Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Children's Names

Fourteen was a hard age for me, my parents relationship was rocky, my mom was sick, and I constantly struggled with feelings of low self-esteem.

There were times when I felt completely alone.

Yet, it was in the midst of those trials that I had a great spiritual awakening. It was then I received a powerful testimony that God loved me and was aware of me. It was also the first time I felt the presence of three spirits; spirits that I recognized as my unborn children.  In my mind I called these three spirits, "Asher, Luke and Rose."  Always in that order.

I can't tell you how many times over the next decade of my life those little spirits would give me strength and help keep my mind focused on what was important. They were my spiritual cheerleaders and with them I never felt alone.

When I was pregnant for the first time the thought of those three little spirits weighed heavily on my mind. I was excited to meet one of them, but I didn't really think that I would name my children "Asher, Luke, and Rose." I mean ALL little girls pick out names for their future children but how many of them actually end up becoming the real deal? Not very many.

So as Jon and I talked about names for our little boy "Asher" was on our list, but not our first pick. I actually really wanted to name him Jonathan Luke (and call him John Luke) and begged Jon my whole pregnancy until he finally consented. Yet as I held that tiny infant boy in my arms for the first time my initial thought (besides relief) was, "Oh, no! You are not Luke! Who are you?" 

It was obvious to both Jon and I that his name was not Luke. It took us almost a day to decide on his name, but the more we  basked in his spirit the stronger came the impression that his name was Asher.

My Asher.

When I was pregnant the second time I was certain that I was going to have a boy. I figured that since my "Asher" had  come to me, my "Luke" must be on his way next. So, I was surprised when the ultrasound told us we were having a girl. I made the doctor double check, and even after that I still had my doubts. I was thrilled about the idea of having a girl, but I don't think I ever really believed she would be one until she was finally in my arms. In fact, the very first thing I did when she was born was hold her up and check.

Yep, a girl.

And from that moment on I called her Rose. I didn't even ask Jon. I knew exactly who she was.

My Rose.

My third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks. As I was miscarrying Jon gave me a blessing that my son would be fine and that everything would work out as it should. We were both surprised that he used the word "son" to describe the baby, but he told me it had just felt like the right thing to say.  I struggled afterward with the miscarriage but I never felt a sense of loss. Deep in my heart I knew that my son would be back.

When I was pregnant with Abraham we didn't find out the gender, but Jon never seemed to doubt that we were having a boy.  I felt conflicted. Part of me wanted to believe that what I had felt, that my little boy would come back to me, was true. Yet, the other part of me doubted that it was possible for me to receive revelation like that. So, just in case, I spent the last months of my pregnancy convinced that I was having a girl.

But it was a boy.

As I was holding Abraham for the first time I just assumed that he was Luke. I figured I now had my Asher, my Rose, and my Luke.

Then Jon asked me, "What do you think about the name Abraham?"

"Huh?" That was never a name we had even considered.

Then Jon told me that when he held Abe, just after he was born,  he heard/felt a voice say "Abraham." He had the distinct impression that was this little boy's name.

And you know what, it fit.

It was old fashioned, long, and unusual, but he was definitely Abraham.

I don't know why that is his name but I believe that names are important and that certain ones can carry with them spiritual power. I don't doubt that Abraham has his name for a reason. I also think that this was God's way of letting me know that he wasn't Luke.

That my Luke was still waiting to come.

As I get nearer to bringing this next little spirit into the world I have been thinking alot about my relationship with my children in the pre-existence.  President Joseph F. Smith taught that we made covenants with the spirits who are to be a part of our posterity. He said:
How will a young married couple feel when they come to the judgment and discover that there were certain spirits assigned to them and they refused to have them? Moreover, what will be their punishment when they discover that they have failed to keep a solemn covenant and spirits awaiting this mortal life were forced to come elsewhere when they were assigned to this particular couple?"

Those are pretty strong words.

They make me wonder about my own children. Were they all "assigned" to me? Did I covenant with each of them, or are some of them gifts?

I guess I won't know for sure, but I feel like Asher, Rose, and my future Luke are the spirits that I personally covenanted with. They are the spirits that have been with me from the very start. Getting pregnant with Rose was a definite prompting, we knew that there was another spirit ready and anxious to come to us. After she was born I even remember having a feeling of contentment, like our family was complete. I think I even joked to Jon that we didn't need to have any more because we-- the four of us-- felt whole.

Abe on the other hand feels like a gift. A beautiful, precious, amazing gift. We never got a "prompting" to have him. We simply opened our hearts and let him come.

And that was the best decision we ever made.

Often when I look into this sweet face I am filled with so much gratitude for him; like I can't believe he is mine. Perhaps it is because I know he could have gone somewhere else, but that he didn't. He came to us; a deep and wise spirit who has an important mission on this earth.

Life without him would be lacking in so much.

I can't help but wonder if this next baby is going to be my Luke. Or will it be another gift, another spirit who is coming to us simply because our hearts and our home are open to life?

I guess I won't know until we meet...

....which I am getting excited for. 


  1. Beautiful! I think it's incredibly special when children have stories behind their names. Adds to their roots. You must be getting close for the new baby! Nothing in life more exciting...

  2. I identify with this on so many levels. A little over a month before I had my fourth, Daniel, Heavenly Father made it quite clear that we had a little Rebecca waiting to come to our family. It was at a point when I was struggling and thinking I couldn't do this whole pregnancy thing anymore. So then Daniel was born and I accepted the idea of just one more, Rebecca.
    Fast forward 5 years and I'm about to have baby EIGHT. Babies five, six, seven, and eight have all been boys. No Rebecca in sight. And baby seven was Mason with all his serious medical problems. But along the way more revelation has come confirming her presence, confirming she's still ours if we are willing, telling us her middle name is Joy.

    When will she arrive? I have no idea. I just know she's waiting for the right time so she can fulfill her mission, and that these brothers needed to be here for their missions before her.

    1. Tristan,

      I highly suspect sometimes that God gives us glimpses of children who are to come and then throws a couple of more in between before that baby comes! A willing family is a powerful thing and I think God takes advantage of it when he has one!

      Though I do know of several women who had impressions about children who never did come, but later felt that those spirits came as their grandchildren!

  3. Couldn't agree more. All of ours, extras included, have their names (and I've got stories for each!). Can't wait to meet each of them, we've still got four to go. :)

  4. Names are so special, and I am so grateful for your blog and for this beautiful story and all of your insights!

  5. Amazing! Every time I read one of your blog post I feel like you're writing for ME :) Your posts on infertility have gotten me through some rough nights and I'm so grateful that you wrote them. They've helped me more than you'll know. xxx

  6. As a home birth midwife, there have been a number of times when I've experienced the name of a newborn child. Each time the parents have discerned it themselves, and I've felt assured that the child really did receive the "right" name. Names identify us for a lifetime and are so significant. I encourage people to "listen" to their babies.....even ask their babies who they are. They usually do answer.

  7. What a great story! I have always loved names so much. After naming my daughter, I know it is a spiritual process and something to be taken seriously.

  8. I've really enjoyed reading your posts because you cover such interesting topics. I especially liked this post. I don't have any children, and most likely won't until the next life since I was in a car accident nearly 10 years ago and have been paralyzed from the neck down ever since. Motherhood is something that is still so close to my heart, though, and I especially love the topic of baby names. (Whenever I find out that my sisters are pregnant, discussing what they will name their baby is always one of my favorite topics of discussion!) :)

    Anyway, I just wanted to comment and say that I enjoy your insights! :) God bless you, and enjoy your new baby!

  9. I loved this. My husband and I have always felt like giving our children their names was an opportunity to impart a message to them... One boy, Jack, we just knew that was his name. Period. We didn't even discuss anything else. But with our other two, we felt like we could choose. We found names that were unique and special to us, that also held spiritual meaning. I wrote letters to them about how we hoped they would live up to the names that we chose. For instance, our most recent baby boy is Truman, which means "loyal one." It made me think of Pres. Hinckley and his "Be's," specifically "Be True." I wrote to him about being true to his testimony, his family, his faith, his Savior and to himself. I also wrote about loyalty to the Good King and being a faithful, loyal servant in his army.

    What a neat chance we have as parents to discern or to choose our children's names! Neat!!!

    Thanks for your posts... as always :)

  10. I loved this post! Several years ago I had the impression that I have a little girl waiting for me. At the time I had 3 little boys... so when I was pregnant again I was shocked that it was another boy! People think that I want to have more kids to keep trying for a girl--but I'm certain there IS a girl for us!

  11. Abey is looking sooo old!! I don't like it. Gosh next time I am going to see him he is going to look like Asher! Come back to Utah okay?

  12. Also, (really random) but right after I read your post I read this article (,,20711076,00.html) Not that you care, but Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their little girl "North". So, her name is going to be "North West"... you know, I'm not one to judge, maybe that name was inspired too.

  13. Thanks for sharing Heather! I needed that quote!

  14. What a beautiful post! I hadn't ever thought about many of the things you talk about. Excited for your new baby! You are very blessed and such an inspiration to me! Thank you!

  15. Thank you for a wonderful post! As I have been pregnant with each of my sweet babies, my husband and I have always discussed what to name them - and always we have felt strongly prompted towards a certain name. My last pregnancy my husband chose a name for our daughter but it never felt right to me, I could not call her by that name, but one evening while relaxing and talking to my belly - I knew her name was Violet, took a couple weeks to convince the husband but in the end we both knew it was right. My Hazel is still waiting, hopefully she will join us very soon.

  16. I love your stories! Thank you for sharing. Naming has been hard for us, but we feel good about the names we've chosen. With our daughter, we had a narrowed it down to a couple of names, but we both felt impressed(independently) that she was "Rebecca" when we saw her for the first time. My husband had an impression long before we were even married that there was a little girl waiting for him. So far she hasn't come yet, but we're hoping to have more, so there's still time. :)