Our little munchkin, Sawyer Elizabeth, shares a birthday with the Bard. One of my favorite artists and writers, William Shakespeare, penned some of the greatest and most profound words in literary history. One of the most memorable and oft-quoted comes from the star-crossed lovers of Verona: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Perhaps that is true of a rose, but I doubt even Shakespeare himself believed that Romeo’s name was merely a social convention, separated from which would leave him completely unchanged. A rose may smell as sweet, but I believe a being with a soul takes on a measure of destiny with a name. A name is a legacy. An identity. A definition. A destination. A prophetic utterance.
We named our little one Sawyer. It is my maiden name, and we had picked it out for a boy long before we were pregnant or before the bad boy of Lost fame entered the cultural sphere. When we found out our little peanut was a girl, we decided the name still worked and stuck with it. We pray she will continue to great legacy that has been passed to her from my family.
The middle name was harder to decide. We had half a dozen names picked out for a boy, but landing on one for a girl proved to be a more difficult process. Both Ryan and I liked Elizabeth, so we let that simmer for a while. We weren’t looking for a Biblical name, but when I turned to the writings of Luke to read about Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, I fell in love with her in a new way. Here were some things I discovered or remembered:
- She was the first person to recognize Jesus. Elizabeth recognized Jesus as Messiah when he was still in Mary’s womb. We therefore pray that Sawyer would recognize Jesus at a very early age and embrace him as her Savior and Lord. Furthermore, we pray that she would recognize and identify the presence and work of Jesus in the lives of others.
- She encouraged a new young mother. After her encounter with Elizabeth, Mary sang the Magnificat. We cannot know for certain, but is it possible that this was the first moment that Mary was able to rejoice in her supernatural but otherwise culturally awkward situation? Therefore, we pray that Sawyer would be an encourager to others. That she would help people see the fingerprints of God in their lives and help them find joy, peace, and completely fulfillment in him, regardless of what circumstances they find themselves in.
- Elizabeth was faithful to God. Her name means “God is abundance” or “My God has sworn.” Therefore, we pray that Sawyer would discover that all she needs is found in Christ and that she would cling tightly to the promises God has given to her.
We have prayed many prayers for this child. Here are a few more: That she would live up to the honor of her names. That she would be generous, walk in humble confidence, be a reflector of the love of God, a voice for his truth, a model of his ways, and a beacon of hope. We pray she would know the presence of God and be filled with the Holy Spirit from a young age. That she would be a faithful and loyal friend. That she would be a disciple who makes disciple-makers in her generation.