Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why We Chose His Name

For months, I had been rolling his name around on my tongue:  Benjamin.  Ah, Benjamin!
Benjamin Caleb, to be exact.  The name of our fifth son, our youngest child.  It was sweet on my tongue, sweet in my ears, sweet in my heart; and one night, late in my pregnancy, I had fun taking some pictures with his name--not nearly as much fun as taking pictures with him, but still worth doing during those days and nights of longing and waiting.  ;-)
Way back in March, I recorded the process by which Jeff and I decided on a name for our son; and I suppose the most wondrous thing about all of that is how, from week 13 of my pregnancy onward, I never wavered in my desire to give the name Benjamin to our son--and if Jeff ever second-guessed himself, he never told me!  ;-)  Although I will admit that all the way back in 2013--August 19 of that year, to be exact--Jeff told me that, if we were ever to have a fifth son, he'd like to name him John.  He didn't get his wish.  ;-)  I like the name John, don't get me wrong; but I love the name Benjamin.  :)
But why Benjamin?  And, for that matter, why Caleb?  I'm sure Jeff's answer to these questions would be a little different than mine, but here is why I wanted to use those names.

If there's one thing that stands out to me from the Biblical story of Benjamin, it is how incredibly loved he was.  After years of barrenness, Benjamin's mother Rachel was blessed with a son, Joseph, and then after more years had gone by, with another son.  Can you imagine how filled with joy she was when she learned that God had again opened her womb?  How she must have rejoiced as she went through that pregnancy!  Tragically, Benjamin's mother gave her life for him, dying during childbirth; and although I'm grateful that I wasn't asked to make a similar sacrifice, if I would have been called to that, I would have readily done so, thanks to my great love for my Benjamin.  I can only imagine how great Rachel's love was for her son!

Besides Rachel, Benjamin was loved deeply by his father Jacob (who actually gave him that name, changing it from Rachel's choice, as she was dying, of "Ben-Oni," which means "son of my pain or sorrow," to Benjamin, which means "son of my right hand")--AND, in contrast to his big brother Joseph, by his half-brothers as well.  The last few chapters of Genesis show how protective they were of their youngest brother; and as I read Benjamin's story, I see love and adoration poured out on him from all the members of his family.  That happens to be what I see happening in my own household these days.  :)

After Jeff suggested the name Benjamin and I was considering it before saying an unequivocal "yes," I did a little research online about the name and discovered that through the years, it has often been used in Jewish families for their youngest son--an additional reason that it seemed appropriate for us now.  :)

As for Caleb, I admire the Biblical Caleb tremendously, particularly for his life-long faithfulness to God and his incredible boldness, even when those around him were giving in to fear (see Numbers 13-14 for one example, and especially note Numbers I long for my Benjamin Caleb to have that "different spirit" and to follow the Lord wholeheartedly!).  The other passage about Caleb that lights the fire in my heart and, Lord willing, will do the same for my son is Joshua 14:6-15 when the land of Canaan is being distributed to the Israelite tribes, and Caleb, who is 85 years old at that point, asks for a particularly difficult portion.  (A great song about that can be found here.)  Caleb, YOU ROCK!
So that was the name we had in mind for our son; and on the day we had our ultrasound that told us God was blessing us with a boy, we told our children, as we drove home from that appointment, what the name of their new baby brother was.  Jeff teased them a little by naming off a few names that were clearly not the one, and then he gave me the honor of announcing it to them--a special moment indeed.  

A day or two later, the kids and I had walked over to our neighbors' house and were standing out on their lawn chatting with them.  Of course they were excited to learn that we were having a boy; and before I knew it, Wilma said, "How about the name Benjamin?"

My jaw dropped.  We were trying to keep it a secret, but there was no way I could recover from that unexpected suggestion as my face had already revealed everything.  We laughed and laughed about that; I just could not believe that, completely out of the blue, she had guessed it.  Additional proof that this name was meant to be for this little boy, I suppose!  :)

Jeff's sister Kim has a four-year-old son named Benjamin (he's a twin, and the other half of that set of twins is Harrison), so we checked with her to make sure she didn't mind if we used the name, too.  Since she lives in California, it won't lead to much confusion if we both have a Benjamin, but we definitely wanted to respect her feelings.  We were grateful when she told us that it wouldn't bother her a bit.  :)
And that is the story of how our precious little one got his name!!  :)


Anonymous said...

This is a secret (which is why I'm not posting this comment on Facebook), but if my sister's little babe (due in Dec) is a boy, he'll be a Benjamin too. The middle name is still under discussion though. :)

- Abbey

sally said...

I've always liked the name Benjamin. I'm glad you have a Benjamin in your family.