willow + glad :
our children’s names generally come to me about halfway through my pregnancy. they seem to be both representative of something God is teaching me, or me & josh, during that season of our lives, & also an indicator of the nature/gifting/destiny of the child i’m carrying.
during my pregnancy with willow, the Lord was teaching us to praise Him at all times. so often we as humans construct shrines of our disappointments, which are apt to become the theme & message of our lives, towering above the tabernacles we could rather build to proclaim the goodness & faithfulness of God. in times of sickness, confusion, “failed” plans, the Lord was teaching us to trust Him and His goodness, & proclaim His praises as we awaited His provision, healing, & salvation.
the symbol i saw of this in nature was a willow tree, which seemed to have a flexibility & resilience in its limbs, arms gracefully arched in praise. in scripture, the willow tree is a symbol of praise, a symbol of the Lord’s faithfulness as the people celebrate the feast of tabernacles in leviticus (23:40), then in ezra (chapter 3) and nehemiah (chapter 8) as they return to jerusalem after a season of exile. i also uncovered a wonderful allegory about a willow tree in some early christian writings, namely “the shepherd,” parable 8, which also portrays the willow as a tree that ever clings to & sprouts new life.
we were also learning to take delight in the law of the Lord, & saw the correlation in scripture between righteousness & gladness (Psalm 1:1-6 and Psalm 32:11, etc., through the work of the Holy Spirit—Galatians 3:2-6), even as we were seeing the truth of that in our own lives. thus, willow glad.
so, while we were learning about praise in all circumstances, & reaping the fruit of gladness, God was forming this resilient, joyful little girl inside of me. these lessons josh & i were learning seemed to be a part of her, our little willow glad, & already she has seemed to be an easy-going, sweet-natured little thing, who will be firmly planted by streams of living water, offering shade & comfort to others beneath her graceful, ever-praising branches, singing songs of gladness even in times of seeming captivity (psalm 137). welcome to our family, willow glad!