Our Noelle (on her fourth Noel)

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We have a daughter named Noelle, she’s three and this is her fourth Christmas.  She was born in May, this confuses people.

(He’s got a daughter he calls Easter She was born on a Tuesday night… every day is a winding road… Sheryl Crow anyone?)

I am always intrigued by how people land on their children’s names.  Are they familial,  biblical, ethnically important, from your favorite novel or does the name just embody something special for you?

As for Kel and I we selected our children’s names by the following criteria:

1) Do we like it, is it lovely on our lips?
2) How easily can it be twisted into an elementary school taunt? (We knew Caedmon would get Caveman before we named him that, but still… Caedmon it was)
3) What does the name mean for us?  What does it speak over our child’s life?

And so I can clearly remember the moment that we found the name Noelle for our firstborn. We were driving in our gold Saturn south to Dallas to visit my friend Amy when I came across it in the name book, which was laying open across my lap.

I said Noelle and Kel told me that he didn’t want to name his daughter “Christmas”

I insisted that the word Noel meant more than just Christmas, it meant a turning point in history, the birth of a savior, the beginning of something revolutionary and new.

I was wrong by the way, Noel just means:

no·el noun nō-ˈel

1: a Christmas carol
2: capitalized : christmas

Yet, those stirrings in my heart, all thing things that I thought Noel meant, those are the very reasons that we named her Noelle.

This baby would be the start of something brand new.  We were starting a new family, a new generation through which we could change the brokenness of our own families of origin.

We wanted to do things differently and we were determine to build something strong and lasting, full of love and joy.

We were young, we thought that we were immune to all of the issues that had plagued our parents.  We still blamed them outright for a whole list of things that we didn’t understand and had no right to judge.

And now here I am three years into this mother-daughter journey.

I’n three years, I’ve already walked in my own Mother’s footsteps more often than I thought I would in a lifetime.

I’ve been terrified to find myself at the exact same forks in the road where my mother found herself with me.  We’re different women, with different paths, but as I stood there making my choices, I understood how she landed on hers.

And although there is much journey left ahead of us, God willing I’m discovering that Noelle is one of my life’s true gifts.  With every passing day I understand that God gave her to us exactly as she is to bring healing to some very broken places.

Through being a mother, I’ve forgiven my own.

Through helping Noelle through my same struggles I’ve forgiven my childhood self.

Through enjoying her creative energy I’ve recaptured some of my own.

Through instructing her I’ve learned the patience I so desperately needed. 

My Noelle, my Christmas in May, you truly are a gift to me.  Our God in his infinite wisdom, knew I needed you to become the woman, the mother and the daughter He’s calling me to be.

Merry Christmas Baby, just as you are.

I would love to hear how you’ve become more the person God’s calling you to be through the gift of your children.  Would you share with me?

Three years a daughter, Three years a mother

Saturday was the best day I’ve had in ever so long.  So much so that I’m fairly certain I told my husband how content and overjoyed I was nearly 20 times as we sat together and wound down from the busyness of the day.

Yesterday we celebrated three years of our oldest, our daughter Noelle.

Noelle Ava on her birthday from birth to three

The more I stop and really see my children the more overwhelmed I am with how much beauty God poured into each of them.  My Noelle is fully of curiosity, joy and compassion.  She was given a doctor play set by her grandma and she has been attempting to “feel us better” ever since with TLC and immense determination, watch out or you could take a pretend needle to the face.

I sit here at my breakfast table listening to the thunder and rain and reflecting on this morning three years ago.  In a small hospital room, exhausted with a freshly cut C-section scar across my abdomen.  I was trying to walk without abs and praying to learn how to nurse and swaddle my freshly given baby girl.

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