What’s in a name

For each of our four children, we’ve given a lot of attention to choosing a name that means something.  Not coincidentally, for each of them their name represented something special happening in our own lives during the particular season in which they were born.  Our oldest Riley Claire came at a time when I most needed clarity (Claire = clarity).  I had just transitioned to a new role, leading a large team for the first time.  I was in grad school in the evenings, and oh yeah, I had just become a new father.  I was finding my way both personally and professionally and needed clarity in a season of change.

Olivia Grace, our second daughter came at my lowest point professionally.  If anyone needed grace at that moment it was me and my career.   The thing I least expected, I received: a second chance professionally to reinvent myself and my career.  Grace tends to show up in these providential moments, and it has been that way for a while.  Olivia also is our child that we find ourselves extending the most grace towards given her nature of curiosity.

Next was our third daughter London Hope.  If ever we needed hope, it was then.  I’d just been downsized, my wife was transitioning to a new job, and we were both facing career uncertainty.  Add to that losing my childhood best friend to cancer and it was looking to be a bleak year.  Then came hope.  Both of us were offered amazing new job opportunities.  We moved into a new home.  As we mourned the loss of one friend, I got to celebrate with another as he married on a cliff in Mexico overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Then, to cap it off we ended the year on the highest note of all with the birth of London Hope, our daughter whose smile is a constant fixture in our home.

Several months before our fourth daughter was born, I wrote in my journal, Every season has had its challenges and this one is no different.  As we transition into 2018, we face our share of uncertainty.  In this season we need to be reminded of the promise that God is with us, and God is for us.  

Then, I read a familiar scripture that perfectly captured what I was looking for:

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s our handle on what we can’t see.  The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  (Hebrews 11:1)

From there I knew what our fourth child’s name had to be: Faith.  Later I wrote in my journal, faith is what we need, and I’m looking forward to seeing what faith brings.  This is how we came to the name Sloane Imani Wakefield for our fourth daughter.  Sloane means warrior, and it pairs nicely with Imani which means faith.  Faith demands corresponding activity.  We’ve seen more progress in this year as a result of stepping out on faith, personally and professionally.  Really, that’s the only way to see real progress; at some point you have to be willing to jump.

People often ask us why do we have four kids, and then they follow that question up with, well are you going to try for one more?  I don’t have a good answer to either question, so I typically laugh it off and move on.  The truth is, right now we’re focused on the faith we’ve got for today.  We’ll let tomorrow worry about tomorrow.


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