What’s In a Name?

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I’ve been talking with my wife about names a lot, since we are going to have to give our baby one soon.  It’s tough, since we have different tastes and styles.  People keep asking us if we’ve picked out names, and when we say we have, they always follow up with, “But what if they don’t look like the name you picked?”, which I think is a flawed thought process, because if we named all babies based on what they look like when they are born, most people would be named like little old men.  All of a sudden Ebenezer and Herb would be the top baby names this year.  And we can’t base the baby’s name off of their personality, since right now all I know about them is that when my wife drinks water, the baby moves around.  Based on that, we might have to go for goldfish names.  So, we’ve decided based on the names each of us enjoy and the other person doesn’t hate.  It’s kind of a lame way of being named, if you think about it.  Our names are such a big part of our personality – especially for us with odd names (mine is Kellen, if you didn’t know).  My name has been such a part of me, a reflection of who I am, that it’s strange to think that really it’s not a reflection of me but, rather, I am a reflection of it, as it came before I was even born.  Being called Kellen has changed and shaped my life in a meaningful way and, so we hope, the names we’ve chosen for our baby will have a meaningful impact on them.

“But now thus says the Lordhe who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

This whole baby name process has reminded me again and again of this verse in Isaiah.  God, who created you, who formed you, who redeemed you, calls you by name.  He calls you the name you were born with and claims you as His.  In addition to our names influencing us and shaping us, we are claimed children of God, which should shape and mold us more than any name ever could.  The Lord says not to fear, that we are redeemed by a God who knows our name; who knows our identity; who knows our quirks and oddities; who knows our sins and faults; who knows our doubts and insecurities; who knows each hair on our head.  We are redeemed though the love of the one who created us.  I am just beginning to understand what that even means, as fatherhood is excitingly and terrifyingly close.  We are made from God, by God and for God, and through God we are redeemed, claimed and called by our name, which for me is both Kellen and Precious.  Beloved.  Worthy.  One Who Is Loved By God.  In that way, we share a name, because God knows you as precious, beloved, worthy and loved, too.

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