As our kids have grown, we’ve been struck by how completely they’ve grown into the meanings of their names. We like names. We particularly like Old English/Gaelic-sounding names. I don’t know why; we just do. But, it was important to us to choose names that we not only liked but that also had neat meanings. We didn’t use Bible names, but there was always a biblical character or verse that the name brought to mind.
Tristan Lee Rude
Tristan, our eldest, is our “David.” You can find all sorts of different meanings online for just about any name these days, but the one we saw and loved for Tristan was “lover, warrior.” Who else in Scripture but David fits that description? Our prayer has been that Tristan would become a man after God’s heart. That he would be kind and loving (minus the myriad women), but be a stalwart and fierce warrior for his King. He has always been a sweet-natured kid. To this day, at seventeen, he often hugs me goodnight before bed or first thing in the morning. Yet . . . he wants to be a Marine. He’s not overly vocal about his faith, but when you ask him, he offers surprisingly deep insights regarding the Bible and God. I’ll keep praying, taking nothing for granted, but he truly seems to be growing into a lover-warrior for his heavenly Father.
Tristan’s middle name is “Lee,” after his paternal Grandfather. Terry Lee Rude is a remarkable man of faith whose heart for God has impacted thousands. Literally—and that’s a conservative estimate. He has spent most of his adult life studying and teaching God’s Word. (In fact, he was my Bible Doctrines teacher before I ever met his son!) We are immensely grateful for the heritage of faith that Dad Rude has passed down to his children and grandchildren. If Tristan Lee grows into even one of his grandfather’s shoes, we will be beyond thrilled.
Aidan Gregory Rude (That’s him in the middle, with his cousin and . . . his Grandpa Rude.)
Aidan, our second-born, is our “Peter.” His name means “little fire or fiery one.” My mom, half-jokingly–half-seriously quipped, “You’re gonna regret that one!” when we told her his name. And . . . truth be told, his personality has been a challenge at times. But only because he feels things deeply; he’s pretty much all-in, whatever his mood. You know what, though? When submitted to the Lord, the passion and tenacity Peter displayed changed the world. Aidan doesn’t do anything half-way. (He’s like his Dad in that regard.) So we pray that the fire of his heart will be fed by a passion for his Lord and Savior, that nothing will hold him back or temper his enthusiasm for Life as a Christ-follower.
His middle name is Gregory. We are blessed to have a God-fearing, God-loving, God-serving heritage on both sides of our family. My Dad and my Papa (Gregory) love/loved Jesus with all their hearts. I remember seeing my Dad on his knees in the wee hours of the morning, day after day, praying faithfully for those listed in his prayer journal. My Papa was a Christian businessman who’s motto was, “You can’t out-give God.” He gave of his time, his money, and his love in service to his Lord. (And he used to pay me a quarter for every Bible verse I memorized.) We pray the same heart for God will be evident in what Aidan Gregory passes down to his children and grandchildren.
Ashelyn Rae Rude
Ashelyn . . . ah, Ashelyn. Her first name comes from the Irish name “Aislinn” (pronounced ASH-lin, hence our spelling—plus an “e” in case she ever decided to shorten in to “Ashe,” which so far, she detests the very idea of), meaning “meadow or dream.” Alone, it doesn’t have much significance—unless you know our daughter—but Rae means “doe or deer.” Immediately, we thought of Psalm 42:1, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Our prayer is that our imaginative, creative, free-spirit of a daughter will long deeply for the Lover of her Soul. We didn’t know before Ashelyn came into our lives that “hippie” was a DNA thing. Apparently it is. She is a flower child if ever there was one. To. The. Bone. She also has long, flowing, white-blonde hair. Go figure. But don’t be fooled; the child fits inside no box ever created. And, boy, is she a dreamer. But God knew that when he made her. Something we will never need to worry about with Ashelyn is peer pressure. She couldn’t care less what other girls her age are into. She’s too busy writing fanciful stories and poems, imagining new mythical creatures, and inventing games for her younger siblings and their friends. And yet, she is eager to please, loves Jesus, and has a sweet, tender heart. We can hardly wait to see what God has in store for Ashelyn Rae. One thing’s almost certain: the world probably hasn’t conceived of it yet.
Therron Lewis Rude
Therron, our third son, is our “John the Baptist.” Therron means “untamed,” and he is our little wild man—in a fun, crack-a-rib-laughing kind of way. He has always loved life and has kept us in stitches from day one. He has an incredibly quick wit and a jive that no white boy can fake. (We have NO idea where that came from!) Our prayer is that his zest for life and laughter will grow into a deep and dedicated joy in Christ that cannot be quenched.
Therron’s middle name is Lewis, for C.S. Lewis. We love Lewis’s stories and his writings on theology. He pondered deeply about his God, seeking to understand more of His character and becoming ever more in awe of Him. That is what we want for Therron Lewis.
Teagan Laura Rude
Teagan means “lovely.” Our prayer is that she will be lovely from the inside out. Now, color us biased, but we think she’s beautiful. However, Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” We want Teagan to understand that she is beautiful because she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), regardless of her outward appearance, and that true beauty shines out of a heart and spirit that are pure and lovely before God.
Laura was Paul’s maternal grandmother’s name. She was the matriarch of faith in Paul’s family—on both sides. She came to know her Savior as an adult, through a radio evangelist. She found a church, taught her own children and others by both word and deed, and prayed faithfully for her husband’s salvation for over fifty years. He came to Christ only weeks before his death. When her high school–aged daughter wanted to go out with a boy named Terry, she said yes—but only if he’d attend church with them. That is how my father-in-law came to know Jesus. She was a fireball and a woman of God. We would love for Teagan Laura to take up her great-grandmother’s baton of faith.
Brogan Edwards Rude
We actually had a fourth son. Brogan was our fifth child, born between Therron and Teagan. He was stillborn. But though he never drew a breath in this world, I fully believe that his life, short as it was, had a purpose. We chose the name Brogan because it meant “strong, sturdy.” (Ironically, he squeezed off his own umbilical cord. It got caught inside his elbow, and his little fist got wedged under his jaw, clamping off the flow of oxygen.) “Edwards” was for Jonathan Edwards, that bastion of faith and grit who had such an impact on Christianity in this county and beyond. We hoped Brogan Edwards would be “[an oak] of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3). And he has been. Not through his life, but through his death. Through Brogan’s story, seeds of faith and hope have been scattered. We’ve been privileged to encourage other hearts throbbing with the pain of losing a child. And we have had doors opened to us, to share our faith, that might have otherwise remained closed.
I think names are maybe more important than our modern culture considers them. They were certainly given weight in Scripture. But whether or not our names—or our children’s names—were given any special thought beyond “Ooh, I like that one!” we have another Name that we bear if we love Jesus and have accepted His sacrifice and His lordship: Christian—“little Christ, child of God.” Are we growing into it?