I’m sure we all did that thing when we discovered the internet as kids and went to a baby names website to look up what our names meant. I used to spend hours on that site looking up my name, picking names for my future children based on meanings. I used to write a lot of short stories and I would go onto those sites to find a name reflected some kind of trait I wanted my character to portray.
A few days ago, I somehow wandered onto one of those sites and decided to look at my name again; but this time, I looked at my full name.
It means grace. I’ve known that since I first found those sites as a middle schooler. The name has Hebrew origins directly from the Old Testament. Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel who had a horrible cross: she was unable to bear children. She prayed and offered her suffering to the Lord, bore her son and offered her joy to the Lord. She offered Samuel to the temple and he became a prophet.
I was given my middle name after my dad’s side of the family. “The Morgans” traveled from Wales to America on a boat and settled. Morgan is a Welsh name that was originally “Morcant”. “mor” meaning sea and “cant” meaning circle. So Morgan means “sea chief” or “sea defender”.
According to Ancestry.com, Crites is the Americanized spelling of the German word Kreutz. I entered “Kreutz” into Google Translate and the result was “cross”.
So my name, Hannah Morning Crites, means “graceful sea defender of the cross”. Dang. That is one intense definition.
Names give us our identity. When I am talking with a friend about John Smith, the person I am talking to is able to immediately place John’s face in context because I use his name.
In the Bible, God changed Abram’s name (high father) to Abraham (father of a multitude); Sarai’s name (my princess) to Sarah (mother of nations); Jacob’s name (supplanter) to Israel (having power with God); and Simon’s name (God has heard) to Peter (rock). This is a big deal because these individuals lives and identities were completely transformed by God, they were born again. They established new identities.
Names are our identities so from here on out, I’m going to be the defender of the cross that my name has identified that I am. I am a Catholic and my name tells me that I should defend that using the grace I receive from the holy spirit.
My challenge is to take some time and reflect on your name. Reflect on why it was given to you and what your name means. Embrace the meaning and establish your identity in it. Names are more than just words. It’s who you are.