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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why We Gave you a Hippie Name like Jude River

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her. 
Luke 1:45


You were named for the people of the promise. Chosen to be loved by God for no reason other than they were his. Your name reminds us that God loved us first, that he chose and loved us before we knew Him and regardless of if we choose Him.


Rivers hold a certain mystery and beauty for both me and your dad. They also are a kind of fork in the road. An opportunity or an obstacle, I guess it really depends on your perspective. 

Your dad and I spent the weekend of our 8th anniversary paddling the Chattahoochee river, talking about where we’d been and where we hoped to go in life. It was a chilly November morning and we had just spent a weekend with an adoption agency exploring international adoption. I asked if he was ready to take the plunge and submit our paperwork. He hesitated. (Your dad is a man of thought before action. I am wired the other way around…we find it works well.) Then he suggested maybe we should have a kid the old-fashioned way. I scoffed and said something sassy along the lines of, "well, we need to make a decision one way or another because my vision of our family doesn’t include large age gaps." He said we should probably pray about it.

We actually prayed about it.

The following weekend I didn’t feel quite right.  Granted, it was the day after Thanksgiving, but my pants didn’t fit quite right and I admitted to myself they hadn’t for a few days. I dug around the bathroom cabinet, found what I was in search of and went into the bathroom. It’s probably just turkey and pie, I told myself over and over again. Two minutes later I came out of the bathroom, white-faced and shaking. I couldn’t breathe well. I think I was having a minor panic attack. I told your dad to put the kids down for naps. Now. We needed to talk. Talking looked like me silently sliding the stick across the dining room table with trembling hands.

“I’m pregnant.”

I didn’t want to be pregnant again. We didn’t have maternity insurance. We had dropped it a year prior to save money each month. I just kept thinking - we can't afford this. Also, I badly wanted to adopt. A perfect doll of a girl from China. That was my plan for our 4th child. Despite your dad’s jolly suggestion that we have another – we had not tried for you. In fact, we had been trying very hard not to try.

In that moment my inside was screaming out that this was not the plan. This was not okay. This was not supposed to happen. As tears slipped down my face I told myself I was a wretch to be pissed off about a pregnancy. I recited the names of friends who could not get pregnant month after month. I recalled the face of a friend who had just buried a baby. I knew, knew that babies were blessings, not burdens. That children are a gift given, not a weight to bear. 

I spoke the words to myself that in everything we are to praise Him. 

For the thing we hope and pray for and for the thing we hope and pray against. So I thanked Him. For a pregnancy we didn’t want and this blessing that felt so much like a burden. I squeezed your dad’s hand so I wouldn’t fall apart and I said Thank You aloud at the dining room table. I felt like a fraud as I forced the words out of my mouth.

And as I spoke, something changed.

Like when you slide a key into a lock and you can feel the pins as they fall into place. The tumbler turns. It was instantaneous. I don’t have many moments in my life where I have felt a shift like that. When something wasn't okay and then it was.  Most circumstances in life take a long time to mold me. I’m stubborn like that. This was different. 

I said Thank You out loud and an other-worldly peace came over me. 

Like a river.

Like the river God brought the Israelites to after Moses led them out of Egypt. So much time had passed since they crossed the Red Sea. And here they stood again, facing this river. Did God know where they walked? Was he still providing for them? Could they still trust him?  At that river, God showed up in power, assured them of his provision and stayed true to his promise.

Like the Israelites, He has taken us all across the river. 

We named you Jude, because we are his people. We named you River because he has shown up in power to fulfill all his promises to us. 

After Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan, God instructed them to go back and choose 12 stones from the middle of the river, and set them up as a memorial so that in seasons of doubt they would be able to look at the stones and recall God's faithfulness.

My favorite part of this story is when God says, "In the future, your children will ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Then you can tell them..."

Your name serves as one of our family's stones. I greatly anticipate the day you come and ask us what it means. Then we can tell you...


  1. tears. love this!! beautiful.

  2. Beautiful. Tearfully beautiful and honest.

  3. katie, i love this! one of my favs!!

  4. I love you, your post and that cute blonde one year old. He brightened my day yesterday throwing those wooden cookies across the floor and laughing with me.

    1. Lol - someone's always willing to throw things at you in this house. Thanks for being my friend despite literally watching me lose my sh^% on my kiddos.


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