“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
I have received some questions about why we named our newest addition “Honor Grace,” and I feel a release to share that for two reasons.
First, I know there are many expecting mommies right now, and I hope that in sharing our “why” you can call on the Lord to give you peace and direction, to see His heart towards your baby, and to provide you fresh perspective towards the holy call of motherhood.
Second, I felt it was pertinent to share the meaning of her name in the hopes that it would encourage you to “live Kingdom” in the midst of a very volatile social climate concerning the pandemic, social distancing, racial justice, and more.
So read on, and also enjoy our newborn photos taken when Honor was a week old (taken by the amazing Camarie McBride)!
Why “Honor Grace”?
The short of it is that we felt God’s peace in landing on a name that captures so much fruit for us, and really for me.
In these almost 3 years of marriage, I have learned so much from Joshua. The number one lesson I have learned so far is the virtue of “honor.” My husband honors everyone around him so well. I first saw him do this with his parents. My husband is truly a model son, and I saw him go above and beyond for his parents while we were dating. My husband did these things, pointing back to Exodus 20:12 NIV — “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Indeed, this is “the first commandment with a promise.” — Ephesians 6:2.
He not only strives to honor his parents, but everyone around him. My husband really strives to refrain from speaking ill of anyone in leadership (whether it is someone at our church or in the broader body of Christ, our government leaders, or at his job), our family, friends, or even strangers. He really does treat people with value, even those who are different from him and even disrespect him.
In the season leading to Honor’s birth, the Lord was teaching both of us so much more about the virtue of honor. That season culminated with us following the Lord’s call to California. We laid down our lives, comfort, and familiarity to honor and obey the Lord and go out to the West Coast.
For me, these lessons began with my husband leading by example back in our dating days. I wanted to honor my husband in naming our little girl after his example.
When we prayed about this, we both had peace about naming our daughter Honor… in honor of the lessons God taught us about…honoring Him in honoring others.
As for her middle name, we knew we wanted our children’s names to have some kind of theme, since both Joshua and I both have a shared name theme with our own siblings. Thus, we wanted both of our daughters to share the same middle name — “Grace.”
The meaning of “Honor Grace” is very important from a Kingdom perspective.
What is the meaning of “Honor”?
The virtue of “honor” is seen throughout the Bible. For me, honor begins with Jesus. Jesus used the virtue of honor in making it clear that He is equal with God. There were Jewish leaders who began to persecute Jesus because He was “calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5: 18 NIV. Jesus answered their persecution with the following:
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” John 5: 22-23 NIV (emphasis added).
Jesus made it clear that we must honor Him. In the original language in which this verse was written, the definition for the word “honor” is “tīmáō,” which means “to prize,” that is to “fix a valuation upon,” and, by implication, “to revere.” Tīmáō is cited throughout the New Testament in reference to the commandment in Exodus 20:12 to honor our mother and father. The Hebrew word for “honor” in Exodus 20:12 is “kabad.” Kabad means “to be heavy, weighty, honorable.” I take this to mean that honor is a very weighty or heavy matter to the Lord.
We must prize Jesus, value Him, revere Him. It is not a light, flippant matter to follow Jesus. Jesus is our friend, but He is also our Lord. It is nothing to play with. It is a weighty matter to honor our God. It is also clear that it is a weighty matter to honor our mother and father (which makes sense, since it is the only commandment with a promise).
Not only is tīmáō used in New Testament references to the Exodus 20:12 commandment for our mother and father, but this specific term is also found in reference to a commandment concerning every person on earth. That’s right — every single person. The apostle Peter gives this commandment in 1 Peter 2:17 KJV — “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” Notice that this verse does not mention exceptions. It says “all men.” Also, notice that it does not say “honor all men who respect you.”
Peter was on the same page as Paul, of course. In Romans 12:10 NIV, Paul instructs us, “Honor one another above yourselves.” The term “honor” in this verse is the related Greek word “tīmḗ.” Tīmḗ means “value that is money paid,” “price,” or “valuables,” by analogy it means “esteem (especially of the highest degree) or the dignity itself.” It is the term that appears in John 4:44, where Jesus himself pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country. It is also the term that appears in 1 Corinthians 6:20, where we are commanded to glorify God with our bodies since we were bought with a price. We all have value since we were bought with a price on the Cross.
Thus, we named our daughter Honor because of the highest value that is placed on her by God. She is so precious to us. The call of God on her life is weighty. She is a prize to us and to God. Our daughter’s name also means that we give the highest degree of value, reverence, and weight not only to God but to others. We honor God, we honor our mother and father, and we honor everyone. This means we even honor those who have disrespected us or do not reciprocate honor to us.
This is a virtue that our generation really needs to embrace in this hour. As believers, we must rise up and live out the words of Peter and Paul and honor others above ourselves. We give reverence and place value on others’ lives, no matter our differences and no matter if they refuse to give us honor. I fear we are a generation that seeks to dishonor, rather than to honor. We eagerly look for ways to tear down and make a spectacle of leadership, friends, family, and complete strangers on and offline in complete dereliction of honor. How does this demonstrate Kingdom to the world? I am not saying that we cannot have disagreements, but there is a way to do that respectfully, without detracting from the value that person has. To use the words of a woman I admire in a lot of ways, “When they go low, we go high.” And, we stay high, because we are Christians.
I encourage you to examine your heart: do you truly honor those around you, on and offline?
What is the meaning of “Grace”?
As you can see by the name of this website, the revelation of God’s grace changed my life. This revelation so impacted me that both of our daughters share the same middle name of “Grace.”
The Greek word for grace is “charis,” which is defined as the merciful kindness by which God exerts his holy influence upon the heart and that influence is reflected in the life. Simply put, grace is twofold — it is kindness shown to us and it is a change agent in our lives.
The grace of God is evident throughout all of Scripture, but John 1:17 KJV states that “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Indeed, it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith.” Ephesians 2:8. It was by God’s great merciful kindness that we were saved by what Jesus Christ did on the Cross for us. It was freely given.
Yet, grace is not only shown to us but it empowers us to live for Him and do what He asks of us. Paul wrote that it is ” by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV (emphasis added). The grace of God empowered Paul to do what he was called to do, and that was to preach the Gospel. The grace of God empowers us to not only do what we were called to do, but to live a godly life overall as well.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians makes clear that grace helps us with our callings:
‘As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. That is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”‘ Ephesians 4:1-8 NIV (emphasis added).
Paul’s letter to Titus makes it clear that grace empowers us to live godly lives:
‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.’ Titus 2:11-14 NIV.
Thus, both Honor and Raegan’s middle name is Grace because it is by God’s grace that we get to have these girls. His loving kindness towards us in giving us these girls was totally undeserved and could not be earned by us. Not only that, but we must rely on His grace in raising these girls and teaching the girls that there is a grace on their lives to live for Him. The grace of God is especially meaningful regarding Raegan, as I spent several years as a single mother to her while attending law school. I was able to get through that season by the grace of God.
Our generation really needs a fresh revelation of grace in two main ways.
First, we need to extend what we’ve been given: merciful kindness. Too often we are ready to “cancel” someone without having all of the facts or all of the perspectives. We hear one side of a story and think we know the whole truth, forgetting that a testimony may seem true until someone is cross-examined (Proverbs 18:17). This lack of understanding allows us to leave hateful comments on social media on a matter we don’t have all the information on, to jump into an argument that has nothing to do with us, to rush get the “tea” (gossip) on a matter, to pass judgment and make character calls on people we do not do life with. We need to give merciful kindness. Like our Father did for us.
Second, we need to stay in our own lanes. While I think there is a somewhat solid understanding that grace is not a “get out of jail free” card that we can whip out when we want to sin (Romans 6:1-11), I’ve seen grace used as a vehicle to do whatever we want, rather than what God wants. People are not operating in the grace given to them for the tasks God actually calls them to do. Rather, we run after our own plans and goals and ask God to attach his grace to giftings we do not even possess. People will often ask me how I managed in law school, and I would respond it was truly the grace of God. He kept me because He called me. It was His assignment anyhow.
Have you leaned in to the grace God has for your life? Do you extend grace to others?
Honor + Grace
The grace of God has been my lifeline, and I have come to understand that the grace of God and the virtue of honor go hand in hand.
Bill Johnson once said, “Honor is that which communicates the grace of God so beautifully.” I wholeheartedly agree with this. We cannot properly reach people for the Kingdom of God without following the commandment in 1 Peter 2:17 to honor all men. We need to understand honor and grace to communicate salvation.
We must honor all men according to the great value and price God accorded to them as His image bearers. In communicating the honor due to each person, we are communicating the Father’s heart towards us: that He loves, values us, and sees us as worthy of His great sacrificial love. He bought us with a price. He made the perfect atonement for our sin by shedding His blood on the Cross, without requiring any kind of works from us. He simply did this by His grace.
So, when we freely treat people as the valuable individuals they are, without requiring them to get or keep that value, we are communicating that the grace of God is also freely given. The rest is up to that person — they have to exercise faith. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
We cannot talk about salvation without grace, and we cannot talk about grace without honor, that price God placed on our heads.
Honor and Grace are two values incredibly important to our family, and our daughter’s name conveys that. What has the Lord placed on your heart for you babies’ names?
A special thanks to Camarie McBride for these beautiful photos!