Thursday, June 08, 2006

What's in a name? What does it represent? Is it okay to use a name that you don't like, because it reflects an accurate image of who someone is? What causes us to choose the names we choose?

When each of our children were born, we had male and female names at the ready. We had pored through the "Name" books just to be sure we did not leave anything out of consideration. My wife will tell you that I named each of the children. We danced together over name issues, each vetoing names of old boyfriends/girlfriends or other names we did not like because they implicated bad memories for one or the other of us. I seem to have had the lion's share of "bad memories."

Not long after "BJ" was born, he had the starring role in our Christmas program at church. He played "B"aby "J"esus. We thought that was true affirmation of the name we had selected.

Throughout scripture we see names given to newborns to reflect the circumstances at birth. We also see names changed to more accurately reflect who the individual had become... Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, and on and on.

I wish we carried this tradition today. So did BJ.

In many of his writings, when he was particularly passionate or moved, he would sign the script with a name he adopted as the Lord produced changes in him through his faithfulness. The name did not change every time, but there were times he would add a new name to the ones he had adopted.

He did not do this because he disliked his own name. Oh he went through that period when he was young. I think we've shared that. He went from "BJ" to "Brent" and back to "BJ." He was quite firm with his declarations in those moments.

He did this because the Lord had significantly shaped his heart, and he knew a changed name through a life changing experience was Biblical.

Last night Deanna, Lauren and I went to a Pastor's dinner at the church we've been attending. He shared his testimony with the group. It was very compelling, and God is using him in powerful ways. In sharing his story, he relayed the impact his youth pastor had had in his life.
His youth pastor's name was BJ.

Our thoughts routinely run toward the memories of our son. How we wish we could see him mature, graduate, marry, and lead. These are all things we know will never come to pass. But as Deanna has begun to say, "Sometimes I am just going to say it out loud... I miss BJ!"

It is only natural for us to think of him often. It is only natural for us to ache, and to yearn for what we cannot have. The very mention of his name will always evoke such an explosion of thoughts in our minds. Some will be funny, some hard, and some emotional. All will be treasured.

At the end of the pastor's dinner, we were to write down our childrens names on a document to be used by the church. I felt a little like I had been punched in the gut. I wrote Lauren's name and birthdate and where she is in school. I did the same thing for Whitney. Then I stopped, and put my pen down. I did not know what to do. Should I write his name or not?

I suddenly felt as if I had been transferred back to junior high. I wasn't sure what the right answer was. Should I look at my neighbor's (Deanna's) paper or not? I decided. I glanced over... she had added his name. She had written "deceased" in the blank for his grade. That was the right thing to do! I copied her paper (I don't think I'll get in trouble for cheating).

He is our son. His name is BJ. He did not graduate. He did not get to marry. But he is a leader, and I praise Jesus for him!


I believe a family member (who has blogged frequently) may continue to write for us while we are unavailable. Please check back, they have many stories to share.


At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey hey dad..i was gonna comment yesterday.. but they said it was down..odd. now i cant remember what i was going to say.
I loved today's post. it was just so..real. something i completely relate to. sometimes when i hear the name BJ..i know that the people who hold the name cant do it justice..i always think that they should just change their name...totally unrealistic, i know.

I'm excited for you and the family and the whole N.Africa trip..the Lord is going to do fabulously awesome God things..and i cant wait to hear about it.

Our plans may once again have changed..but here's what i do know..mary and i are for sure coming to Tulsa in August..i'm just not sure when!

i love you..praying for you always!
PS--i love being the first one to comment!

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May God bless and make your paths straight in all of your journeys this summer. I will desperately miss your blogs, but look forward to the stories that will come. I will keep you in my prayers for all that God will be doing through you throughout this large world. Walk mightly in Him, trust in Him, and as you well know, He and He only is in control. And He feels the pain of this world too.

I love you and will be thinking of you often. God bless and keep all of you.

Linda Anderson

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to start reading the updates on the trips from Awe Star's website. I can't believe it's already here. Next weekend!!! Folks ask what I'll do while Bonnie is gone. Probably spend a lot of time checking the updates!!! My prayers will be with all the teams.


At 2:08 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

What a powerful blog today Brent, my heart wept for you all. Even as I type I find it difficult to see the keys past the tears.

These are all your memories, but because you have all been so open and so honest with us, we too in some small way lay claim to your memories, even those of us who never had the priviledge of meeting BJ.

Thank you for being such awesome roll models for all the parents who come to read your pearls of wisdom. Through your words, your faith, your love and your example the Lord has used you and your words to change this heart of mine, to change the thoughts I had, to change my actions, to change me into the mother, wife and woman He desires me to be. The change is every day, it is never ending. Thank you Brent and Deanna for being such willing vessels of the Lord.
May He continue to bless you in all that you do to bring glory to His wonderful name.
Thank You Lord for Your never ending love and faithfulness, thank You that, You never let us go.

In His Love

At 11:13 AM, Blogger natenamy said...

I'll say it out loud... "I MISS ALL OF YOU!" Please know that you are continuing to be lifted up in prayer by both Nate-dog and I. We love you lots and can't wait to hear how God has used all of you for His glory while you were in N. Africa!
We love you,
Amy (and Nate)


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