What's in a Name?!?

As you have probably heard, Ashley and I are expecting a baby boy at the end of September. We are beyond excited. We have discussed a multitude of names and have finally decided on a name for our son.  We wanted to pick a name that we love and also has meaning.  We believe we have found one that meets both criteria.  So we are happy to announce the name of the next Hudson boy will be...

LEVI LOCKEY HUDSON 

LEVI

Levi is the name of Jacob & Leah's 3rd son in the Old Testament.  I identify closely with the story of Jacob as he wrestled constantly with the struggle between his own human identity and the man God created and called him to be.  His ultimate identity was not found in his own cunning ways to gain notoriety but in the God who saves and redeems sinners.  He is one of my favorite OT characters.  Also Jacob and his wife Leah met under unusual circumstances generated by wrong choices that God used to create a lasting bond in spite of the choices that landed them there ... a story that resonates deeply with Ashley and I.  

Levi was also the priestly tribe of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Our Levi comes from a heritage of people set aside for God's service so it is fitting.

In the New Testament, Levi is the name of the tax collector Jesus called as one of his 12 disciples.  He also went by the name Matthew.  And if you know the story of Matthew, you know it is one of scandalous grace.  Tax collectors were some of the most despised and dishonest people in the Roman Empire.  And yet Jesus stops specifically at the booth of Levi the tax collector and invites him to become one of his followers.  The grace of Jesus crossed boundaries that no religious person in his day would even approach.  He pursued sinners like Levi.

When Matthew followed Jesus, one of the first things he did was to invite Jesus to a party for his friends and acquaintances - who were all labeled "sinners" (Luke 5:27-32).  The religious were infuriated Jesus would attend such an event and hang out with such shady people. They even labeled Jesus a "friend of sinners" - a title He embraced and affirmed.  Levi stands as an amazing testimony of God's radical grace and how he crosses boundaries we tend to frown upon to extend his message of forgiveness and love. Ashley and I have experienced this grace in a real and lasting way and we want the name of our son to reflect that reality.

The name Levi means to be joined in harmony.  Ashley and I have been joined to Jesus and each other by grace and Levi is a product of our story of redemption and healing.  We want his name to echo the pursuing, radical grace of Jesus.

LOCKEY

Yes - you read that correctly.  His middle name will be Lockey.  My grandfather (Pappaw Hud) was named Lockey Lynue Hudson.  While Lockey is an unusual name, we want Levi to be named after my Pappaw (and his great-grandfather).  Pap Hud was a man whose life was forever changed by the gospel of Jesus.  For his first 40 years, his life was marked by vile living, alcohol abuse, fighting, and depravity.  And then he encountered the grace of Jesus and his life was forever changed.  The second half of Pappaw's life was marked by gentleness, delight, humor, grace, and a love for Jesus and his family.  I never knew the "old" Pappaw.  I only knew the Pap Hud defined by grace.  He was not perfect.  His faith was raw. And that's one of the things I most loved about him. There was no facade.  He never forgot where he came from and who He was in Jesus. 

Prior to the conversion of my dad and then grandfather (who God saved after one of Dad's first sermons), there is no real history of faith in our family.  In other words, I am just one generation removed from a family tree marked by scandalous living.  My Pappaw serves as a reminder of how redeeming grace transforms not just individual lives but generations to come. 

Pap Hud has been gone for several years now. I still miss him.  He and I were close. I spent two of my high school summers living and working with him.  I will never forget those times. It was in those day-to-day moments where I saw his faith lived out in a real way.  He was not a pastor, preacher, teacher, or deacon.  He was just a man who loved people, who people loved, and whose life was marked by grace.  It is with great honor we name our son after him.

We love you Levi Lockey Hudson. And we hope your life is marked by the same grace that has transformed our lives. 

What's in a name?  A story marked by grace.


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