Why 'Miracle'? I asked her mom recently.
She told me about the early days of Gabrielle's life. Born with Down Syndrome and many resulting complications, they were told Gabby wouldn't live but a few days. And if she did, she would never walk or talk.
But God had other plans for Gabby. And as she began to do all the things the doctors said she would never do, she was given the name, "Miracle". One doctor even crossed out the name "Gabrielle" on her chart and wrote "Miracle". Like a statement- let's name this what it really is!
miracle (noun)- a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency
Look, Gabby's journey has not been easy. She and her family have faced many, many difficulties along the way. In the early years of her life, Gabby had a number of surgeries. Which means her family spent countless hours at the doctor and in the hospital. And perhaps there were times when they longed for an easier road. More beach vacations and less blood draws, maybe?
But her parents chose to call her "Miracle" anyway. The way I see it, it was an act of faith. It was a choice to focus on the incredible work of their faithful God instead of the daily challenges they faced. And it was a decision to focus on the beauty and abilities their daughter possessed rather than the "disabilities" listed on her medical chart. Like drawing a line in the sand and saying this is holy ground.
I'm sure many of their days have felt not-so-miraculous and more-like-ordinary. And many, many days have presented challenges that felt insurmountable. But maybe some days remembering that they were participating in a miracle kept them going. Kept them moving forward when they wanted to buckle. I'm not sure, but I am sure of this-
What we name something or someone matters.
I read today that there are more than nine hundred names for God in the Bible. Each one revealing a facet of who God really is. And God himself renames a number of His followers at pivotal moments in their lives- with new names that seem to define how God sees them.
Simon becomes Peter. Peter means "Rock". Jesus speaks purpose and meaning into this man when he renames him. Peter didn't know this at the time, but there would be a moment in his life- not far away- when he would look more like shifting sand than like rock. I wonder if in those identity-shaking days between his denial of Christ and Jesus' reinstatement of him - did Peter ever cling to his name for dear life? I'm Peter. I am a rock. God has chosen this name for me and he doesn't make mistakes and though I feel like I have utterly failed Him I choose to believe He sees something I don't here.
Clearly, in the mind of God, there is something in a name.
Sometimes we don't even know we've named something. Some, faced with the same circumstances as Gabby's family, would have named her something else. Not right out loud, but somewhere just below the surface a name is given and it sounds more like burden than like miracle.
Somewhere along the way, Miracle became Gabby again, but her family has not lost sight of what a gift... what a miracle their daughter really is.
Today I watched Gabby play in a basketball game with our daughter, Eden. These girls love their basketball games! When Gabby scores she turns toward the stands and does a pretty awesome toe-touch. If she gets enough applause and the music is playing just right, she'll do a dance for us. Oh, and we got the Gator chomp a few times today, too.
Every week when we see Gabby at church, she gives me a hug. Or six. This girl knows how to love big. She is a gift to the world- just a beautiful miracle sent from God to remind us He's there.
The day of the girls' basketball game was World Down Syndrome Day, and I thought a lot about our Eden and her precious friend, Gabby.
I also thought about naming things. And the weight a name bears.
And then I remembered something I had named. Something it was time to rename.
(will be continued tomorrow...)