Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Zoe means "abundant life." 7 years before my youngest child, Zoe, was born, I was pregnant with her older brother Isaac. We were told that he would be a girl. We had named that unborn baby Zoe, believing God was calling us into a season of abundant life. Instead, that baby was a boy, and we named him Isaac. In my surprise I felt a quiet whisper in my spirit: "Abundant life is coming, but it's not what comes next."
I was pregnant with Zoe as my son Joel was dying. We had known her name for seven years. We believed that Joel would live despite his terminal brain cancer, and each little kick in my belly reminded me that "abundant life was coming." I expected Joel to be healed and I suspected Zoe's birth would mark a beautiful miracle that began a season of abundant life for us.
Joel died six weeks before Zoe was born. It was hard to give her the name Zoe. It was hard to believe there would be any "life" worth declaring in our family.
Zoe was the joy that broke through our sorrow. Zoe woke us back up, reminding us to keep loving and cherishing each other. When we were tempted to despair about the delight we lost when Joel died, we cuddled infant Zoe close, and marveled at every tiny, perfect feature.
Zoe's birth marked the beginning of a season of abudant life for our family. It is not the easy life that comes when God answers every prayer and you feel blessed beyond measure. Her birth heralded the abundant life that comes despite hard circumstances, burnt ground, and bitter disappointment. It is abundant life because it springs up when everything else seems dead.
Our family is full of joy, love and deep compassion. We are living an abundant life, and that is its own kind of miracle. Zoe is the perfect picture of this season because she is passion personified, wild, free, sweet and insistent.
Yesterday, she began preschool. It is hard to believe that she has been with us for four years, and that Joel has been gone for four years. I am so entirely enamored with her. I can not wait to see her put her own little Zoe shaped mark on the world. I believe she will go right on waking people up, reminding them of the goodness of God and inviting them into abundant life.