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why we chose the name Peter William

July 16, 2011

When choosing the name for our second child, we both knew that if God was to give us a second son, we wanted to name him after both of our fathers.

Peter, which means Rock, is Jen’s father’s name.

William, which means Strong-willed Warrior, is Joe’s father’s name.

It was extremely meaningful for us to name our son after both of our fathers during this particularly difficult season of their lives.  Jen’s father is currently fighting prostate cancer and Joe’s father has been battling an aggressive case of Alzheimer’s Disease for the past six years.

It has become a tradition in our family for Joe to write a poem for our children explaining how we chose their name.  My husband wrote a beautiful poem for our Samuel Jonathan when he was born, and has once again put our hearts to pen in writing one for our Peter William…

The saying goes, “My, how things change!”
So in our case, it’s not too strange
That two years have brought shifts indeed
As time has run on swiftest steed
And changed a woman’s barren tears
That flowed through the infertile years
From weeping to parental joy:
Into a laughing toddler boy
an infant son transformed. And more,
from basement to a home adored
for size and shape and rays of sun
that stream through windows on such fun
as Sam can have with Mom and Dad.
And into hearts so full and glad
A question comes, no trace of fret,
“Can it get still better yet?”

But not all change is good, we find,
As cancer hits us from behind,
A fright’ning, fearsome stumbling block
that beats upon the family rock,
upon the one whose always there
to guard and keep those in his care,
The one who always has a plan,
A safe and strong and godly man.
But with humor and with grace,
Papa shows us how to face
The broken world in which we live,
And receive what God may give
With patient joy and gratitude:
Our Father’s wise, and He is good.

More sorrow yet, and deeper still
As cruel disease stalks Daddy Bill,
Assaulting mind with slowest death
Whose sons and wife with tearful breath
have prayed a thousand earnest prayers.
A tired smile is all he wears
As words flow jumbled from his lips
Instead of sly, quick-witted quips
That used to grace his clever tongue
When mind and heart were both still young,
Back when he’d rise before his brood
And lovingly prepare them food,
And gently rouse them with a rub,
“Time to wake up. It’s morning, bub.”
And without words, he seemed to say,
“Life’s worth living. Let’s face the day.”
And now the arms that held a mitt
And taught me how to throw and hit
Lie shaking, trembling and frail,
But held by Arms that cannot fail,
Arms that from the dust formed man
And guide us by a perfect plan,
Until to dust returning, we
Await the Hope we don’t yet see,
The Hope that bruised and dying bled,
The Hope that God raised from the dead.

And into all this change there comes
A child, with perfect hands and thumbs
And feet and cheeks and ears and toes,
With reddish skin and snuggly nose.
Into the sorrow and the joy
We welcome a new baby boy.
And once again, to us it falls
To name him with a name that calls
To mind the God who bears us up,
Who sent his Son to drink the cup
Of bitter wine on our behalf,
And comforts us with rod and staff
Whene’er we walk through valleys grim
And dark with death. We lean on Him
When earth gives way, and waters foam,
When shadow falls on hearth and home,
When nations rage and kingdoms mock,
Then we stand on God, the Rock.
And in our Father’s Will we rest
And from his hand receive the best.
To capture this, what name to choose?
Of change, and life that we must lose
If we’re to gain a better one
Whene’er the Land Beyond the Sun
Descends to earth with festal shout
And Death is finally cast out.
And of course, our fathers too,
Who’ve given us a hope that’s true,
A hope that laughs at times to come,
That knows where joy and mirth is from,
A hope that works in silent womb,
A hope that lives beyond the tomb.

So, on this Rock, we place your name,
Renouncing every earthly claim,
And to this Will, entrust your care,
Our God will guard no matter where.
Your name is Peter, and William too.
Your Rock will evermore keep you.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2011 4:35 pm

    Oh, this left me misty eyed (and I’ve only read your blog!), praise the Lord for His sweet faithfulness!

  2. thegereckes permalink
    July 16, 2011 4:35 pm

    that’s beautiful

  3. July 16, 2011 4:49 pm

    That is beautiful Joe. I rejoice for this grace of God to you guys! I can’t wait to meet him! I’m so excited for you guys!

  4. July 16, 2011 6:28 pm


    Are you going to call him Peter, or will he have a nickname?

  5. July 16, 2011 10:04 pm

    love this!

  6. Becky permalink
    July 17, 2011 9:30 am

    What a beautiful poem. You know how to make a pregnant woman cry. I am so thankful for how God has blessed you with your two sons.

  7. Chris K permalink
    July 17, 2011 9:34 am

    I am so happy for your family and so rejoicing with you in the goodness of our loving Father. Joe, your poem was so beautiful. Your son will treasure this for all the days of his life. However it did make me cry because your description of your father mirrors my own father. He also has Alzheimer’s Disease.

  8. Gigi permalink
    July 17, 2011 6:15 pm

    Once again I read what you write through tears of joy and sadness. I am so proud of the man you have become. I only wish your father could see and understand all that he started with you. I love you all.

  9. July 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    I love the symbolism and the way you honor your dads. That’s awesome. Joe should go pro writing christening poetry…wanna write some poems for our kids? 😉

  10. teresa permalink
    July 25, 2011 7:52 pm

    I loved the verse or poem you wrote I am so happy for all of you. I love the name. My pryaers are with all of you. Love T

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