I [finally] finished this last Friday, but since Eli's cousin Josiah was born on that day, I didn't want to give away his name before his proud parents had the chance to reveal it. This is the story of how Eli got his name.
May 4th, 2012
You will be a month old tomorrow, and I can’t believe how fast you have grown. From the way that you turn your head at the sound of my voice to how you fit into your car seat, the time has gone by so quickly. In some ways I look forward to watching you develop and change, but part of me also wishes that I could stop time.
I hope you always know how much your dad and I love you. From the moment we found out that you were on the way, we loved you and wanted the best for you. When it came time to pick your name, we wanted to get it right. A name is something you carry with you for your whole life, and we wanted a good strong name with a legacy behind it for you.
Elijah has been one of my favorite Biblical characters since I was in high school – my favorite Bible story is about Elijah (1 Kings 19). I love that he walked and talked so closely with God. He was a man of passion, known for weeping over a widow’s dead son and speaking candidly about his despair to God (1 Kings 17:20 and 19:10). He placed his trust completely in the Lord, relying on Him to send ravens bearing food for him (1 Kings 17:2-6). He even had a sense of humor, which we can see in the story that took place on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18) where he taunted the prophets of Baal while they were calling upon their god to light an altar they had built.
But I had never considered giving that name to my child until one day when I was looking at a website that provides you with baby name suggestions and I came across it. I added it to my list of possible names, and when your dad saw it, he immediately liked it. He said that he had never considered that name either, but he was drawn to it. We agreed not to decide for sure until you came. Your dad in particular wanted to make sure that your name fit you when you came, and didn’t want to be locked in to one name only to change his mind. But as our due date got closer and closer, I couldn’t help but think of you as nothing but Elijah. Then one day in church, our pastor did a sermon on Elijah, and every time he said that name, you kicked in my stomach. It was like you were telling us that you had picked out your name, and you were Elijah! I told your dad on the way home that day that I thought that you had just named yourself.
Your middle name is Michael, another strong Hebrew name. Of course this is your dad’s name, but it is also my father’s middle name, and your Uncle Dave’s middle name. All of them are strong men of God whom I hope you will grow up to resemble in strength and character. And we just found out today that your brand new cousin, Josiah Michael, will also share this name – what a blessing!
Your dad and I want so many things for you, Eli. Like the Biblical Elijah, we hope that you will be a strong leader. We hope that you will be true to yourself and do what’s right, even when it’s not the popular thing to do. Most of all, we hope that you will walk closely with God all of your days.