Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's in a Name

looking back on it, we aren't really sure how we landed on the name noah. there was another name we were going to go with for awhile and then, kind of last minute, we switched to noah. and we are so glad we did.

you never know when you're picking out names for a child whether or not they'll "fit". but noah's name fit him perfectly. just the sound of the name noah is sweet and gentle. and that was him. sweet and gentle.

while noah was in the hospital God used his name, in miraculous and beautiful ways, to repeatedly remind us of His presence with us. and almost all of the time God used His people to do it.

pretty much immediately when noah started getting sick we became overwhelmed with updating friends and family with how he was doing. it's not that we didn't want people to know, we actually were desperate for prayers and support, it was so difficult because we were completely numb. we barely knew what was going on, and to try to explain to someone else what we couldn't explain to ourselves is pretty much impossible.

so my sister laura had the brilliant idea to create a group facebook page so we could ask for prayers and give updates to everyone all at once. what a miracle it was.

and what we didn't realize was that, through that page, thousands of people would become invested in noah's life and story. close friends to acquaintances to strangers would reach out with encouragement and prayers.

one of the first days we had the "Pray for Noah" page someone, who i didn't know, posted this picture of a rainbow.

(now it's currently the cover photo on the "Rainbows for Noah" facebook page.)

and just like the noah in the bible, that rainbow, and tons and tons to follow, became a sign of God's promise to us.

we came to also find out that the meanings of the name noah are peace, rest, comfort and long-living. and all of those are a 100% fit for our noah.

we learned of each meaning at just the perfect time - when we needed to be encouraged by it the most. for example, my sister amy, on the night noah was taken to seattle children's hospital and critically ill, she told us one of the meanings of noah is peace and shared john 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." amazing.

then another night, actually the night of noah's surgery to find out if what he had was fatal, our friends shelby and kevin came to visit us in the hospital and shared that another meaning of noah is long-living. can you even believe it? and then the next day noah went to live with Jesus for eternity.

and all of that love and support was worked by God, through you, because of a name. love it.

and it just keeps coming.

this picture was posted to my facebook page this morning.

photo cred goes to mrs. lisa phelps

i immediately noticed that the building that rainbow is hovering over is the place john and i celebrated our wedding reception... three years ago. august 28, 2010.

(more on that day, and the man i married, tomorrow.)

and i realized today, for the first time, that in these last few months i personally have not seen a live and real rainbow myself. the "rainbows for noah" have always come, for me, through other people.

sometimes we need others to remind us of God's faithfulness and promises, when we don't have the strength to see them ourselves.


  1. McCayla, thank you so much for sharing these thoughts, the verse above (one that has often brought me comfort) and your experiences of God's love through His people and displays of His beauty. I saw a rainbow this morning too, above downtown Seattle as I drove to work on the I-90 bridge. Immediately I thought of Noah, and you two. Just like when I saw one while walking out of the church one day recently. You three are ever present in my heart and prayers.

  2. I've thought about this a lot, actually. How it seems to me like God gave you the name of Noah for your baby boy knowing that it would give you tangible reminders of His promises and His love and faithfulness. I will never look at a rainbow the same way, and I know I'm not alone in that. Sweet Noah changed the world - in that a group of us here on Earth will no longer look at rainbows just as a pretty scene, but as a tangible reminder of the Lord and His promises. So thank you to the three of you for that!