I’ve been thinking about writing this post for weeks. And even now I’m still not sure how to start. I’ve already written half the post once, but erased it all to start again.
My brother Zeke loves picking out baby names. And let me tell you, he picks the most unique of them all. Suggestions have been Chuck Norris, B.A. Baraccus, Bathsheba, Black Widow, King Solomon, Captain Ezekiel…the list just goes on and on. Every time he finds out he’s going to be an uncle again he starts spouting out the least likely suggestions.
When I told Zeke I was pregnant at Thanksgiving he simply said, “Call him Isaac.” I was dumbfounded with the normalcy of this name suggestion. Isaac…really? Not Night Rider???
Anyways, I just tucked that memory in my head and figured we would cross the naming bridge when we had our 20 week ultrasound.
But that day never came. At 13.5 weeks I delivered my tiny little baby whose heart had already stopped.
While I was in labor I thought about names. What would we call this baby that we loved and lost? We didn’t know if Z was a boy or girl. We would never know. But I wanted Z to have a name nonetheless.
Between contractions in the tub I thought about Isaac. I grabbed my phone to look up what it meant. In the middle of the most intense sorrow I’ve ever felt in my life, the words staring back at me were “He will laugh.” My heart smiled and wept at the same time. Isaac…in the Bible it was the name given to a baby whose conception in and of itself was a miracle. A son who was asked to be given back to the Lord. A son of inheritance and promise.
But what if the baby was a girl? After reading the meaning of Isaac I knew I wanted Zibah to be the girl name. For years…even before I was married…I had been trying to find a variation of Hephzibah that I liked. There is a passage in the Bible where God tells the Israelites that he will change their name from Desolate and Deserted to Hephzibah – “My delight is in her.” It’s a message that speaks volumes about God. It shows us a God who calls things that are not as though they were. It shows a God who is full of delight for his people, even in the midst of their hearts being far away from him. It shows the God I know. He’s a God of hope. He’s a good God.
And so, in between contractions in my bathtub, I decided that my baby would be Isaac Zibah…Baby Z…cuz I’m from the hood and hear the “z” sound in both these names 😉
He will laugh.
My delight is in her.
I want people to know the joy that only comes through knowing Jesus. It’s a joy that is present even in the darkest of times. It is joy that can carry you through even the worst storms. It is joy and delight that Z will always know, completely untainted by the darkness and foolishness of this world. Z is full of laughter and delight in the presence of God in Heaven. When I think of Z, I want to be reminded of the God who delights in me and in whose presence is fullness of joy. When I talk about Z and share Z with others, this is the message I want their hearts to receive. God delights in you. He is full of mercy and abounding in steadfast love. His love for you cannot be shaken. Though there is pain and suffering and all sorts of hurt on this earth, in the presence of the Lord is the one place you are guaranteed to find the fullness of joy.
Losing my baby was, and is, the most terrible thing I have ever lived through. My eyes were swollen from crying for a week straight. It was 11 weeks ago today that my body was moving into active labor. It was a terrible day. It was a day full of sadness I have never known. Oh, but if there were some way to transfer to your heart and mind the way the Lord was holding me in those moments, I would. He gives me laughter for sadness and joy for tears. I am reminded of the pain every time I think of Z. But I am immediately reminded of the nearness and compassion of my Lord, too. When I think of Z in Heaven all I see is laughter and delight.
And it is my prayer every day that this blog is a place of healing that brings joy and delight to the darkest places. Oh, that you would see the way Jesus loves you! If only you could see why Zibah smiles in His presence. If only you would fully know your worth and the delight that the God of the universe takes in you. This is my prayer. And I believe it is Z’s prayer too, as s/he stands in the presence of the Lord day and night, night and day.