Holly T. Ashley

Oh? Did I type that outloud?

Hi! I’m Holly – I’m a bush. What’s your name?

A name is but a name….

Or is it?

When I was in first grade I used to desperately want my name to be Cynthia. I remember signing this name to my paper and handing it to my teacher, but when she looked at it she simply looked puzzled. It was not my name and even though I was a little embarrassed, I was hopeful that I would get my wish to change my name… but apparently my mother liked the name Holly from the time she was in seventh grade (her next door neighbor was named Holly) and even though I was born in December, she swears that if I was born in July, my name would have been Holly. So……it was here to stay and eventually, even I grew to like my given name.

If I would have known then what I know now, I probably would have bothered God to the crazies with my requests to know my “real” name… His name for me, the one that the Bible says “He” has “given me.” The one that is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Back in Biblical days Hebrew names customarily included either a kinship or divine name. Among the Israelis names were customarily given at birth, with the father of the child having the final say. Names were chosen for various reasons – Boys usually would receive their name at circumcision (the eighth day after birth) but the name represented religious convictions, hopes, physical characteristics or some circumstance of birth.

Names were chosen for various reasons, such as to express religious convictions or hopes or some to describe a physical characteristic or some circumstance of birth. Many represent a creedal statement (e.g., Uzziah, “Yahweh is my trust”), express gratitude or a similar emotion (e.g., Saul, “asked [of God]”; Elishama, “God has heard”; Joshua/Jesus, “Yahweh will save”), or function as prophecy (cf. Isa. 8:3–4; Hos. 1:4–11 [MT 2:2]). Other names derive from national, familial, seasonal, or physical circumstances (e.g., Ichabod, “the glory has departed”; Becher, “first-born”; Haggai, “festal [i.e., born at feast time]”; Laban, “white”) or from nature (e.g., Jonah, “dove”; Deborah, “bee”; Hadassah, “myrtle”). Some names are apparently abbreviations (e.g., Ahaz for Jehoahaz, Jonathan for Jehonathan).

Hebrew names are classified by syntax as either simple, with one element, or compound, with two or three elements in a phrase or sentence. Compound names customarily include either a kinship or divine (theophoric) name. Kinship elements include Heb. ˒āḇ “father, ancestor” (e.g., Abimelech), ˒āḥ “brother” (e.g., Ahihud), bēn “son” (e.g., Benjamin), baṯ “daughter” (e.g., Bathsheba), and ˓am “kinsman” (e.g., Ammiel). Theophoric names contain either the common Semitic word for God, El (e.g., Ezekiel, Eliezer), or an abbreviated form of Yahweh, such as yô, ye (e.g., Jehonathan, Joel) or yāhû, yāh (e.g., Adonijah, Shemaiah).[1]

But no matter what we think our names should be – God seems to have a different name in mind. You will be called by a new name (Isa. 62:2); I will give him a new name written on the stone (Rev. 2:17); your name will be no more Abram but Abraham (Gen. 17:5); you gave him the name Abraham (Neh. 9:7); no more Sarai but Sarah (Gen. 17:15); no more Jacob, but Israel (Gen. 32:28; Gen. 35:10; 1 Kgs. 18:31; 2 Kgs. 17:34); house of Jacob who are called Israel (Isa. 48:1).[2]

“My servants will be called by a different name”

(Isa. 65:15).

I wonder what mine will be.

One who refuses contentment?

The consistent grumbler?

Ungrateful one?

I know what I would like it to be… but frankly…  I just get tired. And people just really tick me off.

Looking over the explanations/definitions of names as they were given back in the day, I cannot help but wonder what mine would be – especially given that I am named after a bush. Holly is a bush. with glossy green leaves and persistent red berries that is widely planted in the U.S.[3]

Wow.

The English version definition of my name is much better:  “Represents a family people, love harmony, giving, good, noble, concern for others is their top priority. Talented and creative with a tendency to perfection.”

That’s more like it!!

Actually… truly… that is about right I know that I can be all of those wonderful things and I am… sometimes… I might change “perfection” to “neurotic behavior”… but its close enough.

Yesteryear’s names called us who they thought we were or who they wanted us to be – now we call ourselves by our own names –

my name is

Matthew West’s song: “Hello My Name is Regret…” says it all – we determine who we are based on our past mistakes and the lies of the enemy.

We chose to believe it. But the Bible says; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.[4]

If we let the enemy steal our name then we cannot enjoy the life abundant! Let’s face it – we are what we are but we can be who God designed us to be if we strive towards holiness. After all that is what He has called us to and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to become all that He destines for us to be!

He has a sense of humor about it all as well – Remember Nathaniel? He was Phillip’s brother, they were disciples. Nathaniel was told by his brother that Jesus was the Messiah and his response went like this: (Holly’s translation)

Phil: Dude! I found the Messiah (I love how they “found” Jesus… like He was lost)

Nate: Jesus who?

Phil: Jesus of Nazareth!

Nate: Dude! You’re crazy! Nothing good can come out of Nazareth!

Phil: Just come and see!

Jesus (before Nate could even open his mouth) – Wow! Looky here an Israelite who isn’t a liar?!

Nate:  “Hey! How did you know me?”

I love Nathan’s response… he doesn’t even deny the reputation… He just says – “Wow! You know me! Dude!”

Or something like that!

Jesus knows who we are.

No matter what we are called on this earth, whoever we pretend to be when we are not in our home, and that person He has called us to become.  NOT TO MENTION That person

 He says we are now.

These are just a few names Jesus has for you)

Complete (Col. 2:10)
Alive (Eph 2:5)
Free (Rom. 8:2)
Holy, without blame (Eph 1:4, 1 Peter 1:16)
Righteous (Rom 5:17)
Enlightened (Eph. 1:17, 18)
Powerful (Mark 16:17018, Luke 10: 17-19)
Fulfilled (Phil 4:19)
Strong (Phil 4:13)
chld of the one true kingNew creature (2 Cor. 5:17)
Joint-heir w/Christ (Rom. 8:17)
More than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37)

Overcomer (Rev. 12:11)

Chosen (1 Peter 2:9)

The head and not the tail, the above and not the beneath (Deut. 28:13)

Elected, Kind, Full of Mercy, Humble, and Patient (Romans 8:33, Col 3:12)

And there are so many more – You are powerful, loving, kind and you are of a sound, solid mind (2 Tim. 1:7) –

And it’s not because of who you are, what you have done – but because of who He is. (By the way, if you’re looking for something to read… try the Book of Romans)!

Plain and simple – He thought you were worth dying for.

And if your name is in the Lamb’s book of life… no matter what that name may be… You are called.

“Walk worthy of the call to which you have been called.” (Eph 4:1, Col 1:10, Thes 2:12)

And sometimes take a moment to listen… maybe in your prayerful times you can hear the Shepherd calling you – by your name.

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” [5]


[1] Myers, A. C. (1987).The Eerdmans Bible dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[2] Day, C. A. (2009). Collins Thesaurus of the Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Merriam-Webster, I. (2003).Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 10:10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 10:3–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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2 comments on “Hi! I’m Holly – I’m a bush. What’s your name?

  1. Andrew Mills
    August 1, 2013

    Really great reminder

  2. Silent Autumn Life
    August 1, 2013

    this was a fantastic post. thanks for sharing!

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