Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Girl Named Duncan

My world changed forever on February 26, 1996 when this little blonde-headed, blue-eyed girl came into my life. She immediately stole my heart. We named her Duncan, after a missionary family who God used to impact me and many others in the world for Jesus. Yeah, I guess it's kind of a guy's name. We worried she might get some grief over it as she grew.

When she was little she loved tiny beautiful things: little flowers, rocks, shells, four-leaf-clovers (which she has always been able to find with ease).

Easter 2005
As she grew up, she was a walking paradox: tender yet tough, naïve yet clever, tomboy yet girly-girl, diligent and dedicated yet lazy and procrastinating, desiring to please yet sometimes a rascal. She was almost always happy but hated smiling when people watched.

I love her more than I knew I had the capacity to love, and more than words can express. Of course I could say the same about my love for Darla (in a different way), and for Drew and Dara. Drew will always be my only son and my firstborn. There's no comparison to that. Dara is my baby (she hates that moniker), we're a whole lot alike and we've always had a special relationship. But Duncan was my first daughter, and she's always been a daddy's girl.

Something happens to a dude when he has a daughter that is completely unexpected(it was for me, anyway). He sees the world differently. He gets softer and more emotional. He becomes much more protective. He falls in love again in a totally new way. Before Duncan was born, I remember wondering why men—strong men—would struggle and cry when they gave their daughters away on their wedding days. The moment I held Duncan in my arms—I was the first to hold her, by the way—I completely understood. And I dread that day.

Thirteen. Rough year for dad.
She's had more nicknames than both my other kids combined, including Punkin, Clover, Rascal, Dunky, DES, Nummy, and Princess. Honestly, I was scared to death when she turned 13 and entered the self-focused, boy-crazy, parents-are-dumb phase we call the "stupid stage" (which we all must pass through), and I was elated to watch her grow to stand strong for Jesus by age 16. In fact, of all my kids, I was more worried about how she'd turn out than the others!

She's a lot like her mother, and this is good. She loves making things look stylish, neat, and clean. She loves cooking and serving others. She has social grace and seems to know how to say just the right thing in all circumstances. She loves the beach. She is easy to be around and loves to make things fun, meaningful, memorable. She has great skin, tans easily, never stinks, and looks great in everything from sweats to swanky dresses. She'll study hard and make an A on a test only to forget everything she learned as soon as she turns it in. She has a sincere faith and is disciplined regarding reading her Bible and prayer. She's almost universally liked by others and is always trying to gently move people toward Jesus. You can count on her to do the right thing, even if she has to do it alone.

She's also got some of her dad's attributes. She's a bit of a daredevil. She's fight (as opposed to flight). She loves pondering theology and politics and loves to debate for the sake of determining truth (she's always been "my little theologian"). She loves classic cars—working on them, admiring them, driving them. She loves fishing and hunting. She's proud of her family and her name. She's passionate about missions (living up to her name). And she's not afraid to stand and speak the truth of the Bible in front of a crowd.

Oh, the stories I could tell.

She raised and saved money to go on a trip after her high school graduation. Not to the beach to party. She wanted to go to Indonesia, the country with the highest population of Muslims in the world and share Jesus. It was an incredible summer. God used her and grew her.

I could not be more proud.
I got to spend a weekend with the family around Easter. And the day afterward, I got to hang out with Duncan.

We went trout fishing at the Hiwassee. It was like a dream from which I did not want to awaken.

Duncan casting.

A beautiful river. Spring has begun.

She caught the only Brown Trout of the day and released it.
She really is a good fisherwoman. 

That's a stringer full. We caught 11 Rainbows
and Duncan caught a really nice Yellow Perch.
We turned the perch loose after this picture.

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