My dear Aria Lynn, I want to share with you how your name was chosen and what your daddy and I are praying over you daily whenever we say your sweet name. Many people hear your name and simply think we chose it because 1- it’s pretty and 2- I used to sing. However, there is so much more to your name. Let me start at the beginning.

I love to sing and for a good portion of my life, it’s what I was known for. A huge part of my identity. Both leading worship in church and singing-singing (real singing, as you’ll hear me say often). When I started school at Nazareth for Music Therapy, I was horribly intimidated by all the kids, my fellow schoolmates, who had been singing, real singing, their whole lives. I was merely a “church singer” who didn’t know the difference between a hymn and an art song (someday I’ll tell you that story). Regardless, by the end of my four years at Nazareth, I had grown to love real singing (and I’m told I was decent at it too).

Through my encounters with recitals and operas I had come to learn what an “aria” is. It is a solo piece, usually performed by voice and typically from an opera. It was the moment when a character had the opportunity to step forward, all eyes on them, and show off their beautiful voice. However, the word “aria” itself carries a much deeper meaning, the true reason you’re named “Aria”.

The solo melody came to be called “aria” because it means “air” in Italian. As in the air or countenance of a person. The way a person carries themselves. The grace with which they are recognized and known. We desire for you to be a person of grace. That when your presence enters a room, you bring an air of grace with you. That you are known for having a countenance that resembles Christ’s. That this grace and countenance would be such a deeply rooted part of you, no one would have reason to question your integrity. That grace would simply “leak” from your being as you go about your day.

As if that isn’t strong enough, when I looked up the meaning of Aria as a name, I found that it isn’t only rooted in Italian. Aria is also a Hebrew word meaning “lioness”. Such a strong meaning. Not only do we want you to resemble and exude the grace of God in every situation. We want you to carry the strength of knowing He is always with you, dwells in You, and if He is for you, you have nothing to fear. You carry the strength and boldness of a lioness.

Your middle name is “Lynn” which is also your aunt’s middle name. Your Aunt Liv, my sister, is my best friend and who I want to be like “when I grow up”. She has such a strong sense of right and wrong and is wise beyond her years. The boldness and strength she has exhibited over the years is admirable and, quite honestly, unbelievable, unless you were there to witness it. I would not mind one bit if you grew to be a lady just liked your Aunt.

Beyond being named after Aunt Liv, the name “Lynn” means “waterfall”. Which again, to me, is the perfect combination of grace and strength. Very few pieces of nature have the calming, peaceful “countenance” of a waterfall. And yet, it is one of the most forceful pieces of nature too. So much power can come from one single waterfall. To sit and watch or listen to a waterfall can bring such peace. But come in direct contact with the waterfall, and you will experience its undeniable strength.

My sweet girl, you’re already living up to your name. I cannot tell you how many people who have held you have experienced that instant peace and grace you exude. The way that you make any one breathe deeper who takes a moment to pause with you in their arms. As one of my friends put it, you’re our pacifier. Your sweet spirit is already so evident.

But don’t be fooled, the strength that lies within you has also already made itself evident. If you are mad, the force behind your cry is intense. The look in your eye is fierce. The strength with which you already control yourself has even amazed your doctor. You are a strong girl. And so deeply desire the control (a trait I’m sure I had something to do with and will be helping you learn to surrender over the coming years). You amazed us. You already embody, so beautifully, the traits we’ve been praying over you since Day One.

So, every time you hear us call you “Aria Lynn”, I pray you don’t simply hear a pretty name (though it is quite lovely). But instead, that you realize we are intentionally speaking grace and strength over you. That we are praying that God’s grace be so real to you from a young age that you are able to extend that same grace from a young age. And that His presence be so strong in your daily life, that fear has no place, no room.

My sweet Aria Lynn, you are a young lady of grace and strength. And we know it will only continue to multiply as you grow. And we pray that as parents, we help you grow and cultivate these traits daily.