When Your Parents Are Named Cleon and Myrlee

Some parents are very creative with names.  Mine intentionally were not.  Both had names you do not hear everyday or maybe just a couple times in a lifetime.   While great names, they are constantly misspelled or mispronounced.  (Although my mom thanks her lucky stars she got what she got.  Her mother was going to name her “Suswanna Suzaune”.   Really.  I could never make that up!)  So Clay and I ended up with pretty hip names for the time, which were easy to pronounce and spell.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I found out what “Kelly” means.  I was shocked.  I really expected the 1001 Baby Name book to say “chicken-hearted”, because that is me.  If the ‘fight or flight’ thing comes up I flee in a heart beat.  Just let me go to bed and cover my head!  Unless someone is going after one of my loved ones I will then transform into the meanest grizzly bear ever recorded on Animal Planet.  Normally, I hate conflict of any kind.  I just want everyone to be God’s happy children and get along.   It stresses me out and breaks my heart.  I weasel out.

So this came as quite a shock that “Kelly” means ‘brave warrior.”   Wow, what a mistake!  I know me too well. I was rolling on the floor at that one!

What do baby name books know anyway?  Who writes them?  Does a name really carry much weight?

I think it does to God.  Here is why I say that.  Remember Abram and Sarai of the Old Testament?  All God did was add an ‘h’ to them and they went from just “Father” and “Princess” to “Father of the Multitudes’ and “Princess of the Multitudes.”   And Miss Sarah thought it was hilarious!

But, it came to pass.  Constantly God gave names with plans in mind.

My favorite is one of Jesus’s closest disciples.  He started out as plain old Simon, but as time went on Jesus told him he would be called “Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matt 16:18)  When this guy would mess up, Jesus would refer to him as ‘Simon’, but would turn around and encourage him by using the name “Peter”.  Jesus let him know that he had high hopes and a lot of faith in him. How cool to be known as “The Rock?”  Before long the name ‘Simon’ got left in the dust and Peter is who we remember as being one of Jesus’s key instruments of carrying on the faith.

So Miss Chicken Heart has had an epiphany.   Even if I see myself as a weenie, God sees me entirely different and has faith in me that I can’t see.  I have been given hope in the ‘brave warrior’ tag.   Cliff’s name pretty much means a ‘rock outcropping’ and our daughter, Robin, is a ‘spring bird”.  No great revelations seem to be there, but  I think we must not be able to understand them.  Instead, there is great  mystery at what God has in store for the road they will walk with him.  Maybe Suswanna would not be such a bad name afterall.

This is what I know.  “He determines the number of stars and calls them EACH by name”. Ps 147:4.  If he will do that for stars, how much more stock does he put on his beloved children?  You have a name and you have a destiny-even if God only knows what it is today.  Trust and hope in that.

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2 thoughts on “When Your Parents Are Named Cleon and Myrlee

  1. Oh,Kelly I had never heard that story of what your mom almost got named. Reminds me of Neoma Shrauner saying her dad came in the bedroom right before her mom had decided to name her after both grandmothers and it would have been Oswelda Matilda. Her dad put a stop to it! And of course my name,Pansy Melvina and no one bothered to put a stop to that!

  2. I wonder if Jesus ever did that “Mom” thing with the disciples’ names…where in “haste” or “heat of the moment” you inadvertently name off all of your offspring’s names before you get to the name intended?

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