Wednesday, March 14, 2012

what's in a name

phebe (chinese)
[ Phebe - in Chinese Characters ]

Phebe is a name we've loved for a long time. And I've always loved the way it is spelt in the Bible. Generally I've seen it spelt Pheobe, but I've always loved the Biblical spelling - Phebe. Like I said, we've loved the name for a long time, in fact, we loved it when we named our first daughter, Lilah Grace, but we tucked it away, in the case we might get to use it some time again.

Last year when I was wrestling with the decision to go back to China for another child I really felt that I needed a strong word from the Lord. I asked Him, if this was His plan for us, that He really needed to give me something big. Honestly, in my heart I think I asked for something big because I was scared and I didn't have the faith I needed. Adoption isn't an easy process, it's a process of faith, faith and more faith. It's a process that I could never imagine navigating without the Lord firmly by my side.

We had been discussing the matter more seriously around May 2011, exactly 3 years from the first time we started the paperchase to Lilah. Well, our Church Bible Conference is once a year, it's always the last long weekend in May. Around that time, I was still trying to figure out what was right for our family. I knew my husband was 100% decided, in fact, I think he was 100% decided on a second child the moment he held our Lilah Grace in his arms! Anyway, one of the speakers at that Bible Conference got up and read these two verses (from the Bible)...

Romans 16 (v1) I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: (v2) That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

Sure I loved the name Phebe, had looked it up in the Bible, but I don't remember ever reading the second verse, "...that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you". Obviously my mind was wandering to the idea of our second child being called Phebe! The speaker went on to minister about how Paul had written this letter to commend Phebe to the assembly, one of his phrases from the platform that day was so obviously for me. He said: "You receive her as receiving one of your family, as a sister..."

I remember bowing my head at that moment and thanking the Lord for giving me exactly what I needed to hear to bring our daughter home from China. Yes, she would be a sister and yes, we would be receiving her into our family, with open arms. We have an incredible God, He is so in control of everything. He gave me exactly what I asked Him for. He literally took my daughter's name and told me to receive her into our family.

We were also thrilled when we realized that the meaning of our new daughter's name, Phebe (which means bright/radiant), pretty much has the same meaning as the name they gave her at the SWI, YangQi means sunny/energy. According to her paperwork, she was named especially so she would have a bright future ahead of her and much health. They named her that, because her condition upon arriving to the SWI was poorly.

Thank God for answered prayer.

The names given to her by the Changde City Social Welfare Institute:
Jiang - this name comes from the ChangJiang river that runs through the city
Yang - the name given to all the girls in the SWI that were born in 2010
Qi - her given name that sets her apart

The meanings and reasons for her chosen names:
Phebe - (bright/radiant) - because we love the name
Jayne - (God is gracious) - because indeed He is, so very gracious
YangQi - (sunny/life) - because it's her name & her heritage


  1. What a beautiful post on naming your daughter and being led to adopt another girl! God is powerful and speaks very clearly... we just need to listen and obey.

    Adoption IS hard. But with it comes amazing blessings.

  2. I LOVE the story of how God spoke to you - love that He does that! I also love that Phebe means the same thing as her Chinese name! So cool :) Our Elijah's name means almost the exact same thing as his Russian name. It was a confirmation for us when we were faced with that decision the day after knowing about him and meeting him!

    I'm so excited for your family!

    xo ellie

  3. I love it, Jill, and I love what it means!!! And your Phebe Jayne looks like August/September can't come soon enough!!! She is adorable!! I'm thankful you know these little details about her!!

  4. Hi!

    I came by via the Changde group. Congratulations on your so- to be newest addition. I love your blog. I don't know if we will be going to the reunion this year but hopefully we will meet at one of the reunions they have. My youngest daughter will be 12 next month is from Changde and I have a 15 year old from another province.

    Good luck.

  5. What a beautiful account of the events leading up to your daughter's name.

  6.! I love this post, its awe inspiring!

  7. Oh Jill, this is a remarkable story. Now I love the name you chose for your daughter ever more ...

  8. Love this! God is so good to speak to us by His Spirit through His word and have others confirm it. It is also so humbling to see His hand so directly involved in our lives. I had a similar experience with both Liliah and now, Miss M. The desire was always there for #2, but very real circumstances didn't look favorable (which do they ever especially, when God has the plan) and I remember asking the Lord, how could this be or how will this work this You or just what I want? The scripture "For WITH GOD nothing is impossible." I had to go look it up to see where it was. Do you know it is in the chapter in Luke where Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. I was so amazed as what was spoken to my heart was just as these women received their children through a Divine plan, this WAS HIS plan for me as well!

  9. Now that is one of the more powerful and obvious signs from God I've read! I can't wait for you to meet sweet Phebe (and someday I'd love to see her reaction to learning just why and how you chose such a special name for her!).