A lot of people will hear me call my daughter Toad or Toady . . . some are a little shocked that I would give my beautiful baby girl a nickname after a slimy amphibian.
Toad is short for Towdah. Towdah is one of seven Hebrew words for Praise or Thanksgiving.
The Oxford Bible defines Towdah as the following: “to extend hands in faith, adoration and Thanksgiving. This time the hands are raised in a receiving posture, reaching out in trust and surrender as we look up to God acknowledging Him as our Source. Thanksgiving starts with what God has done for us, but goes on to thank God for what He will do (it is a confession of faith). We are thanking Him for giving His Word (promise) and on that basis we thank Him for the answer before the manifestation. This is ‘the sacrifice of thanksgiving’ based on God’s promises and character and TOWDAH is often used in this way (Psalm 107:22, 116:17, Jeremiah 17:26, 33:11).”
Though we experienced a lot of loss and heartache on our journey, I knew that we would hold a baby in our arms one day. God spoke and made that very clear to me. There was a reason for the journey and to me, despite the hurt and anger at times, I knew this would form us and shape us; especially for ministry.
One week we lost a baby and two days later I was in a hospital next to a couple from my church blessing their six-hour-old baby. And so I prayed Towdah.
For almost three years I prayed thanksgiving to God not only for what he had done but for what he would do.
Camryn is a fulfillment of God’s promises to Katie and me. And so I call her Toad, and each time I do I proclaim thanksgiving to God for what he has done, and what he will do not only in Katie’s life, and mine, but in Camryn’s too.
We named her Camryn Anita Mae. Anita is Katie’s mom’s middle name, and Mae is my mom’s middle name. We figured if they had to raise each of us through our teen years the least we could do is name our first born after them.
Names are very important to me. I think their meaning is a significant thing when naming a child. That’s why naming our baby Camryn was a no-brainer.
Camryn means “crooked nose” in Gaelic.
Camryn is also the name of a young girl I had in my youth group at Willowlake. She was . . . vivacious. The definition is: lively, animated, and spirited. Vivacious is the perfect way to describe Camryn.
But she was more than that.
Camryn was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. But you would not know it half the time. In fact, my job with her – she made very clear – was to simply give her a space where she could be a normal teenager. And so I did my best.
Camryn was filled with joy, even in her illness.
And she was filled with faith.
She loved Jesus deeply, and though I know she struggled at times trying to make sense of what she was going through, she did not waiver in that faith. Shortly before she passed away, my friend and mentor Mark Doerksen was able to baptize her at her request.
Camryn was aware of our difficult journey to starting our own family. Two days before she passed away Katie and I asked her if we could name our daughter after her if we should ever have one. To which she replied, “Yes. Now leave. I have friends coming to visit.” She was, remember, a normal teenager.
Two and a half years after that night, we held a baby girl in our arms and named her Camryn. It means “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
And so we want to dedicate this little life to the one who has heard our prayers and answered them in His good & perfect timing.
And to that, we say, Towdah.
This was what I read in church on April 22, 2018, as we dedicated Camryn to God.