Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our Sweet Baby's Name

This feels like one of the most surreal posts I've written yet. Our baby's name. It could only be second to her actual arrival, I imagine.

For years we've thought about this and imagined what names we might choose for our babies. We've kept a list of favorites. Some have been crossed off over the years because our tastes changed or because the names had been used by those around us already. We have mostly never wavered on our top choices, and we have always found girl names so much easier to pick than boy names. In fact, we've had two girl names that we were pretty positive were our go-to names for many years. If I could go back to 8 years ago, or 5 years ago, or probably even 2 years ago, and ask myself what I would name my baby girl, I'm sure I'd know the answer. That name, however, is not the one we chose! While I'm still fond of our early choices, we just felt like we were being led in a different direction when this finally became a reality.

After we found out about this pregnancy and the girl predictions started pouring in, we began thinking girl as well. As the baby grew and progressed beyond what we had ever experienced before, I finally pulled out that old list of names. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I still liked so many of them, and that the one name that had been coming up in my mind over and over again was actually on the list and had been for years. I mentioned it to my husband a couple of months ago and he instantly liked it, but he had a moment when it all clicked a few weeks later and I could tell that he knew it was his daughter's name. Lily.

Our little girl's first name is Lily.

After I knew for certain that it was the right name, I began looking up the meaning. I already knew that, like the flower, it symbolized purity and innocence. But one day I was doing some reading about how the lily also represents two very important things on our own personal journey to this baby: peace and remembrance. As soon as I shared what I'd read with my husband I knew that he was completely on board. Not only was it a beautiful, lovely name, it also meant something to us. It struck us both so clearly and so powerfully in that moment and we knew that it was perfect.

Since that day we have, of course, found out that this baby is a girl. We shared the name with family and a few close friends at first and everyone agreed that it fit. I feel more and more sure every day that it is right for this time and for this child.
Here are some things I've discovered in the past few weeks about what the lily symbolizes:
  • Purity
  • Innocence
  • Peace
  • Remembrance
  • Virtue
  • New life
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Renewal
  • Fertility
  • Motherhood
  • Promise
  • Transitioning
Wow. So many meanings and so many applications for what this baby means for us. And while the lily stands for so many beautiful things it is also commonly associated with death, but not in a morbid way. It is instead a symbol of innocence, and a reminder for those living that there is new life and peace that comes in the knowledge of that eternal life. Most people think of the Easter lily and how it represents the resurrection and new life of Christ. The lily has also been a traditional symbol of the Virgin Mary as well as the Trinity.

One source that I recently found states that the lily is mentioned 15 times in the Bible. My favorite of those references are:
From Song of Solomon 2:2 "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." I love the imagery of a beautiful lily growing in such an unlikely place, among the thorns. That really means something to me.

And probably the most commonly recognized reference to the lily is from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:28-34 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." These have long been some of my favorite verses about God's provision for His children. If the Lord takes care of the lilies of the field, he surely will take care of us!

In my research of the lily this week I discovered something else that I find very touching. The following are just legends, of course, but I can still appreciate the imagery and symbolism. I found two accounts of lilies springing up from great sorrow, pain, and tears. These do not appear in the Bible, but the first story is from the Biblical account of Adam and Eve. The legend is that after the two were cast out of the Garden of Eden, Eve repented and as she wept, lilies grew from the place where her tears fell. The second is a story that comes from the true account of Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. The legend states that lilies grew from the drops of sweat that fell from his suffering and agony before the cross. Again, these are only legends that are have grown out of true events in the Bible, but the symbolism is not lost on me. Our little Lily is springing up from a wealth of our own tears, sweat, and grief.

I know this is getting very long and I hope I haven't exhausted you with all of these many things that this name represents for us! But I have to mention that the lily (or fleur-de-lis) is also commonly used to represent areas formerly settled by France, like our beloved home state of Louisiana! :)

Lily will share my middle name, Rae, which I've always loved. My dad was responsible for choosing my name when I was born and he gave me that name after himself (his name is Raymond). I have known for most of my adult life that I would one day want to share the name with my daughter if I ever had the chance.

On the day of the 3D ultrasound, when we first learned she was a girl, I went shopping with my mom and my sister. We came across these sweet little name plaques to hang on the wall and we couldn't believe it when we flipped through all of them and this was the very last one:

We are so eager to meet our precious Lily Rae, and we can't wait to tell her how much she is loved and prayed for and how much her life, and even her name, mean to us!

And finally, I can't help but notice that for two years I've been blogging with a photo as my profile picture that my husband snapped on one of our vacations... of a beautiful yellow lily.


Sharon said...

Lily is a beautiful name and I love that you have chosen a name with meaning. We chose Ava because it means "beautiful dream" and Grace because it was through God's grace that our beautiful dream was fulfilled.

gg said...

i got chills reading your post. i love the name even more now knowing how much it means to you guys. i can't wait to meet her.

~ Katie ~ said...

A beautiful post for a beautiful, little baby. sniff sniff. i'm a little teary eyed :)

Kate said...

What a beautiful name! It fits in so many ways. Joyous!

Hope in Virginia said...

Beautiful, beautiful, perfect name! I love it. It was one that we considered seriously for our little girl, too. Great choice!

Crystal said...

I'm so excited for you guys! And, I LOVE the name choice.

jami said...


Jenn said...

This has been, by far, my favorite post! What beauty & meaning you have shared with your readers. There absolutely could not be a more perfect name for your sweet little bundle. And that is absolutely no coincidence about the name plaque & your blog pic. I love when stuff like that happens! Beautiful, beautiful name!

Ro-bear said...

Beautiful name. Since I saw on FaceBook that you were naming her Lily, I was planning on sharing with you Song of Solomon 2:2. I used this verse in my proposal to Laura, and we have a painting in our bedroom of a single lily and this verse below it (Andrea had a friend do the painting as a wedding present). But you beat me to it! Congrats again.

Amy said...

This is so perfect. I LOVE hearing the reasons behind why people choose names. We have had two friends recently that had all of this back-story to why they chose their baby's name, and we were like, "Uh, we thought Sadie sounded cute." :)

I love the reasons you chose Lily's name. It is full-circle perfect. I was trying to think last night of names that you might choose, and I was thinking things like "Hope" and "Faith", and Lily kind of encompasses all of those things and more, doesn't it? So precious.

Also love that you are using your middle name as a tribute to your dad. Beautiful, Stace...and SO FUN to be able to call her by name now. It all becomes much more real after this.

Ask or Imagine said...

Oh, wow, that is so beautiful. I loved hearing about all the special meanings - you're right, this is the perfect name for your daughter!

i love the name "Rae", too, esp. for a middle name =)

andreajennine said...

So sweet! Lily has long been one of our favorite girl names. Can't wait until there's a beautiful face to go with the beautiful name!

Aubrey said...

I love the name. Congrats. I know that for us, after our struggle with infertility, we really wanted to meaningful name as well. And also something that wasn't super common. We went with "Judah" because it means praise - and I loved the verse where it first appears. Gen 29:35. "And she conceived again and bore a son and said, "at this time I will praise the Lord." So she called his name Judah." I think that even more after you struggle through things like miscarriage or infertility, you really want to honor God for his wonderful gift.

DeniFay said...

I KNEW it!!!! I'm so excited I have tears in my eyes!! Our names coordinate so well and both mean so much!! I'm so happy for you and sweet Lily Rae!! One day we will have to introduce our flower girls!!! Sending you lots of love and prayers for the safe arrival of your precious girl!!!!

Rebecca said...

I loved reading this post. I had tears in my eyes by the end, I could just feel the excitement and passion spilling forth from it! I love the name you have chosen for your precious daughter, it is quite fitting for all the reasons you described. Thank you for sharing!

sah said...

Oh the joy of having a sweet little Lily Rae!

Andrea said...


I lit up when I saw this post, as it made me so happy :) I can say this, little Lily Rae is going to carry that name proudly.

Yes, Lily, beautiful and innocent and Rae, like the ray of sunshine that she and her mommy have been in my life.

Enjoy all the special moments, as I know you are...God is good.


twondra said...

Absolutely love the name and love how it has so much meaning. It gives me chills. :)

Connie said...

My sweet Lily Rae! I can't wait to hold that precious baby girl in my arms and tell her how much I love her!

Abby said...

How awesome that the name you picked has such strong meaning! Lily will be proud when you tell her the meaning of her name!!!

I love Rae as well!!!

katdish said...

Perfect! I'm so excited for you. Can't hardly stand it!

Jo said...

Hi Stacey, I am thrilled to catch up on your blog by reading your last two wonderful posts. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart on your terrific ultrasound and on your little girl's gorgeous name: Lily! What a precious and beautiful and appropriate name. It was my mum's birthday yesterday and I bought her some flowers. I planned on getting her some roses or tulips but when I was in the florist my eyes settled on a really different box arrangement of burgundy coloured lillies. I looked at them on my mum's table all day yesterday and thought how gorgeous they were. Now I hear your little girl's name is Lily that gives me chills....but good ones! Love to you Chuck and little baby Lily

Melody said...

Oh how beautiful, Stacey. I'm so happy for you and for sweet little Lily.

Anna C said...

Lily is on our name list, too! It's so perfect and beautiful for your daughter. Thanks for letting us in on your little miracle and her name!

TRS said...

How wonderfully beautiful!
I love how you have found so much support for your selection, both in scripture and symbolism.

I also read somewhere... that in China, lilies (the sort that float on the surface) grow in rather murky, unappealing swampy water - a beautiful contradiction that from the most unexpected places, the most beautiful things arise.

But I like your biblical-based reasons even better. (as they further support the theory - don't they?)

Can't wait to see your beautiful blessing. Just can't wait!!!!!