And What is YOUR Name?


"Behold, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine."



The surname Atchley is translated from the Old English Ac: meaning "oak", and Leah: "grove". An oak is the emblem of virtue and strength and resiliency. To ancient Christians, it also represented worship. The Atchley crest is the dragon, signifying patience in battle, leading to final victory.


My maiden name, Gilreath, is Scottish in origin. It means, "Servant of the King." Our crest is the dolphin. It is said that those who used the dolphin as a symbol had a fondness for music and that the emblem was one of charity and affection. "Aye, we are a lovin' bunch, the Gilreaths. An' a bunch of singin' fools."

My husband and I attended a Bible class, taught by a precious, learned, older man of God. This man was not at all the "airy fairy" type, yet he admonished us, "Find out what your name means, first name and last. It has prophetic significance." As fate would have it, before we had ever gotten into our car to attend this class, I had made up my mind that whatever I would be taught that day, I was going to put it into practical action. I was going to obey the Word spoken. I was tired of hearing, and not doing. There were other things expounded to us that day, and they too had to be acted upon. Finding out the meaning of our names was, by far, the easy part.


And so began my delight in Heraldry. I traced my husband's surname. I traced my maiden name, and found fresh evidence of my Scottish ancestry. Deeply Scottish ancestry. Whew. That explained alot about me, right there.


The joining of two people in marriage is the joining of two names under one. It isn't the elimination of my original name, but rather a blending of ancestry, DNA, and prophetic destiny under one person's name. With each marriage, as the family tree grows, the significance of both names are meant to come together. Ideally, marriage is to be the "best of both worlds", combined and bequeathed to the future offspring.


But for the Atchley-Gilreath combination, the blending isn't always automatic.


Instead of "rock, paper, scissors", my husband and I should figure out a way to play "Oak, dragon, dolphin" to settle disputes. We just can't figure out for the life of us what the rules would be. I guess dragon trumps everything. But then again, maybe dolphin lures dragon into the depths of the sea, and drowns him there.


On November 8th, 1986, the English boy married the Scottish lass, and both fought to be the boss of the other for several years. If we don't learn from history, it indeed repeats itself. In our case, we called an eventual truce. The English boy has learned not to be so overbearing, and the Scottish girl has learned that authority can be a Good Thing. Today finds us enjoying the "Pax Atchley-ia".


..."and the dolphin shall lay down with the dragon"... much as the lion will the lamb, someday.


I usually let the English win...temporarily...while muttering under my breath:
"longliveScotlandforever."
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