Choosing a Name

Now that Camden Beck Herbert is born, I wanted to let you in on the process Becca and I went through in picking his name. Let me start by saying I believe names are very important. I believe there is power in a name and it can set a person’s life on a particular course. Madeleine L’Engle says, “To be given a name is an act of intimacy as powerful as any act of love…To name is to love. To be named is to be loved.”[1] I believe this is why God frequently changed names of people like Abram and Saul once He worked in their lives. I also believe that naming a child is a God-given responsibility to parents. After all, one of the first “jobs” for Adam in the garden is to name every living creature.[2] I say all of that to say, we did not take this responsibility lightly.

Settling on Camden Beck was not an easy decision for Becca and I to come to. In fact, we had another name picked out that we both loved. But as we reflected on the meaning of Camden Beck, the name really started to grow on us. First, we like the name aesthetically. We first got the idea for the name “Camden” when we went to Camden, Maine, last summer. This is a trip that will forever be one of those “shadow” trips for both of us.[3] It came during the transition time last summer at Harris Creek, and was one of the most incredible weeks of my life. The name “Beck” is a family name on my dad’s side of the family.[4] Since Camden is the first grandson on my side of the family, we thought it would be meaningful to pick a name from my dad’s side of the family. While all of those factors were nice, the most important thing to us was the meaning of his name. Camden is a name that means “from the valley,”[5] and Beck is a name that means “dweller near the brook or stream.” You might be thinking, “Great! Becca and Brady are obsessed with geography!” Shockingly enough, we were thinking more theologically than topographically in choosing his name.

The significance we see in these two names together comes from the last year of our lives. Many of you know that the last nine months of life for us have been incredibly challenging to say the least. We feel like we have walked through a number of “valleys” in the last year. From losing one of my closest friends, Clint, in a terrible tragedy to watching a number of people close to us battle cancer to seeing other close friends struggle with infertility to seeing family members have financial and medical struggles and other friends go through separation and divorce, this has been a very difficult and trying season for both of us. Yet, being “planted by the stream” is what has got us through these challenging circumstances. In the midst of an incredibly difficult season of life, God has shown Himself to be faithful time and time again. I’m about to list some great things that have happened in the last nine months, but these things are not why God has been faithful to us. God has been faithful to us because we have been comforted and near Him in the midst of trying circumstances. God has been faithful to us because of what Jesus has done on the cross. If that were all He ever did for us, it would be more than enough. But God has continued to shower blessings like seeing Harris Creek grow at an enormously fast rate in the last year. We’ve seen other close friends find people to spend the rest of their lives with and get married. And, of course, we’ve been given the blessing of Camden Beck in the last nine months.

The Scripture that comes to mind when we think about the last year and God’s faithfulness is found at the beginning of the book of Psalms. For thousands of years people have turned to these Psalms when they face difficult seasons of life. There are dozens of Psalms that beg God to act on our behalf and intervene on our behalf. The book of Psalms opens up with a promise by saying, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalms 1:1–3[6] These verses remind us that we can enjoy the blessing of walking closely with God and being rooted in Him no matter the circumstances around us. So, this is the verse we are going to claim for Camden Beck when we dedicate him in December.[7] Our prayer for him already is that his life will be rooted in Scripture, and that he will come to know the Creator of the universe in an intimate way. This has been the only source of hope we have clung to as his parents. Our hope is not that our son would make a great name for himself. Our hope is in God’s Son, and our prayer is that our son will make His name great with his life.

[1] Madeline L’Engle, Walking on Water, Pg. 127, 130.
Genesis 2:19-23 says it was Adam’s responsibility to name every living creature, including Eve.
C.S. Lewis often talked about experiences in life as shadows that echo our longing for eternity.
Beck is my grandmother’s maiden name.
A secondary meaning for the name is “Divine Spark,” which we obviously love, too.
This also happens to be the first verse Becca read and underlined on her own after becoming a believer at the age of 16.
As a pastor, you’ve got to think about these things!

7 thoughts on “Choosing a Name”

  1. You truly are an inspiring writer, Brady! This is beautiful and I know Camden will love reading this one day. He is so blessed to have two of the most incredible parents around. We are so happy for you guys and we absolutely cannot wait to meet the newest addition to your precious family. We love him already!

  2. This is really cool & I love the reference to God changing names & also giving us a responsibility to name. you’re a gifted writer, Brady! congrats on the birth of your son!!!!! life changing indeed. God bless your family!

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