As we were celebrating my Dad's birthday this weekend I remembered it was also the anniversary of Evan's baby dedication at our church. Kind of like watching the wedding video on our anniversary, I wanted to reread the words we wrote for his dedication. It's been a year, but the prayer is the same. Here is Evan's story:
When we found out we were expecting last fall, we thought we had plenty of time to plan and prepare ourselves for parenthood. Being educated people ourselves, we were confident that after reading the books and taking the classes, we’d be professionals -- we were ready. Evan arrived on May 31st, a week ahead of schedule, perfect and healthy and squishy. Five-and-a-half months of baby adventure later, we fully concede that we’re still not ready and nowhere near professional!
Once we found out we were expecting a boy the quest for the perfect name began, which any parent can attest is a daunting task. How do you name a child when you know nothing about them yet? Even so, we settled fairly quickly on Evan, the Welsh derivative of John, which means “God is Gracious.” Nothing could be truer than a parent’s hope that his child be compassionate, kind, and generous of spirit. It is what we believe God hopes for us, and what we hope for our child. It became much more difficult to settle on a middle name – should we pick a family name, a name that fit our Irish, Italian or German backgrounds, or choose one of the many suggestions we received from friends and family? The first person to throw a name in the hat came from our Highland family – we won’t name names, but Evan Joseph did have a pleasant ring to it. Ultimately we chose Henry, a German name and a tribute to Jennifer’s great-grandfather. Dan took a particular liking to the name as an admirer of the life and works of Henry David Thoreau, a writer, abolitionist, environmentalist and one who chose to walk his own path. Everyone wanted to know what name we had chosen, but we decided to make it a surprise for the day of his birth. Dan thought it would be funny to tell everyone a fake name and pretend it was the real name. This caused no “small” amount of concern to those closest to us, and the day he was born there was great anticipation. Of course, when you’ve told everyone you are naming your unborn child Seamus Hussein, what do you expect? Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” When we look at Evan Henry, we see a true blessing and a powerful example of God’s love.
Highland has already meant so much to us in the two short years we have been members. We have found here more than just a place to celebrate and experience God’s love. Highland has been like a second home. Jennifer is particularly thrilled that Dan has taken such an active role working with the youth. Every bit of knowledge and experience that will help us navigate Evan’s teen years can only help. In the spring we found fellowship in the Transformers bible study class, a group of newlyweds and new parents, mentors and friends. By the time Evan was born he already had a group of friends himself in Amber, Ella, Hannah, Ava, and most recently, Eleanor. All girls. Yes, he is indeed one lucky little boy! Our class name takes its identity from the passage in Romans - “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What better dream could we have for Evan as he grows up with his Highland family?
Our prayer for our son since the day he arrived has been that we can be good parents, and provide the best foundation for him in childhood to prepare him for the uncertain world of adulthood. Life is a rocky road and the path often rugged, and our hope is that Evan will know the shelter of the One who calms the waters. We have heard the words of many previous baby dedications and have taken them to heart. We hope that you will help us teach him, show him, and be an example of what it means to be, and live, as a follower of Christ.