The meaning of a name is very imporatant to Dallas and I, and as we talked baby names, we came up with a couple names of each gender that meant something special to us. Actually, I was so sure I was having a boy, that we only picked one girl name and had several boy names lined up to choose from!
In most other cultures, when you say your name, many people either know what it means, or after you get to know someone, you mention what your name means. We have lots of friends overseas who take great pride in their names. My friend Moon(her English name), was born when the "moon was shaded" so her name means "moon shade" and therefore, she goes by Moon in English. Another one of my friends has "flower" as part of her name, and it fits her perfectly. In American culture, we don't always pick names by their meanings, and that's OK. But while paging through baby names, I couldn't stay away from the meanings, and was deterred many times just because I didn't like a name's meaning.
Picking the perfect name weighed very heavy on my heart, and at times, I felt very burdened by it because I wanted the exact name that God had for this little being growing inside me! Here is how we decided on India's name.
After I graduated from high school, I went on a mission trip to India, which was tiring, hard, eye-opening, rewarding, frustrating and beautiful. I came back changed, not so much visibly, but very stirred by what I saw and experienced. I didn't understand or know it right away, but my eyes and heart and mind were permanantly changed. I needed time to process what I had seen, which essentially took years. It was on this trip that I felt God really confirm in my heart that this was something that I could do for the rest of my life. I felt like He promised that He would lead me and give me strength to do whatever He called me to do or go wherever He wanted me to go.
This was not necessarily my "calling" to missions, but this was the confirmation of my calling, with a clear promise to go with it. It was almost like a re-calling. It was the time that I knew, that I knew, that I knew! I felt SO secure with this promise, and had great peace. Even still when I think about this period of time, I feel unbelievable peace and warmth and have a sense of victory. India has always had a very dear place in my heart because of this. India changed my life. I continued in this calling, going back overseas to Asia, until....
About a year after this trip, Dallas and I started dating and I shared and shared and shared and shared and shared some more about missions, and the lost, and saving the world and how I felt like I was called to full-time ministry, although I didn't know what that meant exactly. I just knew that mission work was going to be involved! I talked his ear off, impatiently hoping to influence him. He shared some of the ideas on his heart, and we realized these full-time ministry callings could work together, and soon we were married! For the first two years of our marriage God stirred in our hearts that a time of change was coming, and soon we joined YWAM and spent four years doing various mission work full-time. Our lives were turned upside-down during this time.
If it hadn't been for my trip to India, I don't know if our lives would've been so drastically touched. Maybe they would have. I don't know. But, we can both confidently say that because of my trip to India, our lives were without a doubt, changed.
To us, India Josephine means many things. India, to us represents God's calling and promise and peace to rest in. India also reminds us of something exotic, fragrant, beautiful and rich in history. Josephine means "God will increase", and that is our prayer for our little India Josephine!
We pray that God's calling and purpose that we, her parents have felt on our lives, would be increased on our little girl and that she would do greater things than either of us have done or can do! When I found out I was pregnant, the very first prayer I had about this little one, was that God could use this little babe for whatever He wanted but I wanted Him to call this baby to the Muslim world! Nothing like trying to influence God... :)
In the same way that India the country turned my world upside-down, our little India girl is doing the exact same thing and changing our lives.
Thank you Lord, for your vision, promise and peace in raising this little gift.