Immediately we realized...we hadn't chosen a name! We had thrown a few ideas back and forth but, for whatever reason (at least a sense of guardedness on my part), we had narrowed it down to three but had not really prayed about it. That all changed the moment she locked eyes with me that night. Lauren says that my face lit up like a Christmas tree. I won't deny it.
Our friend Lisa, who we've found has some prophetic dreams when it comes to names, mentioned the name Abigail a few weeks before, but we honestly had not considered it as a biblical or saint name (which we wanted to stick to). The next morning, before we left for the hospital to spend more time with our daughter-to-be, Lauren searched "girl's names in the bible" and the first name returned was--you guessed it--Abigail.
Of course! How had we forgotten it? Abigail was David's first wife, to whom he proposed marriage after she intervened to stay his anger by offering him the hospitality that her husband Nabal (Hebrew for "fool") had obstinately refused. (Nabal died shortly afterward). At their first encounter, she fell at David's feet, taking her husband's blame upon herself and begging David's forgiveness:
David, struck by her bold yet humble intervention, praised her, saying:
As she fell at his feet she said: "My lord, let the blame be mine. Please let your handmaid speak to you, and listen to the words of your handmaid....Now, therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as you live, it is the LORD who has kept you from shedding blood and from avenging yourself personally. May your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord become as Nabal!Accept this present, then, which your maidservant has brought for my lord, and let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the transgression of your handmaid, for the LORD shall certainly establish a lasting dynasty for my lord, because your lordship is fighting the battles of the LORD, and there is no evil to be found in you your whole life long. If anyone rises to pursue you and to seek your life, may the life of my lord be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God; but may he hurl out the lives of your enemies as from the hollow of a sling. And when the LORD carries out for my lord the promise of success he has made concerning you, and appoints you as commander over Israel, you shall not have this as a qualm or burden on your conscience, my lord, for having shed innocent blood or for having avenged yourself personally. When the LORD confers this benefit on your lordship, remember your handmaid." (1 Samuel 24, 26-31)
"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today. Blessed be your good judgment and blessed be you yourself, who this day have prevented me from shedding blood and from avenging myself personally. Otherwise, as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from harming you, if you had not come so promptly to meet me, by dawn Nabal would not have had a single man or boy left alive." (1 Samuel 25:32-24)Wow! So Abigial is described as "intelligent and attractive," and praised and blessed by David for her good judgement. I like that.
To top it all off, the meaning of her name, in Hebrew "A father's joy," could not describe better what she has become to us. Despite the sleepless nights, and many frustrations of parenting a newborn for the first time (which are lessons in and of themselves; more on that in a later post), as well as the unknowingness of an unfinalized adoption, we are filled with such great joy at this child that the Lord has given to us.
We selected her middle name, Chiara, in honor of Blessed Chiara "Luce" Badano, a beautiful and inspirational modern-day young woman who was filled with the light of Christ, so much that she was given the nickname of "Light" despite all of her suffering and early death at 18 from a rare form of bone cancer. Her name has returned to us several times over the past year, since Lauren first heard of her while we were touring Italy, and she is being beatified today in Rome with great celebration.
Our child, Abgail Chiara, who does not yet know how much she is loved, has become her father's joy.
Blessed Chiara, Pray for us!