Our first son started out with two names.
We walked into the packed gym, my belly swollen and my ankles puffy; he was due in a month or so, but I felt the ache in my body like I was going to give birth any moment.
This was a late birthday present: a Switchfoot show, a much needed date after 8 months of severe sickness and fatigue.
We prayed about what this show might speak to us, because Jon Foreman’s music has always spoken to the deep places of my heart, spurring me on toward writing my own music and finding what my own heart has wanted to say in the deep darkness of life.
A woman noticed how uncomfortable I was sitting on a flat bleacher, so she offered me a reserved, padded, plushy red and wonderful stadium seat on the front row beside the stage.
It seemed like hours before the guys came on to play. Then I felt the stirring, the deep pulsing that only music can speak into someone’s soul. In junior high, I sang one of Switchfoot’s songs for the talent show. Years later, I remember standing in my sister’s kitchen, doing dishes, eating a snack, listening to words sink deep and remind me that God is alive in life, God is alive in music’s beat.
During the set, Jon Foreman usually comes down from the stage and walks through the crowd while he sings.
That night he meandered off the stage and his gait was steady. He came right to me, right to my bursting belly and to my husband at my side. And he stood there for a minute as “Restless” began to play.
And whether he meant to or not, he was singing a blessing over us there, over my son, over his life. I asked God to speak to us that night as we drove to the venue. I asked Him to give us something to hold on to, something that could speak into the life of the little boy in my tummy.
And there, Jon singing over us, even for just a few seconds, blessings poured forth, and God spoke. He reminded me that my son is His, that from the beginning He is claimed, that His life is something worth living, something mysteriously, beautifully and specifically crafted by hands of grace.
All that in a few seconds of song, in a few seconds of eye contact and humanity shared between souls.
His name was Eliot Micheal.
But then, his name was Jon.
And Sunday I asked him if his name was Jon. I looked down at the bulge and held my hands to the skin and asked him. He kicked, giving the affirmation that only a crazy baby in a tiny womb can give.
A month or so later, Jon Eliot Micheal was born. He came out crying, of course, came out with words for the world. We brought the iPod and let the sound fill the room:
I can hear you breathing,
I can hear you leading
More than just a feeling
More than just a feeling
I can feel you reaching
Pushing through the ceiling
’til the final healing
I’m looking for you
I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
I’m looking for you…
And his cries stopped. And he listened to that song that I held to my womb for a month, the song that was part of his namesake, part of his journey, part of his life to come. So while the song belongs to Jon Foreman and the guys of Switchfoot, that song has claimed us as we have claimed it; and the name Jon has claimed my son as we have claimed the promises that seemed to pour through the walls of the tiny gym that evening.
For more posts from the Snapshots series, click here.