My friend Sena and I were lost in her son's bedroom closet. Sorting through toddler clothes. Catching up. Talking like wild.
We were both taking a Growing Kids God's Way class, and we were anxious to share ideas about creating a family identity. Something for our kids to be proud of. Something that shows what it means to be born-into-our-clans kids.
"I'd like to have a catchy name. Just for us. We could have fun with it, but it would express what's important to our family, too," she said.
"What's important to your family?" I asked, though I already knew.
"Praise," she said. "I want the kids to learn to praise the Lord always." She thought for a moment while pressing a stack of too-small shorts into a plastic box. "Hallelujah," she said. "The Hallelujah Hagedorns."
Sounded good to me.
"What about you?" she asked.
I'd been teaching the boys for years, using the term boys of excellence. Not in a prideful way. But in a heart's-desire-to-be-excellent for the Lord way. Excellent in loving him. Excellent in serving him. Learning about Him. Surrendering to Him. Seeking Him. Sharing Him. And always, always, as we all fall short of His glory, excellent in receiving His grace.
"Excellent Eliasen's," I said.
It's been a couple of years, and we're still using the name, quietly in our home. It's not work-based to earn His favor. Jesus' grace-gift took care of that.
And it's not a boast of our own goodness (There is no one righteous, not even one.. Romans 3:10)
But it is an excellence of gladness for His blood and His activity in our lives (For it is by grace that 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. Romans 2:9).
It's a hope, a prayer, of what my sons will become.
It's a confidence in His work in their lives (The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8).
It's a celebration of Him.
Now in that we can rejoice.