Getting Personal 1- Thank You Abigail

Can I get personal? Since the beginning of our church, there have been four people that have come alongside this journey that have never left me and always been faithful- Andrea, Anna, Alex, and Abigail, my family. Today, I want to thank one of them, our youngest daughter, Abigail. She literally grew up in our church and has served it in many capacities. For several years, she has been our lead keyboard player. In the next several weeks, she will transition to college at the University of South Carolina. She is precious to us and has also been faithful to loveAB God and serve him at Forest Pointe. Pray that she will continue to grow in her walk with Christ as she steps out into the place where she will take her next steps in her journey with Him. Here is something I wrote as she graduated from high school this summer. I wanted to share it with you.

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you’ve been asking me
I think you know what I’ve been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

I used to sing those familiar lines from Billy Joel’s “Lullaby” to our youngest, “Dear Abigail”, when she was a preschooler. She was born with bright curiosity in her eyes and a joyful presence befitting her name. In Hebrew, Abigail means “Daddy’s Joy.” She is that for sure (and her mother’s joy as well I might add). And this weekend, she graduates from high school along with thousands of other young men and women looking hopefully to a bright future.

With these robe wearing, tassel-turning, future gazing students are their parents, holding tenaciously to memorable scenes filed away in the folds of their minds. With every turning tassel and cap-throwing senior are thousands of memories. Those scenes are precious and we hold on to them for dear life. First steps, first words, and first days of school give way to first dates, first papers, and first days of college or life in the workaday world. The first time away from home overnight leads inevitably to the day they leave for extended semesters. So many memories…

I remember her with no hair as a baby and now majestic hair flowing in the long locks of a brown-haired Rapunzel. I remember t-ball games that gave way to softball and soccer games giving way to club volleyball. Participation trophies ultimately became MVP awards. We raced to piano lessons to get there on time when she was young and rejoiced in the developed talent that exuded through her fingers and spirit as she touched the keyboard on Sundays during worship and brought us closer to God as a young woman. Tucked in between these memories are countless others- discovering new life in the brand new puppy hidden in a basket at Christmas and encountering death of another after lovingly administering IV’s daily as a family for almost a year; seeing if the lottery would work to get in the high school of choice; serving on mission trips to love the “least of these”, applying to colleges and the bittersweet process of it all. And then there was Commissioner’s School and Governor’s School to give us a preview of what life would be like when you fly off to college.

Roots and wings are the best two gifts we give our children. We want to give them the roots of a place called home and the ability to fly freely. We courageously want them to fly free, but desperately want them to come home.

And so, today we revel in the sweet fulfillment of graduation for those near and dear to us. We gather them in our arms and release them. Graduation means to leave one level and move up to another. Life is like a swing set, leaning back and kicking forward produce the feeling of flying. So fly from the nest graduates, but remember to lean back into the arms of those who love you most. As we release our graduate, I cannot help but feel the words I used to sing right before she fell asleep.

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

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