Her name means Gatekeeper, but we didn’t choose it on our own. Let me tell you a story. We were walking through bankruptcy, a failed start to a business, and living paycheck to paycheck with 3 kids under age 5. But that didn’t stop the dream I had. I was holding a small baby who had long eyelashes with the name Porter (a name I had never heard). I awoke from my dream and called Wade. He laughed and said that would be insane but loved the name. Later that day a visit to the drug store and one test later, it was confirmed. Porter wasn’t just a dream, she was in my belly. A dream brought forth during such a difficult time in our lives. A dream we never planned on having.
God gave me her name so that when we prayed, we knew her like He did.
The first ultrasound would come with lots of tears and concern. Months in, several advanced scans and tests would assure us that because of the significant amount of fluid on her spine, she would likely have Down Syndrome and birth defects. We called the church to pray but finally submitted to whatever plan God had for us. If He had chosen us to be special needs parents (ironic now), then we would rely on the strength He has promised along the way. A few scans later, the fluid left and we knew God was working.
Your birth was somewhat of a fight.
A 2-vessel umbilical cord wrapped tightly around your neck, kidney issues, and low oxygen caused you to be somewhat blue when you were born. But you overcame them all. Later in life, you would overcome life changes, lots of moving, meningitis, encephalitis, arthritis, and academic setbacks. (read a story of healing here).
But you fought through them all.
I look over your NINE years of life and I realize how every challenge has made you stronger. But not just you. Your life has made me stronger. My faith is stronger. My desire to live and be my best self is stronger. You make me what to be the best mother I can be.
I reflected this morning on what it means to be a Gatekeeper. When you were born, God gave me a vision of you following all of your sisters and said “You will lead from behind.” I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but now I see it in your life. You don’t have to be seen to be the leader that you are. Words aren’t loud or significant. It’s the Holy Spirit that lives and dwells in you that causes you to pour that feeling of peace and perseverance into the hearts of others around you. It’s also the Gatekeeper.
The Gatekeeper was one of the most important jobs in the city.
I don’t know if it was a glamorous job or one that was seen by many. However, to SEE was the task of the Gatekeeper. To see the enemy and alert the city of when/ if danger was coming. The Gatekeeper was the protector of the city and all who dwelled within the gates. This is another reason why I find your middle name “Rae” so significant. Rae means female sheep. A middle name that your daddy chose for you the moment we found out you were a girl. Also, the name that your mommy googled to make sure she liked the meaning. We laughed when “female sheep” popped up on my phone while standing in the parking lot of the ultrasound tech.
God is our Gatekeeper and we are His sheep. He sent his loving Shepherd to guide us and show us how to live here on earth.
Jesus led from behind. The first shall become last and the last shall become first. It’s how you live your life, Porter Rae. Born in difficulty and imagined by God when we would have never dreamt of having more children. You came and blessed us beyond measure. You were a gift we never asked for. A gift is freely given. Chosen. And as I write this letter to you, my child, I realize that God is also writing a letter to me. To all of us.