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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Book of Ages

August 5th, 2016 by Aubri

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With all the anguish of naming our sixth daughter I got to thinking a lot about names over the past few months. For me naming a baby is no easy task. Phil says it’s because I have to have the PERFECT one, as if there is such a thing. I don’t look for the perfect name, just the one I perfectly want. I want to like the name I give my child! But I guess that’s a tall order at this point because I really did begin to fear that Josephine would be nameless for the rest of her life.

A while back I read Book of Ages about the life of Jane Franklin, the sister of Benjamin Franklin. They wrote many letters to one another but none of hers survive. What did survive was her handmade “Book of Ages,” where she recorded the births of her 12 children. I liked that idea and thought I’d create my own but including more, the stories of the names we have chosen for our children.

So, for my babies. These are the stories of your names.

Lily Ruth. Born July 28, 2008.

You were the easiest to name. I had your name chosen even before I married your Daddy. I remember sitting on the couch in my apartment one evening thinking about your Daddy and how cute the name Lily Ruth would be for our daughter if we were to marry and have a baby girl. This was before the Lily was so popular. I only knew of one Lily. A girl in a band I used to go see. I didn’t know her but she seemed sweet and pretty and I loved her name. I knew I wanted a Lily.

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Your middle name comes from one of my favorite persons in the Bible. Hers was a story I could relate to. Ruth, a convert to Judaism and her very practical marriage to Boaz. Oh the romance!

Clara Emeline. Born June 16, 2009.

For some reason I really thought Daddy and I would have a bunch of boys. How surprised and happy I was that you were on your way and would be another girl for us! I just hadn’t put much thought into more names for girls so I was stumped. Pretty early on though your Dad came to the rescue. He claims he spent all of 5 minutes on a website of girl names and decided he liked Clara. He asked me what I thought. I had to sit with it for a while as I have come to do with baby names. As Daddy had made up his mind about your name, he began to call you that all the time. It started to grow on me and I remember the moment I decided I liked the name Clara too. It came while I was loading the dryer with the day’s wash. I thought Clara was a lovely name and I had just the middle name to go with it.

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Emeline was the name of your Great Great Grandmother, Grandmere’s Daddy’s Mama. Emeline Hammit Coooper, called Mit.

Gerhardt Titus. Born August 28, 2010.

A strong name for a strong boy! You son are named after the theologian, pastor and great Lutheran hymn writer, Paul Gerhardt. Daddy chose your name for his son long before he and I were married. After your two sisters were born we began to think we’d only have little girls! We were so excited about having a boy and now Daddy could give the name he’d chosen to a son. Mom and Dad’s favorite hymns are some of those Paul Gerhardt wrote. I always make sure to point out to you when we sing one in church and you always get a big grin on your face to see your name written under those hymns in our hymnal! You can be very proud of your name.

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Your middle namesake is Saint Titus, missionary and friend of Saint Paul. Mama had never considered this name for a child until I went on a field trip with your cousin Sara Jane when she was in Kindergarten and got the chance to sit next to a cute and kind little boy named Titus. “What a great name, not one you hear very often!” I thought to myself. I decided then that if I ever had a son I would like to name him Titus. I had in mind to name you Titus Gerhardt, but Daddy insisted you be Gerhardt Titus. I knew what it meant to have your heart set on a certain name so I was happy to name you how Daddy preferred.

Esther Muriel. Born September 9, 2011.

Well we all know you are named after a Queen! Esther the Jewish Queen who saved her people and another of Mama’s favorite books in the  Bible. I decided while I was expecting Gerhardt that I wanted to use the name Esther if we had another baby girl. It was an easy choice for me. Your middle name was a bit trickier. I had a lot of lovely names I could use but finally chose to honor your Great Grandmother Muriel “Sissy” Green Mackin.

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Your Great Grandma Muriel was a smart, sassy, hard working, hospitable, loving wife and mother of 11 children. You can bear her name with great pride.

Ephraim Job. Born October 20, 2012.

Oh I’ll admit it. I  first heard the name Ephraim when I watched a really good (ok, it was a bit corny) show on the WB called Everwood. One character’s name was Ephraim and I liked it right away. I hadn’t thought about it in years and I don’t remember what brought it back to my mind, but when Daddy and I were trying to decide what we would name another boy child I knew it had to be Ephraim. You are named after the second son of Joseph whose name means Double Fruitfulness. “Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” Genesis 41:52

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And of course there’s Job. The man afflicted. This isn’t a name one hears very often anymore, but one of the most amazing men God’s Word tells us about. I wanted you to have his name.

Mercy Eleanor. Born November 5, 2013.

Mercy I came across your name while reading the courtroom accounts of the Salem Witch Trials as a Junior in High School. Mercy Lewis was mentioned and I tucked that wonderful Puritan name away in my mind for a “someday baby.” It sat on a list I made up of names for babies and stayed there until you came along. It is a name I love but one I was nervous to use since it seemed too rare. But I’m so so glad your Daddy didn’t let me decide to let it stay on the list instead of giving to one of our babies. It’s a wonderful name of God’s grace, goodness and unmerited kindness to His sinful children. For our sixth child we are thankful that our God is good and His Mercy endures forever. You make us mindful of this.

Eleanor is a name Mama thought was too beautiful to not give to one of my girls. So, it’s yours.

Martha Truth. Born April 16, 2015.

“Martha Martha.” One Thing is needful. You remind Mama of that when I hear your name and how I very often need to remember that.

You of course, are named after Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus and friend of our Lord who confesses, “Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” She who speaks Truth.

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Your middle name might seem a strange one to you but Daddy and Mama gave the name Truth to you to remind you to Whom you belong and of Whom we confess. He who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We speak and listen to the Truth of God’s Word when the World and our enemy will only hail lies. We hold to Christ and His truth in these trying and evil days and pray come Lord Jesus.

Josephine Gloria. Born May 27, 2016.

Oh Josephine. Your name was hard fought and a long time coming. Mama felt I was out of names for baby girls when you came along. Though I have a long list of lovely girl names I was paralyzed in choosing one this time. I fretted much and prayed that God would help me pick your name and be happy with it. He answered my prayer. Daddy forced me to make a decision and be done with it and I love the name we gave you. Josephine which means, Jehovah Increases. Quite fitting for God’s increasing our family with the gift of our eighth child.

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Gloria is a name I’ve wanted to give one of my daughters for many years now and just hadn’t felt it was the right match until you came. Gloria is your aunt but you will never know her in this life. She waits for us in the life to come. Jesus took her to live with Him before she was two years old. I can rarely think of sweet Gloria without an ache in my heart and without mourning her loss with her mama and daddy and siblings who lost her so early. She was only on this earth for a short time and because I would not have her forgotten I gave you her name. I’m thankful we have a few pictures of this sweet baby left to us.

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Your Grandmere and Gloria

Ebenezer. Born into Heaven December 30, 2016.

You came suddenly and too soon dear son. As soon as your Daddy realized you were a boy I knew what you would be named. I was keeping Ebenezer for my 3rd son’s middle name. Ebenezer means “Stone of Help.”

In 1 Samuel chapters 4-7 I have found such comfort in God’s great mercy and faithfulness to His unfaithful sinful children.
“And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 
Our sweet baby, your name is a confession of God’s Help, Faithfulness and great Mercy. I pray as Job did “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Enoch. Born into Heaven July 14, 2017.

We knew for one week that you our 10th child had been given to us then we knew you had been taken away. For you we gave the name Enoch.
“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:24
 Enoch, you were with us and then you were not. But one day we will be with you once again.
Isaiah. Born into Heaven September 17, 2017.

The day before I knew we would not get to keep you I heard these verses from Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

These words were comforting to me in my confusion over the reality that God might decide to take you to Himself as He had done with our other children. For indeed His ways are not our ways.

I said to myself that day that if God did not let us keep you, you would be called Isaiah, to remind me that His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways His ways. They are higher than mine.

I might never know why God gave and then took you, Ebenezer and Enoch so soon but I know He is good and you are all with Him now, and that is good.

To God be the glory.

6 Responses to “Book of Ages”

  1. Lea says:

    Oh, I loved reading this!

    Names are tricky things, aren’t they? I had no idea how difficult baby names were until we need to pick ours. In the end we stuck with family names and they fit perfectly to the young people they were given to!

    Thanks so much for sharing,
    Lea

  2. Lea says:

    *needed* not need.

    Definitely need my coffee this AM….

    :)
    Lea

  3. Kristi says:

    How wonderful to share this with your children (and us, your readers).

  4. Carrie H says:

    This was a fun read. Great named too, by the way :)

  5. Nancy says:

    Loved it! Thank you for sharing how the names were chosen.

  6. Leah Washburn says:

    Aubri, what a lovely post! This was such a treat for me to read, and the added personal photos are a bonus. You have such a flair for words. These blogs are your living history and such a treasure. Thank you again for taking the time and energy to record these precious and fleeting moments in life.
    I love you and your sweet family,
    Aunt Leah