Monday, May 1, 2017

day no. 14,070 continued... it's official folks

As of 2:13 pm CST today, new baby VV has a name...

Callista Janelle Van Voorst

Callista means "most beautiful" or "lovely." It is not a generic beauty like the type that people aspire to selfishly obtain or possess, it is of the highest, most honorable, and unique kind that inspires a person to aspire to live in a way that rises to match its splendor. It is a beauty that inspires gratitude rather than greed. It compels the onlooker to be grateful for the privilege of partaking. It is a sunset, an ocean view, a waterfall, a grand canyon, or any other of the things which photographers attempt to capture. The joy of setting your eyes upon it is enough. It makes you feel safe and scared all at the same time. It connects you to the depths of who we are and disconnects you from the mundane in which we often swim. It is a beauty that calls one to rise within oneself, to be honorable in response to observing honor, to be noble in reaction to seeing nobility, to be grander because there exists in actuality grandeur. This is the essence of the name Callista and God has granted women the unique opportunity to be the muses of a fallen world. There is a cheap beauty that men clamor to click on and then there is a beauty that causes men to pause and consider their ways, a beauty that arrests their attentions and calls them to be more than that for which they have settled.

Callista, may you remind people that there is a God and in such a way that inspires people to godliness by grace through faith in Christ alone, who is the very image of the invisible God, the beauty, the grandeur, the majesty that rallies souls to drink deeply the draughts of divine reality.

Additionally, Callista is a main character in the novel, "Callista," by John Henry Newman portraying the religious and political culture of 3rd century Roman occupied North Africa. Callista is a discontented, agnostic idol maker. She is renowned as a sculptor and creator of objects of others' worship. She sighs from the deep, heavy silliness of this reality and wonders if any of it has any true substance. She is attracted to the few Christians she has come to know and sympathizes with their sincerity. Ultimately, she ends up assisting her Christian friends in fleeing the growing persecution of the area only to be arrested and accused as a Christian for her efforts. While enduring the tortures attempting to produce repentance of Christ and worship of the Roman deities, Callista finds herself in a predicament. She is not a Christian and has nothing to repent of in that regard, but she is not and refuses to be a worshiper of her culture's so-called gods, many of which were made by her very own hands. During this process, she recalls conversations with her Christian friends and in being commanded and coerced to repent of Christianity; she actually comes to a believing faith in Jesus Christ. Her frailty cannot endure the tortures of her captors however and she perishes at the hands of men whose whips have produced her faith. She dies a martyr for a faith still as soft a newborn, yet as resilient as a weather-beaten mountain. May you, my daughter, quickly see through the frivolity of our culture's "gods", the futility of worshiping the products of our own hands and the vanity of searching for meaning in ourselves or in our efforts. May you be given eyes to see at an early age that our Creator is the Christ and that He came to live, die and rise again to demonstrate His authority over all things, including our lives and our deaths. May you follow Him wholeheartedly, determinedly, perseveringly, and purely from a tender young age, always with a steadfast childlike wonder attended by an increasing maturity of understanding and worship.

Janelle means "Yahweh is gracious." Many will say it means, "God is gracious," which is true, but it refers to a particular God, not just generically to any being one might choose to call "god." It refers to the one true, Triune god, Yahweh. He is gracious. It not only states this as an emphatic fact of reality, but also, in a way, makes it clear that He ALONE is gracious. Grace is unforced and undeserved and only the one, true, uncreated God is in a position to give it as He alone is forced by no one. The god made by the hands of men owes its life to his creator. All that to say, the only God Who is, is gracious because He wants to be. The one, true, unforced, uncaused cause of all forces is the God who gave His one and only Son to save sinners because He wanted to. Janelle also happens to be the middle name of Paige's sister, Lauren, who is an exemplary woman of God who relies entirely on the mercy and grace of God provided in Jesus Christ alone and is in her own right, the kind of woman who inspires those around her to rise up and be more like Jesus.

Callista, you were not named casually or by mere cutesiness. It was with full intention and contemplation that your mom and I strived to find a name that would reflect a glimpse of what we believe with all our hearts, "our greatest joy is found in giving our entire lives to make much of Christ" Your name reinforces that reality. There is no greater aim than to know, love and obey Jesus by being known, loved and blessed by Him.

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