What’s in a name? A lot, in my opinion. But evidently not my own plans.
At 17ish week pregnant, unbeknownst to me, our rainbow baby’s heart stopped beating and I birthed her a couple weeks later when we got the devastating news at a routine doctor appointment. Initially, we thought she was a boy. No one was 100% certain (it’s hard to tell when they’re so tiny), but we still went with it and named him (her) Henderson Bryan, after my mom’s maiden name and my husband’s middle name. And I thought the name was absolutely perfect. Until a week and a half later when genetics came back and we found out our child was a healthy, genetically perfect little GIRL. And all of a sudden the name “Henderson” was anything BUT perfect.
Granted it’s not a huge deal as it didn’t change anything. Our child was already gone. But you have to understand, the entire situation of losing Henderson made me feel completely out of control, and naming our baby was one of the few things we could choose about the awful situation. And then THAT was wrong, on top of everything else. Plus, nothing feels small to someone who is grieving, especially after 3 previous miscarriages prior to losing our daughter. I literally called this baby my son when she was in my arms at the hospital. I was wearing an “H” necklace around my neck when I got the news and had just put keychains on my older daughters’ backpacks that said Henderson. We had Henderson stuffed bears for the girls to snuggle at night when they were sad and missing their sibling. And every single memento from the hospital said Henderson. How do I just undo all that without (in my grieving mind) losing all the memories of the day of her birth?
So we decided to keep her name Henderson (boy names for girls are in, right?!), make her middle name Elizabeth, and nickname her Henny. It’s cute and endearing, and sounds a bit more feminine than a name that literally translates to “SON of Henry”. But it just still didn’t feel “right” - she should have been IRIS Elizabeth, like we had planned. Not Henny. I remember thinking, “Seriously God, have we not been through enough? Now this too?” It was just yet another reminder that everything about this pregnancy and the loss of our daughter wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
That is until my cousin sent me a message, which I believe was straight from above. She wondered if I knew that Henny means “keeper of the hearth/fire”. Much like God is the keeper of our hearts. And with that she sent this verse.
1 Peter 1:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
I was blown away. A verse telling me to be glad, there is joy ahead. And that though our faith is being tested through the fire (or through the keeper of the fire, our Henny), we are to remain strong through these trials, as our faith will bring glory and praise to him. Additionally, Elizabeth means consecrated or wholly devoted to God. So our daughter’s name literally means one who is the keeper of the fire, wholly dedicated to Him. Her loss is our trial, but she is God’s daughter forever. And this perfect verse reminds us to be glad, there’s joy ahead, as long as our faith stays strong through the fire.
And isn’t that just like God? He orchestrates things perfectly, despite my own plans being ruined, and makes them better than I could have ever imagined. He sends messengers to remind us that joy is coming. And that all of this suffering isn’t for nothing. And it was sent at just the perfect time, when I needed it most. I cried when I realized her name has so much meaning, even though it felt like a mistake. And knowing that God so deeply cares about even those small things that matter to me, as Henny’s mom, is what keeps fueling my faith through this fire.
So by random, bizarre chance (or what I think is perfectly orchestrated God intervention), our daughter’s name is Henderson (Henny) Elizabeth Plouzek. And now, I truly can’t think of a name that would be more perfect. 🔥
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