With our 2nd, Lukas, I simply asked God for a name and got a wild vision and a name.
So with baby #3, we figured we'd ask God and get a name. And we did.
However, this time He brought us face to face with our sin and tested our faith like never before. Here's what went down...
Months before conception, Whitney asked God why she has a strong desire to have a baby girl. She sensed God saying, "I made you and I put that desire there."
Then, she asked if God would name the child, and He said yes.
Scarlet popped into mind, she'd never considered it. When she looked up the meaning and saw "fine cloth" she got chills--or years she's had a vision of God wrapping her in fine cloth.
Could we really know we'd have a girl named Scarlet before we had conceived? This was hard to believe because we badly wanted a girl and feared being disappointed.
We started to see the name Scarlet everywhere, over 40 times in 6 months, here are a few examples:
August 31, 2016
I was on a business trip in San Francisco, and Whitney called to tell me about a sense she had that we were going to have a baby girl named Scarlet. I was staying in the Hotel Scarlet.
October 7, 2016
I was at a meeting in Atlanta and realized I was in the Scarlet Oak Room.
At our Church, mid-sermon I sensed Whitney was upset so I prayed, “God please comfort my wife and speak to her right now.”
Just then the pastor said the word “scarlet” three times in a row. Whitney later explained that she was feeling bummed, but when she heard the pastor say Scarlet she was reminded of God’s immense love for her and the vision of being wrapped in fine cloth.
Whitney was praying in bed and asking God for comfort when I song started to play, with the lyrics:
Though our sins are scarlet
You have made us white as snow
I had a pastor friend say to me, unprompted, "I have news for you...you and Whitney are going to have a girl." We hadn't even told anyone we were pregnant yet.
We asked a friend to pray about the baby and name, and she became so convinced this was from the Lord that she went out and bought us red girls baby clothes!
Even our closest counsel was in agreement with us, we'd have a girl named Scarlet.
A correction from God
With sooo many Scarlet's popping up, Whitney and I asked, "are we being hypersensitive to this name?" But wondered why this didn't happen with the first two when we got their names in advance?
I prayed for more clarity on the baby gender and name and felt God saying:
God's name is above all names, above ours, above Scarlet. Remember, I am God =)
Whitney prayed and asked God “What if I’m disappointed? What if we don’t have a girl?" and heard God whisper:
My love is never disappointing.
The big reveal
We finally got THE email with the test results that included all kinds of health indicators, including the gender. Would we have our little Scarlet??? We expected that to be the case.
Drumroll. We opened the email...and. it. said. BOY
We were stunned.
Disappointment and confusion followed, there were tears.
Visions of a mother-daughter relationship, of perhaps a softer more gentler addition to the brood, all fell away...
The very next day Whitney had a health scare involving blood loss. Everything turned out fine but going through it made her realize that, above all, she just wanted a healthy baby.
Slowly her attitude changed, she even felt guilty about having lamented over the baby God had given us instead of celebrating, and at once she became more thankful and excited.
Getting to Finley
Even with improved attitudes, Whitney and I didn't feel like praying for a new name. Months went by and we'd ask each other, "Have you prayed about the baby name?" We hadn't.
In the fall I started to pray for the baby again. I prayed for hours one day and got a strong sense that this baby would be:
- a gift to his mother
- very strong
- able to absorb scripture quickly
- tall and holding a large sword
Then we had a confluence of events that, in short order, confirmed a name for us:
First, we realized Whitney's grandfather's name, Finley, means "White Warrior"
Then, we saw that the verse we had drawn on our kitchen blackboard, Isaiah 1:18, included both the word "scarlet" and "white" in bold.
We began to feel a connection to Whitney's maternal grandfather Finley (and great grandfather too, also named Finley). His nickname was "Whit," a reference to his surname, Whitfield, and the same nickname Whitney's closest friends call her.
We requested 12/27 for the c-section, but it wasn't available. Instead, the hospital confirmed December 29th, which we later learned was Whitney's grandfathers birthdate.
Discovering this gave us goosebumps!
And exactly 105 years after his great grandfather, Finley Kennedy Whitfield, one Finley Everett Derfler was born as a blanket of snow fell outside.
Focus on Redemption
A simple petition to God for a name became a journey of doubts and confusion. Old ways of thinking about our family deconstructed and rebuilt. God whispered and guided us gently all the while.
We had to confront the verses that say:
- God's ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9),
- He knows how to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11), and,
- nothing, not even our children, must get ahead of God in our life (Luke 14:26), in new ways.
If we're honest, going through this process wasn't fun. We still want a girl but trust God for the outcome.
As we worked through our "stuff," this season taught us to constantly look to God, trust him, and celebrate what he gives us.
Speaking of having a girl or another baby at all, we'll end with this "Praise Report."
After Lukas was born, we were told Whitney shouldn't give birth again. Our doctor later refuted that, but doubts lingered about her reproductive health.
So, going into this labor and delivery much of our prayer centered around her health and safety.
We count it as praise, then, that the doctor's report this time is that Whitney looks great and can "have 5 more kids if she wants!"
So hey, who knows if we'll have a fourth child or not?
And we will truly, genuinely, be thankful for any outcome.