heron selah | the names of our children, part i of iv

josh and i are often asked about how we came up with our children's names : heron selah, shepherd zuri, peregrin jude, and poppy evangeline.

so often God reveals His character and purposes to us through both His creation and His Word. to reflect this, our children's names contain a word from the book of NATURE (first name) and a word from the book of SCRIPTURE (middle name).

each of our children's names represent something God was showing or teaching us during the time of my pregnancy--something that also seemed to speak into the calling and nature of the child i was carrying. like biblical patterns of prophecy there's a present and a future element, a double meaning.

i'll start with our oldest daughter, heron.

when josh & i first discovered i was pregnant we began to think of names that meant or symbolized healing to us. soon we began to ponder bird names, for birds & wings have always symbolized healing to us through the imagery found in scripture (malachi 4:2, psalm 91:4a, and matthew 9:20-22 in particular).

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. Malachi 4:2

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4a 

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his garment, I will be made well." Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:20-22


in the passage from matthew, the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years touches the hem of Christ's garment, or, rather, the tassels of his prayer shawl, which are also called "wings". (i love how "the sun of righteousness...with healing in its wings" in the old testament becomes the Son of righteousness with healing in His wings in the new testament!) this passage became important to us about fifteen years ago, soon after josh & i met but before we were married, & the Lord spoke through this passage that He would heal me of a similar affliction & enable me to carry life. for years i'd had endometriosis, a condition in which every doctor i'd seen over a period of 10 or so years had told me could very likely cause infertility, or, at the very least i would have a very difficult time conceiving. but the Lord promised healing to us then, fifteen years ago now, & He did it!

four days before heron was born, our home for the year in the background. that old mansion was steeped in history--legendary bank robber john dillinger's old getaway house, and a stop on the underground railroad!

so why a heron? josh & i moved to eaton, indiana, late in the summer of 2007 for the season of recording josh's album jacaranda. our friends bill and robin had offered us their beautiful 1800s antebellum mansion (their second home, unoccupied) as we transitioned out of the pastorate in indianapolis into full-time music. we began to stalk the great blue heron along the banks of the mississinewa river which ran along the 35-acre property. the heron always seemed to show up at the most important moments, one of which was on our way to the clinic for a pregnancy test. as we left the house that day we drove past the heron, stopped the car & watched her take off in flight (appropriately, as "tomorrow on the runway" by the innocence mission played). in that moment i knew in my heart that i was pregnant, and that we were having a girl. so, of course, "heron" became that perfect bird name we'd been searching for. the name "selah" soon followed--a name from Psalms that is generally recognized as meaning to pause, rest, contemplate. this is a reminder to heron, our high-energy extrovert, to slow down and pause sometimes. 

heron selah, our healing little bird, is our symbol of christ's healing & comfort & care for us. what a joy it is to see our children live into their names! from the moment of her birth, God was bringing healing to our hearts through heron--my father passed away unexpectedly six weeks before she was born, and her very arrival lifted our mourning. she also literally has the gift of healing--my migraines have often been lifted through her prayers. and selah? heron is an artist, and we are blessed to already see her practicing rest and contemplation as she stops for hours at a time to create her masterpieces. 

seeking the Lord's wisdom in the naming of our children is a beautiful opportunity to partner with Him in the shaping of these little humans and their hearts. for us, waiting patiently for Him to share His plans for our children, and naming them accordingly, has given us the keys we need to pray and encourage them in their gifts and callings as they grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man...