Read time: 10 minutes
Today I..thought I’d share a little bit behind the name of my daughter. Sometimes I get weird looks when people ask me her name..so I thought a little explanation might suffice.
If you look up Ave Maria in the dictionary…
it literally means a prayer to Mary. Some of you may know the “Hail Mary” Prayer…well..Ave Maria is that prayer, but in Latin. It actually sounds a lot cooler in Latin…
So, the back story…
In no means do I consider myself a hardcore Catholic or anything just because I named my daughter after Mother Mary. But, I do love my faith a lot..don’t get me wrong.
In 2007, I went on this mission trip with an organization called the “Militia Immaculata” (translates to Mary’s Army). Before this trip, I wasn’t all crazy about Mary. I actually was born and raised Catholic but found myself confused a lot of the time while I was at church as to what was going on. My mom, thank goodness for her gracious heart to make us go every Sunday, didn’t know how to explain a lot of things either. So I just kind of went through the motions. Then, after college when I decided, pretty much on a whim, to go on this mission trip with this organization I knew nothing about, I just put all my trust in God to let Him lead me. My main goal was to just go help people and make a difference in other peoples’ lives. We hosted retreats for youth and young adults all across the country. We started in California and then started driving south. We hit New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Hawaii..then started heading north to Illinois, flew to Canada and stayed for a month in Toronto, and then back south west towards Oregon and Washington. It was the most amazing experience of my life. We stayed with host families and I met the MOST incredible mothers I have ever known. (This probably was the start of me wanting to become a stay-at-home mom.) When my teammates and I couldn’t sleep, we would sneak into the kitchens of our host families’ houses and somehow end up having long conversations with the moms. They would tell us funny stories about their kids, talk about challenges they’ve experienced in their life, share about how God helped them overcome a lot of trials and tribulations, and basically how their relationship with Him continued to motivate them to maintain a strong, solid faith in their households. It wasn’t until then that I realized how important the role of a mother is.
So, basically, in meeting a lot of the moms and/or motherly figures throughout my journey was how I became to better understand Jesus’ mother, Mary. They say..a mother knows her son best..which is why Catholics ask her to pray for them (Hence the Hail Mary prayer) to bring them closer to Him. Anyway, it all started to make sense to me and I became accustomed to praying that prayer whenever I felt weak or was led astray.
So, on to the more recent connection…
After I married my husband in 2010, we got pregnant not too long after. I remember when I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time in the sonogram I went directly to church because I didn’t know who else to express my utter and complete joy to but Mama Mary. I knelt in front of a statue in the church and just cried tears of joy. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness, I have a child growing inside of me, what if I’m a bad mother? What if I do something wrong? etc. etc.” And, I just continued to kneel there and pray for strength. I was going to be a mother and was already so much in love with my little baby inside of me. However, my pregnancy only lasted about 11 weeks. I was still in my first trimester when I had my miscarriage. I was completely devastated. I was more shocked than anything because I never knew how common it actually was. My mom never experienced one so the possibility never really phased me, but then it happened. It took me awhile to recover from it.
Then, time slowly passed, and my husband and I continued to enjoy each other a little more and just enjoy being married. We knew we were very blessed to have been able to spend more time together without kids yet. After our 1 year anniversary, around August 2011, we found out we were pregnant again. Now, we didn’t really know what to expect for this one. We just said we are going to try to stay positive and whatever happens, happens. *For anyone who has had a miscarriage or complications in a pregnancy, when and if you get pregnant again..it’s the hardest thing to live without fear of something going wrong again.* So, what did I do..when I felt weak or scared? (which was quite often..multiple times a day actually) I prayed a quick “Hail Mary” to give me strength..and surprisingly it would work!
This continued until the day my little Ave was born. Trust me, I had to pray a lot during my labor b/c it was a little rough. On April 26th, God granted me a healthy baby which was a miracle in itself. I really do believe having a healthy baby is a true miracle. And, her name..well..it was only fitting after everything that happened. I’ve never been so in love!
Thanks for reading!