Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's in a Name? Part 2

Here are some of the names Mary Grace suggested for her brother:

Banjo Butterbean

Butter Banjo

Airplane Banjo

Airplane Butter

Nehemiah Airplane

Nehemiah Butter Airplane

Nehemiah Banjo Butter Bum

Mary Grace and Nehemiah
As you can see, she has quite the imagination. You can also see that the names got longer and that at a certain point they began with what would actually become her brother's name. 

Naming our son was quite the adventure. We (lets be honest here, I) went through a phase where the most important charteristic for our son's name was that it was manly. By manly I now realize I meant silly. Some of the options were Rex, Thor, Conan, Abner, Earl, and so on. The name that emerged from this round was Porter; I'm not sure why other than it sounded cool. I had obviously not learned anything since being a teenager.

Because Mary Grace's name is almost over-saturated with family names, we decided to limit the name of our son to one. But which one? We have so many amazing men in our families who deserve honor; men like Madison, Melvin, Marvin, John, and Mike. But it was a meal of chicken and dumplings that helped us choose.

Michala placed the hot gooey dumpling in her mouth and soon tears were flowing. Did she burn her tongue? No, the taste reminded her of her recently passed grandmother Imogene Copeland, the mother of her step-mom Pansy. Michala had found a spiritual mentor in this lovely woman. When we visited, her home felt like our home. And in that fateful bite one afternoon at Cracker Barrel, her absence was painfully revisted. We knew we wanted to honor her and we choose to do so with her surname: Copeland.

We grew to love the Copeland name because of how we loved the Copelands themselves or more importantly because of how the Copelands love us. Very rarely do children get along with their step-mom or step-dad. Michala had the privilege of having two of the finest in Pansy and Mike. In their love and devotion they earned the right to drop the "step" modifier and simply be Pops and Ma P.

But even rarer is to connect with the extended family of a step-parent. Yet in the Copelands we never felt that we lacked a shared kinship. While our blood may have been different, the hearts pumping it knew no stranger, only a daughter and now a son and two grandchildren. We were adopted in the most beautiful way possible. We lost our "step" modifiers as well and simply became sons and daughters.

The Scriptures talk of us all being adopted into the family of God. We were once not a people but because of Jesus Christ we are welcomed into the family fully. Not as slaves but as heirs to the kingdom, full-fledged sons and daughters of God Himself. The Copeland family welcomed us just the same, we are not add-on's but knit into the very fabric of the family. We thank God that our children are not just Gallups but Copelands as well.

Copeland. That's just the middle name.

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