• Kristen Hepner

You taught me to be brave.

Dear Abby,

I found out you were coming into this world in a bathroom at the library on North Greenville University. I wasn’t ready for round two, but God knew I was. He saw each tear that fell that day and slowly replaced each doubt with joy and excitement.


You taught me to be brave.

Dad and I were together when they said, “it’s a girl” as they rubbed that probe on my belly. I think my heart literally leaped with JOY and my breath stopped. “A girl baby!” We couldn’t wait!

You taught me to be brave.

You arrived in the world early in the morning on September 11, 2003. We watched the memorials of 9/11 as I labored. You were a precious blessing to a nation that was still grieving.

You taught me to be brave.

The next few years were filled with tutus and bows, baby dolls and Barbies. Your nickname quickly became, “The Princess” and you lived up to your name so well.

You taught me to be brave.

You and Dayne were inseparable and after a whole life of wishing to have a sibling to grow up with, I could not have been happier for the two of you.

You taught me to be brave.

When you were almost three years old, your sister arrived. You cried. A lot. There was no room in your little mind for “that baby”! However, you quickly realized that she was not going anywhere, so you slowly began to TRY to like her.

You taught me to be brave.

It’s funny how the Lord gives us just what we need. “That baby” is now the person who knows you better than anyone else in the world. The way you two love each other makes my heart so happy.

You taught me to be brave.

When you were 4, we put you on a plane and flew you over the ocean to a very strange land. Your first day in our new house was scary, but you were so brave. You started to go to a school that smelled funny with people who talked in a weird language.

You taught me to be brave.

You learned that language, went to school, made friends, and all the while grew into a beautiful little girl who saw the world much different than other children. The Third Culture Kid trait was birthed full-bore in your heart and you embraced the title and the culture.

You taught me to be brave.

When you became acquainted with your love of books, your whole world opened up. The imagination that God gave you grew and the world became full of possibilities and adventures.


You taught me to be brave.

Times of change and uncertainty have not escaped you. Life has not been easy at times. You have been laughed at, called names, and never really fit in. Maybe this would be enough for some people to run and hide. Not you. You know who you are. You know who your God is. You know He makes you brave.


You taught me to be brave.

You bounced into your teenage years in yet another city. You have had more people than I can count come into your life, love on you, make an impact, and then leave. The never ceasing “see ya laters” have not made you bitter, but instead have taught you to make each and every moment count.

You taught me to be brave.

You have welcomed 4 other siblings and become their favorite and best teacher. You have a gift of patience and explaining complicated things of the world. They seek you out for knowledge and wisdom and admire you more than you know.

You taught me to be brave.

Today you are turning 17 and there really are not enough words that could help me adequately describe how much I admire and love you. The confidence you have in the Lord shines through your every action. You know who you are because you live by God’s truths.

You are teaching me to be brave.

Laughter bubbles over from your soul and inspires you to view the world as the beautiful place it is. The lightheartedness of the way your mind thinks make me envious as you’ve learned to laugh at any and everything. You are a joy to be around.

You are teaching me to be brave.

You’re unique, so smart, and hilarious.

You’re determined, so beautiful, and kind.

You’re gracious, so inspirational, and real.

You are so many things that I strive to be, and you are always teaching me to be brave.

I love you, Abigail Grace!


Happy 17th birthday.

Always admiring, Momma

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