When we were trying to decide on names Brendon had one requirement - that the name have meaning. I, on the other hand, had two more requirements. I wanted a name that A) wasn't popular (because let's face it, my spelling or not, "Ashley" is in the top five names for my age group) and that B) if a girl, ended in -leigh.
Okay so admittedly, only two of the three requirements were met, since "Lilly" (again different spelling) is a trendy name. Still, my name didn't bother me that much growing up - because of the spelling. It made me different. So I caved. I was hooked with the name Lilleigh. Because of the meaning.
The name Lilly means "innocence and purity. But that's not the meaning that got me. Her name comes from the Easter Lily and represents what God has been teaching me over this past year.
At my brother's funeral, the week of Easter 2010, I was struck by the beauty of the Easter Lily, as the Gospel suddenly took on a whole new meaning. Growing up a "church kid," the Gospel has always been about hope. Hope, hope, and more hope. Hope that someday we'll have eternal life. Hope that that life will be better than this one. It's all very abstract. And hard to grasp. Especially when you've never experienced the heartache of this world. But sitting there that day it made sense to me.
The Gospel is about more than just hope. It's about death as much as its about life. We have a God that gets the pain and suffering of this world and is grieved by it. Without this death aspect, the hope for new life doesn't make much sense.
As I sat in that pew, staring at the Lilies and piecing all of this together, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, knowing Austen truly has a new life with our Savior. And a month and a half later I was again amazed at God's faithfulness as I stared at those two pink lines. My heart was (and is) still broken, but He reminded me that He hadn't forgotten. Soon there would be another new life.
And so that's exactly what the name Lilleigh represents - "new life."
Austen had asked me repeatedly if he could be the God father of our first child. And while he can't do that, I know he'd be honored by our daughter's name. Lilleigh Austen. ...And I think the fact that she came during a football game is fitting. He'd be proud.