Your name means peace and a father's joy. We desire that peace would reign in your life. And you are a joy to us and we pray that you will carry a joy inside you that burns bright. You have a great heritage in your earthly family and from your heavenly father. May you know that you are loved and so very special.
The scripture we have chosen for you is:
For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. - Zechariah 8:12
We chose this verse because it represents the blessing of God and His promise to bring the people of Israel peace. The meaning to you, Irene, is that you, as a grafted-in member of the people, can claim these things as yours before God. We believe that as you grow in God, you will receive this blessing of peace, bear much fruit in your life, produce great things from your labors and be like the dew that cools and nourishes everything it touches.
Your namesake and heritage:
My great-grandmother's (known to me as Granny) name was Jesse Irene Baldwin Birch. However, Irene is the name my Granny went by. (She didn't like Jesse very much from what I understand.) She was an incredible lady. There was always a smile on her face. Even when she was not trying to smile, it was like she was about to. I remember visiting her home in Burlington each year between my dad's parents home (known to me as G-ma and G-dad) and then my mom's mom. I can still see her house in my mind's eye and can even pick it out when we drive through Burlington today. I remember pulling into the driveway around the back of her home. It just smelled wonderful to me. I don't really know how to describe this smell except that when we bought our home in Lindley Park it had the same smell and brought back all kinds of memories. Something about an older brick home. I remember for many years that she always had a huge spread of food laid out to greet us. We would stay for several hours. I used to climb into her lap. It is funny because Olivia does that very same thing now with my dad and her Nana. I see her lanky little body on their laps and know that she is pretty much too big to be in their laps now. But that was surely me when I was a kid and I loved to sit in my Granny's lap. And she was so gracious to let me sit with her.
Okay, so let me tell you about my Granny. She worked in the Burlington Mills. She and my great-grandfather ran off to be married when she was 14. They went to Caswell County and she had to lie about her age to be married. Then they continued to work in the mill. She was a hard worker. My great-grandfather died in his late 40s. They were close friends with a couple, his name was Sonny. Sonny's wife died early also. For a while Sonny and my Granny dated. The story goes that he was courting two women. He was a bit of a ladies' man. He would eat dinner with my Granny on a certain night of the week and this other lady on another night. So one night Granny changed their night to be the other lady's night. Sonny came to dinner. They then married. Granny also outlived Sonny. My memory does not include my great-grandfather or Sonny. I only remember Granny. She was very active in service in the community and in her church. She was well-loved by her neighbors and friends. She went to Israel. I remember her showing me pictures and telling me about this trip. It was then that I knew that I wanted to go to Israel someday. I still have that desire. She walked where Jesus walked. And not only that, but I know that the Bible was so very real to her. She lived it. She had a peace and a smile and an amazing graciousness about her. I always felt loved and welcome. When she had to leave her house and move to the nursing home, she took it gracefully. She stayed active and involved as much as she could.
She died a short time after I found out that I was pregnant with Olivia. I did not get to tell her. I planned a trip home (we were living in Colorado at the time) but she passed away the weekend before I came home. She died pretty peacefully without much medical intervention. I know that must have meant that she was at peace with dying and going to heaven. I can't wait for her to see my children someday and see the heritage that has come from her life. My Aunt Kelly passed on her bible to Olivia. I have it wrapped up to pass on to her one day. It is well loved and written in. It was amazingly real and precious to her. I can feel that when I hold it. It was the most amazing gift to be left with.
She had two sons. The younger one is my grandfather. He is also an amazing man. He serves so wholeheartedly. He is very generous. He smiles just like his mom. He makes life fun. He is young at heart. From him comes my father (his second of four children) who is all of these things. My dad is my inspiration in so many things. It is because of him that I know so much about the Lord and can live this life well. He has the same look and smile that my Granny had. At times I see in him my Granny, just in the way he holds himself and so much in his peace and joy of life. And the heritage continues. He serves so very faithfully. He is a mentor to many just as my grandfather is and my Granny was.
I am so thankful for this heritage. I pray that I am faithful to live it out and to pass it on to my children. As a gesture of love and respect for this family that God has given me, I chose to name my 5th child Irene.