Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

About a year ago, my husband and I were in a small group with some other couples and in the book study we were doing, we were asked to research our name and find the meaning of it, Biblical or otherwise, and find a scripture verse for it. I knew right away that this was going to be a challenge. Let me start off by saying I LOVE my name! It is me and I have never not liked my name.

My name is Heather. In baby name books the meaning says: an evergreen flowering plant that thrives on peaty, barren lands. Wow. Exciting. When I was a young adult, I would meet a man and when I would tell him my name was Heather, the response was ridiculous. You could see the excitement in their eyes and hear it in their voice with their response, "oh Heeeaaaattther", they would say all saucy as their eyebrows went up and down. Like they were conjuring up pictures in their head of Heather Locklear that very moment! Then there was Hollywood...with the movie Heather's and pretty much any voluptuous, man-stealing, bimbo...was named Heather!! I always knew that as soon as a bad girl came into a movie scene...her name would be Heather!

Heather in the Bible? Not so much! So I scoured the web for SOMETHING! Anything other then it being a flowering plant that grows on barren lands! I came across a little story that I absolutely loved! Remember, it's just a story! But it really made me think about my name in a whole new light.

When God first made the world, He looked at the bare and barren hillsides and thought how nice it would be to cover them with some kind of beautiful tree or flower. So he turned to the Giant Oak, the biggest and strongest of all of the trees he had made, and asked him if he would be willing to go up to the bare hills to help make them look more attractive. But the oak explained that he needed a good depth of soil in order to grow and that the hillsides would be far too rocky for him to take root.

So God left the oak tree and turned to the honeysuckle with its lovely yellow flower and beautiful sweet fragrance. He asked the honeysuckle if she would care to grow on the hillsides and spread her beauty and fragrance amongst the barren slopes. But the honeysuckle explained that she needed a wall or a fence or even another plant to grow against, and for that reason, it would be quite impossible for her to grow in the hills.

So God then turned to one of the sweetest and most beautiful of all the flowers - the rose. God asked the rose if she would care to grace the rugged highlands with her splendor. But the rose explained that the wind and the rain and the cold on the hills would destroy her, and so she would not be able to grow on the hills.

Disappointed with the oak, the honeysuckle and the rose, God turned away. At length, he came across a small, low lying, green shrub with a flower of tiny petals -some purple and some white. It was a heather.

God asked the heather the same question that he’d asked the others. "Will you go and grow upon the hillsides to make them more beautiful?"

The heather thought about the poor soil, the wind and the rain - and wasn’t very sure that she could do a good job. But turning to God she replied that if he wanted her to do it, she would certainly give it a try.

God was very pleased.

He was so pleased in fact that he decided to give the heather some gifts as a reward for her willingness to do as he had asked.

Firstly he gave her the strength of the oak tree - the bark of the heather is the strongest of any tree or shrub in the whole world.

Next he gave her the fragrance of the honeysuckle - a fragrance which is frequently used to gently perfume soaps and potpourris.

Finally he gave her the sweetness of the rose - so much so that heather is one of the bees favorite flowers. And to this day, heather is renowned especially for these three God given gifts.

This reminds me of how God has asked me to go and be a military wife. I can not put in deep roots like the oak tree, we never live anywhere long enough, so the heather's roots have to be quick and strong.

The honeysuckle needs something else to grow against, to support it...I don't have that here with me. Every time I move some place new...I am on my own. I don't get to have my best friends surrounding me with love and support to help me grow...yet the heather will grow.

The wind and the rain and the cold would destroy the rose...but not me. I can take anything that life throws at me. 7 month ship deployments, year long deployments to Iraq, just getting settled one place and being told it's time to move again, raising children and being their strength when Daddy is gone...the heather will not be destroyed.

God asked the heather "Will you go and grow where I send you, and make my world more beautiful?"

The heather thought about the poor soil, the wind and the rain - and wasn’t very sure that she could do a good job. But turning to God she replied that if he wanted her to do it, she would certainly give it a try.

So then God gave me what I needed. The strength of the oak tree, the sweet fragrance of Jesus Christ which is His salvation, and the beauty of the rose which is the light of Christ shining through me that attracts new friends in new places and hopefully hurting people that I may encourage them and be a light in this dark world. Some days I am definitely not sure I can do it, but I will try...every day.

So...what does your name mean? :)


Lisa said...

Oh Heather, that story was beautiful!!! And it fits you perfectly. I've had many friends who are military wives and I know how hard it is for them. May God continue to give you strength and bless you abundantly!

Christine Hix said...

Your name has always been the perfect fit!

Lisa Gauze said...

Heather, I so needed this. It is 2:17am and I am awake trying to make a decision about Michael's schooling for this year and next and David and Lauren's for next year.

I am going to look up the meaning of my name right now. I have in the past, but thank you for the renewed inspiration to be who God meant me to be.

Thank you for posting. God Bless you and your family.

Michelle said...

Beautiful story! and I think Heather is a lovely name; I've always liked it! Kayla might have been a Heather if I didn't already have a cousin with that name :)