What’s in a Name?

In Congo, names have great significance and insight into the character of an individual. Oftentimes, parents will wait weeks or months before naming a new child. For instance, the woman who cooks for our volunteer house is Mama Furaha. The Swahili translation of “furaha” is “joy”, which perfectly depicts her delightful and exuberant spirit.

When we are introduced, many Congolese inquire about the meaning of my name. After a week of responding with a puzzled and vacant stare, I channeled my inner research enthusiast and asked Jeeves. So, according to Wikipedia, “Megan” means brave, pearl, and precious. I’ll take it.

Although initially I doubted any correlation, further contemplation has revealed a deeper level of connection.

Brave: ready to endure or face unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear.
Not that I have already obtained such a level of bravery, but my aspirations are that this step of faith will develop courage. A bit of self-disclosure? I have felt fearful, inadequate, and incompetent to be here in Congo and serve in this way. Yet somehow I have hope for this brave new world…

Pearl, the other meaning of my name, has far greater significance in my life. The pearl is a perfect example of beauty which comes from ashes. A simple, ordinary thing such as the innards of an oyster, refined through the agitation of sand within its shell to produce a valuable jewel.

I think about my past, my story, my life and I am inspired by how God has transformed me similarly to a pearl. He has redeemed my life from the pit. Perhaps the most encouraging part of it all is that as the oyster’s shell protects the pearl from complete destruction when the harsh waves come, so God holds me in the palm of His hand and protects me as He refines me into a precious gem.

So I wonder, for those of you reading this, what does your name mean? How does this meaning have significance in your life?


16 responses to “What’s in a Name?

  1. Alicia-Marie Christensen

    beautifully written! I love you and miss you soooo much!
    I’m going to go look up my name, and then I’ll let you know πŸ™‚

  2. Again, loved this post. Took me to a really cool website:
    Who would have thought there was a “namipedia” but it told me all sorts of interesting facts about my name and gave me some comments people had written in who share my name.
    My fav part though…the nicknames section.
    Leeny; Co; Eenie; Coll; Leen; Coco; Colleeny; Beany; Colly

    And yours dear friend:
    Megaroni (and cheese)
    Maggie (I don’t know why, but I have a friend named Megan and she’s called Maggie)
    Mooo(I Have A Cuzion And We Alll call her moo):s
    Meggera (I’m a Megan, and its my nickname. It has stuck with me for years now)
    Nutmeg – i’m a megan and after a night with the girls one came out with what about nutmeg and it stuck:)

    Loved reading this Nutmeg.
    Love, Coco

  3. You are our brave precious pearl. Miss you today, but know you hate eating anyway! πŸ™‚

  4. Megan – You have been on my mind all morning. Like crazy. Somewhat out of nowhere. In the shower I thought of your family having thanksgiving with you in the Congo … and said a prayer for everyone. I was just putting on Christmas music to start preparing the turkey and thought of you. I’m not sure why christmas music and a turkey made me think of you but regardless … I said a prayer. I hope all is well out there. And yes, you are a brave, beautiful pearl. Lynette

    • I’m glad that Christmas music and turkeys brought me to your mind…thank you for your prayers and encouragement! It doesn’t quite feel like the holidays here…but maybe that’s a good thing because I’d surely miss home even more.

  5. So my name means “bitter one” and I was named after a waitress. It’s just the best story, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ No bitterness here!
    Our little girl will have a name with meaning, we made sure of it!
    Happy Friday. I know how you like a good shop, but we’ll hit it together next year.
    Love, mo

    • I’ve attempted to look up your name and prove you wrong, but our prehistoric internet is slower than a sloth today…
      BUT, you win for uniqueness. Remember, I was one of four girls named Megan on my dorm floor freshman year.

  6. My name means “Little King” in Scotch-Irish tradition. Need I say more?

  7. Meguster – there’s not a single nickname in that list that I haven’t called you at least 47 times. I’ve even got more than that. Anyhow, to continue with this thread, guess what?! my name means lame.


    We miss you Medgey.

  8. And don’t get me started on my LAST name! Cheese village? so, I am “bitter cheese village.” I think there has to be some humor there. And I have always believed when I write something I’ll use a pseudonym of my choosing.
    Miss you.
    love, mo

  9. Brave & Pearl sound accurate to me πŸ˜‰ Beautifully written to Meg. You definitely have a gift with writing and expressing your thoughts in a really neat way!!!
    Keep it coming…

    So, Nicole basically just meant: Victory & People….Also translated to Victory of the People… Hmm…I’ll have to think on that πŸ˜‰


  10. Dearest Megan,
    I have always loved the name Megan and when I hear it, I think of you and you define it for me. It means to me; brave, precious, pearl. Who stole my description of Megan?

    Sarah means princess. My grandfather (Pa-Poo — Greek for grandfather)called me this. I don’t remember him ever addressing me as Sarah. He was special to me as he was a house-husband and I would often go to his house for lunch when my mother was gone and he would make things I liked. In the summers I would spend a week w/ him and several weekends at their farm up north. I think that’s how I started to believe that I was actually royalty. πŸ™‚

  11. Gabriel Brubaker

    Hey Megan, the meaning of my name is “God is my strength”, God is your strength as well.
    with Love

  12. Pingback: Freedom | Megan On A Mission

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