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:
- New life
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.