What’s up with your daughters name?

So we had our third baby. She’s the most laid-back baby we’ve had thus far. Of course, we’re two weeks in, so that could easily change at the drop of a pacifier. But here’s a quick picture of this young lady – we’re super happy she’s part of the “Criner Sister Club.”


We’ve gotten some odd looks when we’ve shared the name of our new daughter. Like we’ve lost a bet or something. I’ve also had some strange responses about the reality of having a third girl (don’t worry, some were strangers).  So I thought I’d try to answer a common question I’ve received soon after Talitha was born.

What’s up with that name?

This is a question we’re persistently getting from people. Mostly because of two reasons: 1. Many don’t know how to pronounce it. 2. They are genuinely curious how we came to the conclusion of this name.

Those questions mean no offense, as people are genially interested in our thought process but we take great care in what we’re naming our child and why. In our family, we’re not interested in unique names for the sake of being unique, and we take the meaning of a name very serious.

We made a choice from the very beginning to not know the gender of this child. So, we were left with thinking about several different names for each gender. Early on, we were told this child was small and that in fact, helped shape our direction of picking names. Side note, many did not know, but the last three weeks of her life in the womb were tense in the Criner household. Talitha was rating very small. But, by God’s grace, she began to grow rapidly from 10th percentile in size, to 30-40 percent. Whether it is true that Talitha will be small her entire life, we’ll not know until well, later.

All in all, when we heard the child would be small, if it were to be a girl, Abigail and I had a sense that we’d name her Talitha. We’ve always like the name, so that’s the direction we went. That leads to the next question…

Where did it come from?

The name actually comes from a story in Mark 5 when Jesus is approached by a Jairus, one of the rules of the synagogue. He fell at the feet of Jesus and implored Jesus earnestly to come and heal his little girl who is sick. The fact that Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet demonstrated his great need and his sincerity.

So Jesus goes. But along the way, they become delayed and are unable to make it in enough time to Jarius’ home before they receive unfortunate news – the little girl has died. But that’s not the way the story ends. Jesus tells Jairus, Do not fear, only believe. Again, Jesus is saying we will stare death in the face, and we will have hope.

Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him, they work their way through the mourning crowd and enter the home. He rebukes all the commotion as He says that she isn’t dead, but merely asleep – and they laugh at him. He sends them outside and he says “Talitha, cumi” which means “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

So, her name means “little girl.” It’s a story I love because it shows the desperation of a father. It shows an eyewitness account by Mark. It shows that Jesus has authority over everything. And like a good Father, it shows Jesus cares for little girls. A big job I’ve got.

How do you say it?

TAL-itha. We’ve also been calling her “Tallie” or as Ruth called her when she first saw her, “Tiny Tallie.” Either way, we’ll see what comes of it.

Hopefully this has been helpful. I’ll have one more post next week in regard to one of the most bizarre things I heard from the lady at Walmart the day after Talitha was born. It made my blood boil.

  • Tali Mullins

    I’m Austin Mullins’ wife and also named Talitha (pronounced the same way, go us!). My mom’s Bible had the definition of Talitha as “little lambkin” so my dad really took hold of that and ran with it. I got lambs from him for years. And I go by Tali, too! I can tell you right now, she’s going to be super awesome. 😉

    • michaelcriner

      You’re so sweet to say that! We’re super happy! And Austin is blessed to have you as his bride!