Over the past months, I’ve had many nights when I’ve woken up for seemingly no reason with someone on my mind. I believe these “angel nudges” are God sent to wake me up and pray for someone at that specific time. Usually I find that after I have prayed, I drift back to sleep almost immediately. Last night, however, I experienced a slightly different twist on this familiar scenario. Instead of a gentle nudging, it was the sound of the dog’s turbo propeller ear shaking that jarred me from my sound sleep at about 2:30. Evidently something was stuck in her ear, because after nearly 15 non-stop minutes of this attempted self-remedy, she had still not settled down to sleep. I eventually had Nathan lock her out of the room, but not before I was wide-awake and past the point of no return. At this point, I realized I had two options: I could try to fight the wakefulness by counting backwards from 500, or I could just surrender to it and tell God I was alert and listening. I opted for the latter.
My mind immediately turned to Poppy, as it usually does, and I found myself thinking back specifically to when Nathan and I sat on our couch together back in July and decided to settle on her name. As I replayed the story in my mind, I felt God encouraging me to share with you exactly how we came to the name Poppy Joy. At the time, we had known for less than 24 hours that there were problems with our baby. The shock, the rush of emotions, the process of trying to absorb the reality of the situation, all of it was overwhelming. Yet, as we were sitting together, just beginning to dip our toes into the crazy rushing waters that awaited, I realized that in order to help fully embrace the fact that our baby was indeed alive and still just as much our little girl (you might remember that we had just been told the day before that she was most likely dead) we needed to decide on a name. I feel terribly guilty admitting it now, but to be completely honest, I didn’t initially want to even consider using any of the names that we had come up with prior to going into the ultrasound. In my warped state, I didn’t want to “waste” a name that I loved on baby that wasn’t going to live. This almost makes me cry to think about now, but it is just a reminder of how far God has brought me!
I began throwing out new names that came to the top of my head. Names that were pretty but that had no significance to me whatsoever. All of them fell flat. Then out of the blue, Nathan said “What about Poppy?” This is shocking for several reasons. First of all, Nathan has almost zero opinion when it comes to baby names. I run everything by him, and almost without fail his answer is “sure, that sounds good.” I can get virtually no direction beyond that under normal circumstances. The second reason that this was odd is because Poppy is a name that I had decided years ago was my “ultimate” name. The very first time I heard it, something inside of me latched on and never let go. I just loved it without being able to explain why. It is also a nickname that I had for my Papa when I was a little girl, which added an extra dimension of nostalgia to it. However, when I began tossing it around as an idea when I was pregnant with Marianna, I received just about 100% negative feedback, so I let it fade away. But for some reason, when Nathan said that, I knew immediately that this was going to be her name. It was like God immediately spoke to my heart and said “Angie, you are right. You can’t use those other names you were considering. But for an entirely different reason than the one you were thinking. They are not special enough for this baby I am giving to you.” Poppy is a name that I knew was special before I knew why, and God reminded Nathan of it at just the perfect time. A few hours later we settled on Joy for her middle name with a two-fold purpose. Joy is my middle name, and I wanted to share it with this baby as a symbol that even if God does take her early, she is no less important than any other future children God might bless us with. It was also just a small step of faith to vocalize and acknowledge that we knew that her life would indeed bring joy. How true that has been already!
The name God gave us for her has been almost like a promise. Her life has already brought unbelievable beauty and joy to my life and hopefully the lives of others. I was reminded last night that there is absolutely no strength or inner fortitude intrinsic in my own character that has allowed me to get to this place and be able to say that. Without God’s overwhelmingly real presence and constancy in my life, I would be lost. Frustrated, bitter, depressed, overwhelmed, angry… any of these emotions would take over if I tried to do this on my own. But Jesus has been real. My only part in this has been in allowing Him to carry me. He has done it for the past 127 days since we found out the news, and He will carry us the remaining 7 to her birth, and then indefinitely on from there. I read a few verses from Romans 12 the other day that are speaking to me during these final days of waiting. This passage says
“Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever, Amen.”
We don’t know what lies ahead, but that is okay. His ways are beyond my ability to comprehend. No one gives Him wisdom or counsel. Everything is already His. It is in these perfect Hands that I can place the future of my baby and know she will be safe.