[Update: I should add, we’re giving it a few days to get to know her before settling on a nickname]
Berries — with great excitement, we announce the birth of our newborn daughter:
Josephine Myrtle Peace
The facts —
She was born this March 2022, weighing in at 3.075kg (6lbs 12.5oz), after an extremely typical-for-us day-long labour. Despite the loooooooong duration, things went exceedingly well, and Mama and baby are right as rain — as is the rest of the crew.
The name —
Her first name comes from a great great grandmother on my [Papa’s] side. We actually know nothing about this woman, except a few dates and places, and it’s our loss for not knowing. Yet even that is better than what we have for most ancestors. If you’ve ever done your family tree, you’ll know every branch eventually leads to a dead end — direct ancestors who don’t even have names for those of us still living. In a very small sense, this is our way to honour all those unknown image bearers. Of course, we also chose the name because we like it. And the meaning makes it apt for a 9th child — ‘The Lord brings increase’.
Her second name is from someone my wife knew very well — her grandmother, Alma Myrtle [Surname]. Alma was the grandparent my wife knew best. She was a survivor of the Great Depression who had a wonderful sense of humour and a fierce drive to care for creation. Myrtle of course refers to the tree, which is referenced throughout the Bible, including in one of the most beautiful and hopeful passages of all, in chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah:
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.
— Isaiah 55:12-13
And to cap it off, we’ve chosen Peace as her virtue name. We live in a world literally at war. But as Christians, we believe this present darkness will not last. It cannot. For God is bringing a kingdom of peace. And not just any peace, but the deepest shalom that sees all things made right. (Read the rest of Isaiah 55 for the full story.) Our prayer for our daughter is that she will be, in her own smaller way, that sort of peacemaker in this broken world.