Noah-A Hebrew name meaning “comfort” and “rest”
(written by your Dad)
There are certain moments in your life that are burned into your memory so severely, they will never be forgotten. The day I found out you were coming was one of those moments. I can still feel the excitement, gratitude and even relief of that moment. Your mom and I had lost a baby just a few months earlier, and the pain was still fresh. We were left in this uncertain state, not knowing how (or if) God would grow our family. The grief was different for each of us, but we both experienced darkness and gloom, like a rain storm that just won’t stop. And as we sat there at that bar of our favorite restaurant, and your mom told me you were coming, it was like the clouds broke for a minute, and rains let up. The sun after a long and gloomy storm is so much sweeter. But it wasn’t until I saw your face, and finally heard your voice, that the rainbow filled the sky. I can’t say I’m grateful for the storm, but without it I wouldn’t have the rainbow; my precious Noah. Noah: comfort and rest.
There was a time in history when the rains fell everywhere for 40 days. When I say “everywhere”, I mean everywhere: the whole planet. And this wasn’t just rain, this was a geyser from above. The book of Genesis says that “the floodgates of heaven were opened.” Can you imagine the hopelessness of those days? I feel heavy hearted after a couple days of straight rain, and I live in the modern world with a rain proof parka and asphalt shingles. In the ancient world even a week of this kind of rain would be a death sentence. But when all seems lost, when the clouds are the darkest, that’s when the Lord seems to shine the brightest. He always provides a way out. Noah was that way out. He was a “righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” As the rivers turned to lakes, the lakes into seas, and the seas covered the entire earth, Noah provided comfort and rest for those who would receive it.
So my dear Noah, when the storms come, as they most certainly will, and the waves crash on you and those around you, may you offer comfort and rest. As the rains fall, may you open the door of your ark and provide shelter for weary souls.
When the world around falls apart, when the wrong decisions become the cultural norm and it seems no one is left who trusts in the Lord, may you be one who walks with Him. Trust Him with every fiber of your life and not only will He transform you into someone who stands out amongst the people of your time, but He will use you to be the vehicle for which His mercy will be displayed.
John: A Hebrew name meaning “God is gracious”
(written by your Mama)
As you know from your dad’s words, you are a gracious, perfect gift to our family. When I have you all to myself- in the quiet nights in our rocking chair- I always hold you longer than necessary, listening to your sweet breaths and praising God that He gave you to us.
I promise to pray over you and speak into who you will become each day, in all the quiet little moments we share and in the big ones as well. Your middle name, and the men of my family it represents, is one I hope you will be proud to carry.
You are named after my dad’s dad, John Carlisle Gann Jr. and my brother, Jonathan Carlisle Gann. Though your Great-Grandpa Gann passed away in 2000, your Uncle Jonathan (or “Unc” as your brothers call him) has a spirit much like his.
Like the John and Jonathan before you, may you be a joy-bringer, gift-giver, hard worker and a great friend to others. I hope, like them, that you grow into a man that will readily dress as Santa or a super hero to delight the children in your life, that your laughter will fill a room, and that you will spend hours playing and providing opportunities for others to do the same (both your namesakes spent a lot of their free time playing in and organizing sports leagues). May you be a builder like them: of materials, of teams, of family, and of a world where people love one another.
Right now the state of our country and the treatment of people feels uncertain and scary. It’s a daily reminder that you will face many hard days and that those around you will face even harder ones. Your Great-Grandpa Gann had to go to war, serving on an Aircraft Carrier in World War II. I know those moments of war lived with him all his days but I am grateful that I knew him as a man filled with love and joy. Noah John, I pray you rest in your Heavenly Father’s great love so that come what may, your joy will be full and you will spread that to the weary world around you.
If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
We love you, sweet Noah. We are forever grateful for the gift of you.
Your Dad and Mom