i remember when i was a little girl, one of my favorite past times was curling up in an easy chair, pen to notebook, to daydream and brainstorm about my future babies' names. i would start with "a" - ashleigh, ashton, amber... and work my way through to "z" - zashleigh, zashton, zamber... lol :) i would experiment with different spellings and try to conjure up the most creative, most beautiful names i could. when it came time to actually naming my ACTUAL children it was a process. it had to be something memorable (not like "jenifer" - no offense, mom. she is aware of my issues with my name. lol) something modern but not too trendy and something spelled easily (not like "jenifer" lol) something with lovely syllabic rhythm and nothing that could morph into an unseemly nickname. :) i settled on "makenna grace" - her first name i saw on "a baby story" on tlc. no sentimental value, no family significance. and her middle name is just something i'm thankful for on a daily basis. :) then with my 2nd, "delaney kate" shares her first name with one of martina mcbride's children (at least that's where i first heard it) and her middle name is the same as my maternal great-grandmother's first name. it still tickles my heart every time i introduce my children and people say "oh, i love those names!" they have been much deliberated and carefully chosen. and i think they fit my girls perfectly. :)
such was the case with this bouncing baby blog... wanting to find something that captured your attention and your heart, to inspire and intrigue, easy to remember but not too simplistic. i got my trusty notebook out and scribbled down some ideas, transposed words and phrases, scratched out more than a few. and then i remembered this verse. this simple little verse that spoke volumes of peace to my quivering, insecure heart. this is going to seem random but stick with me here (and for those who know me and have heard me tell stories, you know i struggle with maintaining focus - understatement of the year, maybe??) i promise to bring it all together in the end. eventually. i hope... :)
the theme that i had chosen for makenna's nursery was lambs. i can't really remember what caused me to settle on this other than lambs are cute and makenna was born the week before Easter and the lamb motif was abundant and CHEAP at the time. :) so lambs it was. i had purchased a sweet little calendar with little pastel animals encircling the border. sitting at my desk, my husband away for the next few months and me, struggling to maintain my sanity with an 8 week old who seemed to inherit my fierce independence, slowly going under... i was turning the pages of the calendar, counting and recounting the days until his return, and i happened upon this verse at the top of one of the calendar pages...
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those who have young."
have you ever had those times where the Word of God just seems to jump off the page at you? where you are convinced, beyond all time and space, that the Creator of the Universe is communicating with YOU? that was this. i was spent, ragged, worn out, done. and here was a divine indication that Someone cared and i was not at ALL alone in this endeavor. i have always loved the image of Jesus as our great shepherd. sheep are amazingly stupid animals, you know. and i most definitely fall into that category from time to time. but this verse gave me hope. some days, just a glimmer would suffice to get me through. but this blazing jewel, this beacon of truth, would sustain me to this very day. He "tends" His flock... He is watching over us with a constant, caring eye. "He gathers the lambs in his arms" - tenderly, lovingly, he comes alongside us and changes our direction, our outlook. pulls us up to a higher perspective... and He "carries them close to His heart". that, my friends, is a beautiful thing. i just love that visual. and then the kicker, "He gently leads those who have young." He gently leads us. Not with a rod and staff, not kicking us back on to the path when we start to wander away, but gently. patiently. compassionately. i love that.
so that is how i ended up with the name for this here blog. it holds deep meaning for me and i pray that it will for you as well. motherhood is a blessing as well as a challenge, is it not? there are days when we feel we can't go on and those we never ever want to end. days we are fully confident with the parenting choices we have made and those that got real ugly real fast. :) but through it all, in the midst of all our fears and doubts and craziness, He is leading us... gently. how great is that?