Wednesday, February 6, 2013

on names and meaning

I have always been interested in the meaning behind names. Which was always a little unfortunate for a girl named Heather. There really is no meaning behind that name. It's a plant. And my middle name is Ashley (at least it was before I got married), which comes from "Ash Tree". So basically I'm a plant. Real poetic.

I hadn't given it much more thought until I was sitting in on a college class a while ago where the students gave presentations based on the meaning of their names. I was fascinated by how each person found connections to their name's meaning and their own personality. And I walked out wishing, again, that my name meant something more than a plant. You know,those things I always buy and then manage to kill within a week.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that maybe my name does have significance. Names are a big deal in the Bible; they carry weight and destiny. God calls us by name; why shouldn't mine have meaning?

Heather is, of course, a plant with tiny little purplish blooms. It flourishes in wide open spaces and floods hills and fields with its color. And occasionally pops up in day-dreamy poems and books like Anne of Green Gables. "Heather" may just represent a plant, but that means I am constantly growing. Quietly, steadily growing. Not making a big fuss, just blooming and spreading cheer.

(Also, I hear that deer eat heather. But my imagination cannot yet make a correlation or metaphor with that piece of information.)

Maybe this all sounds sappy, but it really changed the way I imagine God seeing me. I'm His quiet Heather, growing and learning how to bloom in the rocky terrain. And that's the only meaning I really need; to just keep growing.

What about you? Have you thought much about your own name's meaning?


  1. awww I love this! I love how you say God calls us by name because our name coming from His lips is then the most beautiful name of all!

  2. Love this =) To just keep growing into the woman God wants...who does really need more than that?!

  3. Oh my. I HATED my name growing up. My full maiden name was: Megan Rae Smith. First off, my initials spelled MRS. Great. Second my name meant a great female deer who works with metal. It's really hard to come up with something good with that.

    Yeah, needless to say, I am very picky about my children's names... and their initials.

  4. heather! i'm so glad you wrote abuot this. i always feel super cheesy when i think about what my name means and how that applies to i never talk about it. ;) so i'm megan (a precious pearl) elizabeth (consecrated to God). a precious pearl consecrated to God? cray cray. but i was thinking of how pearls are formed. how they are formed from something that is actually an irritant or intruder. at it's "birth" a pearl is not something someone would look at and call beautiful. but from my birth God has looked at me and called me precious and honored and loved. and just like a pearl, He is forming and polishing me into the woman He wants me to be. holy long comment, batman. but girl, you just got me thinking! :)

  5. My name means "pearl" which is nice. I've thought about name meanings more now that I'm older and thinking about kids. I always just liked names because I liked the way they sounded but now when I have kids, I want to pick a name that has a significant meaning.

  6. In the study questions for One Thousand Gifts this is one aspect you look at is if you relate to your name meaning, Emily means a couple different things but the one that has always stuck out to me is that it means industrious. Which its funny cause I'm pretty sure I am not but hey its something to strive for.


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