- Eric (Ruler) is an ambitious leader who makes things happen.
In 2011 when I was pregnant with my daughter, her father and I loved the name Emma right from the start. Of course before agreeing on anything I had to make sure to look up its meaning. I found that Emma means whole or universal, which immediately stuck with me. The meaning reminded me a lot about myself and how I had loved to embrace change and could adapt to any situation. I gave the approval and from there we added Grace as her middle name after my beloved Grandma. Bodda bing bada boom we were done. Easy right? From there I never thought much about it until the day of her baby dedication just before her first birthday. On that day our Pastor had pointed out that her first name combined with her middle name meant universal grace….something that was logical and obvious, yet something that I wouldn’t understand until much later.
December 2014 when I was once again pregnant and so excited for a son, I remember us having the hardest time finding the perfect name for him. The words my mother instilled in me as a child continued to resonate in my mind. After months of not agreeing, one particular night searching on the computer we simultaneously saw the name and said this must be it… well that or in dad’s mind Kal like superman. Long story short we picked Declan James which means man of prayer or full of goodness that supercedes.
Fast forward to May 1, 2015 – I remember laying in the hospital bed TERRIFIED as the doctor induced my labor due to extreme stress causing rapid weight loss. I wasn’t ready for this chapter of my life to start… a second child and a newly single mom. I remember feeling like there were a ton of bricks on my chest as the nurse told me that things are moving fast and the baby will be here soon. She left the room and no matter how hard I tried to hold it back I began to cry. I remember thinking why me, why now. This was suppose to be one of the happiest days of my life, and all I wanted was to wake up from the terrible nightmare that had hit me just weeks before. The responsibility of this new life as my life was a complete disaster was overwhelming and unbearable, so I thought. I then returned to reality and put on my game face as I often had and soon my perfect 9lb 3oz baby was born. Many of the weeks that followed were a complete blur as every day was a fight for survival until the next when I would have to start all over. I lived in fear. I often looked at my precious baby boy and his amazing big sister thinking they deserved the world and all they got was me.
My family and friends were there every step of the way, yet I felt so alone. I remember hating when people asked me how my day was or how I was doing because I knew that they really didn’t want to hear the truth nor did I want to share it outloud. After one particularly bad day my sister in law told me that you don’t have to go through it all over again every time someone asks. All you need to say is “I survived.” That’s it! Of course that soon became my motto.
After weeks of “survival” with many sleepless days/nights of tears, sermons, prayers, long conversations, music and many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy it finally hit me as Emma and Declan both fell asleep together cuddled in my arms… “Their name will define them.”
That was a moment of clarity for me as I watched my beautiful and innocent babies sleep peacefully on my chest. It’s not about who you aren’t or what you don’t have. You need to focus on the facts and NOT the feelings. I do not have to be a perfect mom. I don’t have to have it all together. As long as I remember what I DO have … Universal Grace … and what I am full of … Prayer and Goodness. That’s all I need. God had sent me two little angels that had been there all along. Emma with her sweet presence and effortless maturity continually lends me a helping hand and reminds me how special I am regularly. And Declan, the happiest baby whose big blue eyes light up every time he sees his mommy. God knew what he was doing. His plan is always good.
Today… May 1, 2016 – Declan’s 1st birthday. With a fresh perspective I begin this blog as a gift to my children. My legacy. The new authentic me. My dream is that when my children are older they look at me and say “My mom was courageous! She survived because there is power in prayer! She’s our beloved mother and we love her no matter what.”
By no means am I perfect nor do I have it all figured out. You will see that crystal clear if you come back next time. What I do know is that I refuse to live in fear anymore and what I have control over is the legacy that I leave behind for my children.
My question for you – What legacy are you leaving behind?
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. – Psalm 112:6-8
Here is one last piece of inspiration. Click here and Enjoy!
P.S. I would like to thank my family and friends that continue to stick by me as well as our Pastors and their wives at Journey. Pastor Kevin, Jon & Bob, you all did amazing on this last series about fear. Thank you for encouraging me to be authentic!