Friday, April 27, 2012

A guest post by my husband: The story behind Nicholas' name

There is a beautiful story behind our son's name. God is so good and He has been so faithful to myself and to my husband. We shared this story on our personal ministry blog, and today I want to share it with you. This story is from the perspective of my sweet husband, Brian.

When I was 11 years old my family started going through some really difficult circumstances. While the details are not important, the effect on me was significant. It was a crucial time in my life where having the right (or wrong) influences around me would shape me forever. I remember the day that these circumstances began. I didn't know what to do. I found myself sitting on the edge of a staircase at my elementary school, crying and feeling hopeless.

Little did I know that the steps I was sitting on were at the back door of a Boys and Girls Club center. A club counselor, who had started his job that same day, came out and saw me crying. We had never met and I remember that he was about 2 feet taller than me. He invited me inside to play foosball and air hockey. That moment changed my life. The counselor's name? Nick.

I began going to "the Club" every day after school to spend time with Nick. He was 6 years older than me, so I felt like I had the coolest friend of all time. I don't know what he potential he saw in this barely 4' tall kid with goofy hair, glasses, and poor social skills, but I am so grateful that he invested in me. Nick and I hung out at the club almost every day for the next 5 years. I went to summer camps with Nick, he spent time with my family, and he gave of himself daily. Though at the time it may have just seemed like we were hanging out and having fun, his daily involvement in my life shaped me, helped me to make healthy life choices, and let me know that someone believed in me. 

(Nick with me, my Mom, and my sisters:)

One of the most significant memories I have of my friendship with Nick was when we were out on a boat on the lake. He found out that I didn't know how to swim and that I was scared to jump in the lake. He convinced me to jump in and that I would be alright. Then he jumped in with me. I'll never forget that.

He invested a lot more time with me than just at the Boys and Girls Club.  I didn't know this until much later, but as I was growing up Nick prayed for me daily. I can think of many many Friday and Saturday nights where Nick would take me out to Wendy's or to drive around town. We would run errands, go to the mall, go camping, play music, you name it. These are some of the best memories that I have. During a time in my life that was filled with so much anxiety and pain, I didn't have a thing to worry about when I was with Nick.

As the years went on, Nick continued to pour into my life. He taught me how to play guitar because I wanted to get girls in high school. While I didn't get the results I was looking for, it has given me the opportunity to lead worship in several countries around the world and has sparked my passion for music. 

I was like a sponge, desiring to learn anything and everything. Nick taught me to be confident in myself and about public speaking, which lead to me becoming the Washington State Youth of the Year through the Boys & Girls Club. He made coming to my speaking engagements a priority, even when he moved to California in my first year of high school. Me, the kid who was once insecure about sharing a presentation in class, was now speaking in front of hundreds of businessmen. Nick and I would go over my speeches dozens of times, with him coaching me in how I could improve. Now in my work with Youth With A Mission I've been able to use the skills he taught me to teach the Bible all over the world.

Throughout the time that I knew him, Nick had been actively involved as a youth leader at his church. Although I didn't know Mackenzie at the time, he just happened to be one of her youth group leaders.

When I was 17, Nick invited me to attend a summer camp at his church. I was nervous, but after knowing Nick for almost 6 years, I trusted him and decided to go. That week changed the course of my life. I met some awesome guys who adopted me into their friend group and we are still close to this day. After that camp, I began going to this church on a regular basis. I joined a small group and began having other mentors pour into my life. It was also through this church that I met Mackenzie!

After I graduated high school, I heard about Youth With A Mission. I was nervous about leaving my friends and family to go to a missions training school, and I didn't have money for the tuition. Nick encouraged me to go and donated a large part of my tuition. It meant so much to me that even though he had moved to a different state, he was still present in my life and was constantly encouraging me to be a man of God.

When Mackenzie and I got married in 2008, Nick flew up from California to be one of my groomsmen. It was important to me that he was standing at my side, after he'd been there for me for so many years. He even gave a toast at our reception!

(Photos above courtesy of The Popes Photography)
I have always wanted to say "thank you" to Nick in a way that truly expressed how grateful I am for what he did in my life. With the power and guidance of God, Nick sacrificed hundreds of hours in order to pour into my life. The most significant thing I can say about Nick is that he believed in me. More than I believed in myself. He saw in me something that I did not, and he made me believe that I could be that person. He cared for me at a time in my life that I needed it the most.

I decided, long before I met Mackenzie, that the best way to say thank you to Nick was to name my firstborn son after him. If it was not for Nick, it is likely that I would not be married or be a father, that I would not have my church family, or that I would be working with YWAM. Who knows if I would be a musician, have any confidence, or where my relationship with God would be.

The following picture is the day that Nick met Nicholas, when he was 2 weeks old.

Nick, thank you for the love you poured into my life. It is an honor for Mackenzie and I to name our son after you. God has done a mighty work in my life. Nick and countless other people have loved me, nurtured  me, and taught me to grow and be a man. Nick attributes his impact on my life to God, which is very true. The important thing to remember is that God uses people. 

Who's life can you pour into today? There are kids everywhere that need someone to believe in them. Go to any Boys and Girls Club, and you will find dozens of them - hurting, marginalized kids with gifts and talents just waiting to be believe in. Find someone and love them.

Isn't that a beautiful story? I can't tell you what an amazing moment it was to tell Nick that we had named our son Nicholas, after him. We kept Nicholas's name a secret during my pregnancy. About 30 minutes after Nicholas was born, Brian got to call Nick and tell him that his son was born. When Nick asked what we named the baby, Brian got to say, "Nicholas James. We named him after you." God is a GOOD and faithful Father!


  1. What a sweet story! I love how God uses people in others lives! amazing.

    p.s. I am having a link up party on my blog, if you'd like to share this or any of your other posts on there you can.

  2. I've really enjoyed reading your blog, so I wanted to let you know that I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award! You can check out the award and the details in my most recent blog post. Congratulations! (

  3. Thank you Ashley! I'm so grateful for your sweet comments. Hopefully I can link up next week!

  4. Thanks Lindsey! That's so sweet of you! I appreciate your support and readership!

  5. This is so so sweet. I have been a camp counsellor for the past six years and it's always so amazing to hear stories of how people that do jobs like we do can touch the lives of others so incredibly. Amazing!

  6. Wow, Mackenzie! Thank you so much for sharing this! It is an incredible testimony to hear what role the Lord gave to Nick to play in your husband's life. I hope and I pray that I can be that influence to a younger girl during my lifetime! What an incredible story!


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