Anyone who knows us well could testify we do not name our children arbitrarily. The decision is a difficult one for us and only ever comes about after much deliberation, discussion, research and prayer. Thus, selecting a name for a gender-less child, as you might imagine, was extremely difficult for us. This would be why I was sitting in our bed with my brand new son in my arms, an hour or so after he entered the world, looking at my husband and asking, "So? What do you think?"
Of course we did not walk into his birth-date blindly, with no options even considered. Joseph, in fact, was a name we had tossed around for a number of months (along with its counterpart, "Josephine," in the event of a girl - though Daddy had mostly vetoed that option, feeling it too formal for his tastes). It was a name which had come to me during Sunday School, for no particular reason I can think of. But when I considered the Old Testament character of Joseph, one who faced many hardships in his life and yet always trusted God's plan in his life, I knew it was a name to be considered.
This is how we come to our naming decisions - by asking ourselves the question, "What is God teaching us right now?" For Emmett it was the idea that we were more than capable of raising a son, one whose success as a man would be found not in the power and strength promoted in our culture, but in the kindness and truth treasured by God. For Micaiah, it was the reminder that there is no one more capable of directing our lives than God - our God who always provides and watches out for us in ways no one else can. Our lesson throughout my entire pregnancy this time around was a full trust in God - even when it seems His plan is very different than what we would have chosen for ourselves - the same lesson lived through the life of the Biblical Joseph.
These are the things considered when the name first came to us. However, as I sat to do a character study of this Old Testament Joseph, I searched my concordance for references to him and only then did I remember another Biblical Joseph - the husband of Mary. And, so, my attentions were re-directed.
Having heard the Christmas story annually for my entire life, this was the first year I had ever truly considered the role of Joseph - or, rather, the faith of Joseph - throughout the process of our Redeemer being sent to earth. Here was a man who, upon hearing of his betrothed's pregnancy, had planned to dismiss her quietly but, instead, was approached by an angel who informed him of the situation and encouraged him to stick around. I had never before contemplated what great faith it required for Joseph to stand by a woman who was most likely still considered by those around him as unfaithful. Yes, he had seen an angel, but the rest of those in his town had not - and they were probably still talking - about Mary, her condition, how she got in that condition and what it said of Joseph's character that the woman he was about to marry had been found pregnant. To stay by her side in the face of such social opposition required true faith and trust in a plan that he would not have made for himself.
His faith was also evident shortly after the baby's birth when he again listened to an angel, this time through a dream, and fled to Egypt - not the next morning, after he'd time to think it through or hash out a plan with Mary, but immediately, in the middle of the night, taking his bride and brand new baby boy out into the desert to a new land, simply because he had dreamed it. Talk about trust.
So, this is our son, Joseph - named for two Biblical pillars of faith - a reminder to us that we can always trust in the plan God has for us, even when it differs vastly from what we might have come up with on our own.
His middle name, Peter, which means "rock," comes from the life verse we chose for our son, based on the concepts above: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock" [Psalm 26:3-4, emphasis added].
So, there you have it - Joseph Peter; these are the thoughts which brought us to settle on this name. Though, truth be told, we considered many others along the way, but we always made our way back to Joseph, which, I believe, is exactly where God wanted us.