Our sweet little treasure named Gloria Haven is now two weeks old, so we thought it was about time we explained the significance of her name. It is full of meaning for us, and each of us has a part of the picture to fill in, so here we are in our distinct voices:
Gloria is Latin for “glory.” Gloria in excelsis Deo means “Glory in the highest to God” and was the message of the angel choir to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus. Learning that “the glory of God” is why God created the world and does all he does, is “the chief end of man” and the great summons to our joy, has been life-changing for us. “Glory” is not just a church filler word, but bursting with massive significance in the Bible for the meaning of everything, for our purpose in life, and for our truest happiness and joy. In addition, Megan’s neighbor growing up is named Gloria. That’s her story to share below.
Haven came to us as we pondered our hopes and dreams in this season of life. A haven is a place of peace and rest and security. After the tumultuous waters of having a very busy first three years of our marriage, followed by having twin infants, then toddlers, this has been a time of life for our family to gain stability and find a measure of shalom (peace) in our home to have us ready to face the challenges outside with work and school and church.
When I was five years old, my family moved to a new house. Along with the new house came a new neighbor — who soon became a friend, a family member, and a mentor. Older than my own mom, yet younger than my grandmothers, she let me fit into her life in a unique way.
Adventures at Gloria’s house meant building Legos, creating crafts, reading books, having tea parties, and eating tasty treats. Sometimes it just meant sitting at her kitchen island watching her iron or prepare dinner. I cannot remember a time that she acted like she was too busy to have me there with her or that she didn’t offer a listening ear.
I spent countless hours at her house, showing up unannounced and often staying until my mom called on the phone telling me to come home for dinner. Gloria has beautiful things in her house, a collector of antiques, beautiful glass jars, biscuit jars, and old furniture. She let me touch expensive things and taught me how to handle them and appreciate them — and even let us use her fancy little cups and dishes for our own tea parties.
My parents are the most loving, great parents I could ask for. Gloria did not fill in as my mom. My mom was there. What role did she play? She taught me the value of having other loving adults in your life that care about you, see you for who you are, offer a listening ear, and hold you accountable for your actions outside of your nuclear family. I cannot pretend that this did not shape where I am today. I have a passion to be this very adult for teens and pre-teens, increasing my love for teaching and helping me see the value on the hard days. I want to stop and see my kids more. Really look at them and who they are. I want to use my fine china for tea parties and treat the kids that call me mom, and the kids that don’t, that they are always more important than my to-do list.
I am so grateful to God that we moved in next to Gloria when I was five years old. Not everybody has a person like this in their life. I am thankful for the way she shaped my parenting, and we are naming our daughter Gloria as a reminder of all these things, as a thank you to God for adults who make time to know and see kids, and as a reminder to myself to stop and build Legos and have tea parties with expensive tea cups.
Here’s some pics from this past week — as Grandma Jane and Grandpa Rick visited, and as the boys still warm up to the awkwardness of holding a newborn…