I had my first seizure when I was 8 weeks pregnant with Naomi. I had terrible morning sickness which caused an underlying condition to bring on seizures without warning. After seeing several neurologists I had no choice but to give up my drivers license until they could get the problem under control.
I was overwhelmed with the notion of having an unexpected pregnancy, caring for a house, a husband and 3 little girls who needed me, all while being sick and under house arrest.
There were some very low moments during that time, and during one of the more notable ones my mom and my Aunt stopped by to help. I will always remember my aunt taking me into her arms, and while she hugged me close I finally let the sobs out.
What she did next would alter how I chose to live out the following 10 years of my life.
She calmly whispered the name of Jesus into my ear, over and over again.
That might sound crazy to many people, but you don’t know my Aunt BettyAnn; she is full of grace and Godliness, she is meek and gentle and truly loves her Lord.
That day, standing in my kitchen, the overwhelming fear and despair turned to peace that surpassed all understanding and I was from that moment on, armed with a name so powerful that it would shatter the barrier between two worlds.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet”. I loved that line from Romeo and Juliet when I was in High School—but over the years I have come to realize that those words are false on many levels. There is incredible power attached to every single person’s name; what people think of you, your reputation, your good deeds as well as your bad, are all wrapped around your name. Every time your name is spoken the essence of who you are perceived to be swirls around the room and lands on each person who hears it. Your name has the ability to bring anger, fear, judgement, humiliation, or calm, security, pride, joy…maybe even insight war or peace . Facebook has proven that to be true in the last few months alone.
A friend sent me a link to a song this morning; I don’t know if she realized how much emotion that song held for me, but when I opened it, not knowing what it was, I was immediately taken back to a time long ago, when one name meant the difference between life and death for me:
I was sitting in my reclining chair, I had my back against the cushions and one leg draped over the arm, I twisted myself into a position that would mold Naomi’s body into the most comfortable place she could find. Both of her hips were dislocated, her shoulders slid in and out of their socket and she was unable to hold her head up by herself… but when my husband lay her onto my contorted body in that chair I could instantly feel her body relax. We would sit there for hours—my house work didn’t matter, no cooking was necessary; my sole job was to ease her pain and make her know that I was there and everything was going to be okay. Sometimes I would read to her, sometimes we would watch animal planet or the Ellen show, but when the pain would find a way to break through, the only way I found to comfort her was to sing. I would lay my cheek against the top of her head and sing: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like a fragrance after the rain…” The same name that my aunt whispered in my ear when I was pregnant with Naomi, became the song I sang to ease her pain and fears.
After 5 weeks in the hospital the doctors let us bring her home. The EMT’s took her out of the back of the ambulance on the stretcher and brought her directly into our family room. They waited patiently while I settled into that recliner and found just the perfect position, and Leon gently picked her up and layed her into my arms for one last time. I didn’t wait long at all before I began singing: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… there’s just something about that name… Master, Savior, Jesus, like a fragrance after the rain…” We had many hours with her that night, sharing stories, singing, crying, laughing, but the sweetest of those moments for me was spent snuggled up holding my daughter and whispering the name of Jesus into her ear.
At midnight a smile crept onto her face and I knew that she had seen Him at last.
What does that mean to me now, after she’s gone? It’s a great illustration and reminder to me of how God has given us little gifts to help us get through this world that is filled with pain and fear and confusion. One of those gifts is the Bible; in it He tells us how to live in love, and reminds us that in this world we will have tribulation, but not to lose heart because He sent Jesus to be the bridge that closes the gap between this world and heaven. He did all the work; we just have to believe and accept that gift.
So, What’s in a name? Oh, pretty much everything.