On Baby Names {and why your name matters}

There is a crescent moon on the silver night my husband and I lay face to face discussing baby names for our second child.  He smells like soap.  He is blue eyes and rough unshaven.  A breeze rolls through tree tops and our open window.  Cotton drapes shift.

“James,” he says.

“Too plain,” my first reaction, eyelids heavy on a down-filled pillow.

“Hayes,” I counter.

“Zimbabwe,” he says.

Laughter fills his face, the night.

I like Hayes, Crew and Inman.  He shudders, a traditionalist.  My wish is for a name with unique meaning- as to this child and me as his mother.


Some weeks later, my bible is open in my lap and I am not thinking about baby names when God grabs my attention and tells me the name for our son.

First, I must tell you that I don’t wear pregnancy well.  While some women glow, I unfortunately vomit.  Clothed in a heavy robe of exhaustion for months on end, it is a trial.  A  sacrifice.  The unconditional surrender of physical and emotional self.  A blessing, always, but from the first morning one finds she cannot keep down one oyster cracker, there is no way through except one foot (and month) in front of the other, leaning on Jesus, because of the desperate need for a savior.

And so it happened one morning that the Savior I had been clinging to through months of sickness whispered to me the name of our unborn child.  I read that morning in the book of James:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

I remembered the night, weeks earlier, when my husband had whispered, “James.”  And it wasn’t that I decided that morning that James would be our son’s name, it was that morning that I knew James was his name.

And I do believe it matters.  I believe God knows me and that He knows me by name.  I believe that 2,000 years from now God will still know me by name, as mother of  Wynn and James, the way He still knows Azor by name.

Wait, who?

Azor is one of the men listed in the long “Abraham begot Isaac who begot . . . ” section of the bible that you, like me, probably scan over with glazed eyes.  (Azor is named smack-dab in the middle of this long list at the opening of the book of Matthew.)  Furthermore, did you know that in the book of Nehemiah, rarely is a person mentioned without their parent being mentioned by name as well?

“Zadok, son of Immer, made repairs . . . next to him was Shemaiah, son of Sheceniah . . . . ”  Nehemiah 3:29 (etc.)

I say this because if you are feeling lost or forgotten, if you feel glanced over in a long proverbial list, take heart, God knows you by name.

Likewise, if you are a parent awaiting prodigal son; if you are a parent in the trenches with a toddler; if you are a parent hugging a toilet and begging for grace, your name, as parent of your child, is known and will be remembered.  If you never held your child this side of heaven, He knows your name as parent and the name of your child.  Because you are loved by a timeless God.


Because you are His child and He is your father.

Because your name, like James’, matters.



  1. It is neither traditional or unusual. It is him! And it will be as unique as he will be! So exciting when you finally decide on a name. I think it makes it even more real (as if it could be more real than hugging your potty for 9 months)! Thanks for such a lovely post!

  2. I just discovered your blog yesterday, and spent most of the day and this morning reading “The Cottage” archives up to your post today. You write so beautifully and I really enjoy your blog. As a mother of two sons (age 34 and 30), I know what you have to look forward to. Enjoy the journey!

  3. Beautiful. Our youngest son is named Luke, and this is the verse that I have printed in his book

    “Luke 2:40
    And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

    His middle name is MacCrae, which means Son of Grace. I dont for a second think that I came up with that name, it has always been him.

  4. i cannot tell you how much this spoke to my spirit today. i am 12 weeks along in my first pregnancy and it has been as you said – a blessing from the beginning but a monumental trial with sickness every day. it feels like a battle, a sacrifice for this little one. thank you for the reminder that HE knows and sees me, by name, even now. thank you.

    • Anna, I am so sorry! I bet you will be one of the typical pregnancies and done with the nausea by the second trimester-hoping for you!

  5. Erin, you are such a lovely person and I have so enjoyed following your blog. Thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs and for inspiring me and making me want to read my Bible more. I hope your pregnancy settles down soon for you.

  6. We have stories behind our daughters’ names as well. I love this post; I am studying James this summer, and as soon as I read where your husband said it, I thought, “Oh, I hope that’s the name they chose!” 🙂

  7. The Lord is good! It is He who names us, He who sets forth all of our days when as yet they are not. At a point in my youth, where it was particularly hard and my life seemed nothing but sorrow, I heard him say that he named me Joy because I was His joy. The Word tells us He does not see as we do and He speaks what He sees, calling “things that be not as though they were”. I am so glad arn’t you?

    I also have a son named James. Precious spirit.

  8. Love this post! And now that my sons are entering adulthood, it is just critical to me the remember that HE knows their names and is ever watchful over them. Thanks for the reminder!


  9. So beautifully written Erin, and I have to admit I kinda like Zimbabwe. 😉 This also spoke to my heart regarding my Mom’s situation and I’m going to share it with her. I think it will help her to feel even more of God’s support. 🙂

  10. Hi Erin! First of all you look beautiful (even though you probably don’t feel it right now). I enjoyed this post, I always think it’s so neat to hear how parents choose the names for their children, but even more precious when the Lord reveals it!

    I also wanted to let you know that your new blog layout is so pretty! 🙂


  11. I have just recently found your blog, and already feel I have been missing out…..you have such a ministry and gift to inspire women! I know how full a day can be with the blessings of motherhood, so thankyou for your sacrafice of time to encourage others! for you surely have me!

  12. I was just scrolling through your site for the first time and something about this post caught my eye… probably the ‘something religious’ since I am a believer as well. ….Beautiful! I am also pregnant (with my 4th) and names are so hard for my husband and I to agree on. I still have regrets and uncertainty about the names we chose for our other children! But I feel so much more at ease since reading this. Our God is timeless and He knows our childrens’ names before we even pick them out. I just loved this so much… thanks for sharing 🙂

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