The name Abigael means Her Father’s Joy.
I truly cannot imagine a more appropriate name for my daughter. She exudes enthusiasm and creativity and compassion and kindness and, without question, joy. Abby is mature and thoughtful, responsible and insightful.
She is also zany. The bizarre and hilarious things that she spontaneously spouts crack me up on a regular basis. Ab has definitely come into a season of non sequitur humor and eccentricity that completely captivates and thrills me. One bold proclamation involving monkeys, tattoos, and waffles and I know beyond a doubt that she carries my DNA.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
When I consider the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galations 5:22-23 I can see so many of them displayed in Abigael’s life on a daily basis. She is loving and patient. She shows kindness to her family, her friends, and complete strangers. She is gentle and her maturity is evidenced in her self-control. Her smile is the visible bookmark of the joyful nature that so wonderfully characterizes Abby.
One of my favorite parts of being a daddy is having my children run out to greet me when I get home. The passing of time and the changing of natures have all but eliminated this kind of reception…a loss which makes me want to cry as I write these words. Abigael still lights up when she sees me, though. She smiles and says, “Daddy!” without shame or second though. The fact that she is 14 doesn’t dampen her willingness to put her arms around me and show the world that she is my kid. I am so grateful that God has kept that seed of joy growing in my amazing daughter.
It truly is to God that I owe my gratitude when I consider how blessed I am to have a child like Abigael. I have had moments of dumb luck as a father where I’ve said the right thing or responded in the appropriate manner but, I am devastated to admit, I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. It is so clearly the grace of a merciful God that has kept our cart on the tracks this long. When I need to see evidence of Christ’s love for me I need look no further than the face of my little girl.
Abby has a sort-of boyfriend now. He is a very nice and talented young man from an apparently Christ-focused family. She doesn’t talk a lot to me about him or her feelings, but it’s pretty clear how much she likes being with him. As much as I want my daughter to be happy, it is with growing sadness that I watch her move toward another phase of life and another step closer to a time when she will need me far less.
Life feels very uncertain right now. There are some parts of my existence that I thought were certain that are now looking a bit iffy. A constant that I know I can hold on to, however, is God’s faithfulness. Abby is flesh and bone proof of that faithfulness, and I am so glad that she is in my life.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the blessing of my daughter, Abigael. You have blessed me in a richness of which I am completely undeserving, but your mercy is unmistakeable. Please forgive me – and help Abby forgive me – for the times when I have not reflected Your nature as a father. Please build in me a redeemed heart that will help me be the daddy that my daughter needs now and will need in the future. Thank you that, even in the face of uncertainness, I can trust that You are good and Your mercy endures forever.