Throwback Thursday: Naming Riley, Valiant One


If you talk to my husband, he will tell you that about as soon as we saw those 2 pink lines on a stick, I had a whole list of baby names that I wanted to discuss with him. I say he is exaggerating quite a bit. I’ll let you decide who you believe :).

If you’ve had a child or if you are pregnant, you might agree that naming a child is an exciting, yet daunting task. The name that you give your child will identify them and they will carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

Some people pick names for their children based solely upon the meaning of it, and others don’t care about name meaning at all. I’d say we fall somewhere in the middle. We didn’t pick meaning first, or meaning over the sound of the name; but we did decide that meaning mattered to us. My name means “transparent” and many close friends describe me as very “vulnerable” and “open” with my life. Name meanings may not mean everything, but I think they do mean something.

We actually had a middle name (for a girl) picked out first. “Grace.” I personally thought it was the most beautiful middle name, and grace is the greatest mark of my own personal story. When I mentioned it to Jordan, he loved it too. So each girl’s name that we thought about, we tried with “Grace” as the middle name.

It was actually Jordan who picked the name “Riley.”

Riley means valiant. courageous.

The more I thought about the name, the more I loved it! I loved the way Riley Grace Maroon sounded, and even more, I loved the thought of what a life marked by courage and grace would be like.

So we chose that as her name, and have been praying that name over her ever since.

I’ve been thinking about Riley’s name a lot recently, with all that has been going on in the news around us.

It would be very easy to live in fear right now. Nowhere feels safe. If movie theaters, elementary schools, and marathons are no longer safe places to be, then I don’t know where safe is. Even my brother-in-law and his wife had their nice house in a “safe neighborhood” broken into and robbed this year (you can read that story here). We can’t even be sure that we are safe in our own homes.

When I think about these things laying in bed at night, I have to be careful not to let fear grip me.

I try to think about living life with courage. Boldness. Not driven by fear, but conviction.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

I pray that for Riley. I know the world is going to lie to her. It’s going to tell her that she needs to fear for her safety. Fear that others won’t like her. Fear that she isn’t enough. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of heartbreak. Fear of monotony. But I pray that she encounters God’s grace in such a way that she is ignited with boldness, regardless of how much this world tells her she needs to fear. I pray that showing God’s grace to the world around her is so important to her that it overcomes any fears she may have in life.

Earlier this week I read an awesome analogy about afflictions and fears that we face in the world. It went something like this:

If a billionaire is robbed of $1,000, it hurts that he was robbed but it does not hurt him in a significant way. On the other hand, if a man making minimum wage is robbed of $1,000 it hurts him significantly.

Likewise, for those who have a relationship with Jesus and therefore eternal life, the suffering and affliction in this world is not as significant. Yes, it hurts. Yes, we will stumble. Yes we may have our hearts broken or be tortured in agony. But one year or a few years of pain are pretty small compared to the billions of years of glory ahead.

On the other hand, if there were only 70 or so years of life total, one year or especially a few years of pain are quite significant and can affect you in the deepest of ways.

I pray that Riley has the courage to live like a billionaire.