Behind the name: Nan Louise

I am aching to write Nan's birth story. It's always so therapeutic for me...NOT TO MENTION I will forget details soon if I don't get them written down. So first I need to write the story behind this beautiful third daughter's name: Nan Louise, just like I did for Blythe and Becks.

Stories are important to me. I want to gather them up and share them and keep record of them. And I have wanted all of my daughter's names to tell a story-- a story of people who have loved us well. A story of full of meaning. I always have viewed their names as little time capsules they can carry with them all of their lives.

Blythe Kathleen was so perfect and unique, when Becks Lynae came along we felt a little pressure to get her name just right. I loved giving a one syllable name that couldn't be shortened into a nickname [though they have been stretched into longer names :)]. I didn't intentionally do the B thing... and when I suggested a B name if we had a third daughter, we had to really consider what that would be like: Brent, Blythe, Becks. That's a lot. I just couldn't do another B name.


Little did I know, when the time came for our third child to be born, Nan's name would find us. She had to be Nan. 

If you don't remember the story, the day we found out we were pregnant with our third child was on August 3rd-- the same day we buried and said goodbye to our beloved Grandma Pat. That morning I took the test and hugged Brent in his suit. I put my hands across my abdomen covered in a black dress. The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Grandma was the only one who knew we had even considered trying for a third child, and as I plucked a yellow rose from her casket, I whispered our new found secret. 

And I knew. I knew this baby, if a girl, would be Nan. 

Grandma Pat's full name was Patricia Nan.

She hated her middle name. Her sister didn't have a middle name, and would make one up when people asked because she wanted one so badly. Grandma would tell her she shouldn't do that because having a middle name wasn't all that great. Her mother's name was Nancy, and her dad always called her Nan. He insisted that Patricia's middle name be Nan. And so it was. Exactly why she disliked it so much, I don't know, but I know she hated two things: Her middle name and Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales.

I really wish I could have seen her reaction when we passed it on to our daughter.

Nan means grace. Which is just about perfect.

Back when we were praying about having another baby or not, I knew that I would need a whole new level of grace if we had a third. When I wrote our announcement post back in October I wrote:

"The idea of three children terrifies me a bit, to be honest. That's an entirely new level of insanity. Was I ready for that? Was I capable of that? And the answer I came up with was: NO. I'm not ready. I'm not capable. I'm not strong enough. And that is exactly why we decided we should have three children. Because God is ready. He is capable. And He is so strong. And by having another child we would enter an entirely new level of dependency on Him. Our family will have to link securely with His strength and faithfulness and peace and forgiveness, and with His unending love as we welcome this new baby and figure out life as FIVE. "

And His grace. 

There is an old hymn that says, "Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe...grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin."

And Nan means grace. And I pray she is our reminder of this matchless grace that is given freely to us. And I pray that she is our reminder to respond in grace and live into God's grace as we parent these three girls.  

And then there is Louise. 

Louise is a name from Brent's family as well. If I remember correctly, his Grandma Hazel's dad was Louis. And the name started to get passed down. When it came to naming Brent's mom, her parents gave her the female version of this name, and she became Joan Louise. 

It's always been a middle name we've kicked around. It's such a feminine name, and when we stuck it with Nan? Well, magic happened if you ask me: Nan Louise. 

And just like naming her after Grandma Pat, naming her after her Nini Joan is perfect. A selfless, helpful, giving woman if ever there was!

And the meaning of Louise is renowned warrior. 

I love attaching this to GRACE. The bible uses war language time and time again, reminding us of the Enemy we face in this world. We must put on armor. We must fight temptation and sin. And we are promised that we will overcome this world.

1 John 5:4-5 says, "Every God-begotten person conquers the world's ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world's ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God." [The Message translation].

And Louise means renowned warrior.

Renowned. Known for being a warrior. And we pray that Nan Louise will be known for being a warrior of Christ. That she will remind us that the victory is ours because we believe Jesus is the Son of God. And we pray that she will claim this victory in her life.

I know a lot of people were expecting a B name. And if not a B name, people were expecting something a little different or modern, even a little masculine,  because Blythe and Becks are definitely those things. And we decided on Nan Louise-- an old fashioned and feminine name. And yet, still a name full of meaning and stories and wonderful heritage.

Our sweet Nan Louise, may you follow the wonderful examples of the women you were named after, and may you be full of grace and known for your love of Christ. We are so thankful it was you from the beginning.


maryi said...

Beautiful!! The words and the precious little girl.

Hannah said...

This is so sweet! She is one blessed little lady already and her name is just perfect.