Dear Ragan: a Daddy's Reflection on His Second Daughter Turning 16

A few years ago I wrote a blog post regarding my oldest daughter Kayleigh turning 16.  This week my second daughter Ragan crosses that threshold as well.  I am in denial and shock.  My sweet princess is 16! How does this happen?!?  Time is a cruel taskmaster and a wonderful gift at the same time.

On this special day, I want to remind you Ragan of a few reasons why your Daddy loves you "to the moon and back" ...

1) You have a caring heart.

I love Ragan's heart.  She cares for people. She loves her family and friends.  She has a tenderness about her that is unique.  Her heart has been captured by the gospel and it gives her a loving kindness that few young ladies her age have.

2) You are growing into a beautiful young lady.

As Ragan gets older, she is growing more and more beautiful.  I love her cute smile and happy personality. Her naturally small frame is the envy of anyone who has to "work" to stay in shape but it does not define her.  In a day and age where culture has so many expectations on what a young lady is supposed to be and look like, she is discovering her true beauty is found in her identity in Jesus.  Her beauty flows from the inside out.

3) You are naturally affectionate.

Ragan is the child who naturally holds my hand and kisses me when she sees me or tells me good night.  Even our dog Toby knows he can give plenty of kisses to Ragan when others turn away from his slobbery affection. When our life took some tough turns a few years ago, Ragan still wanted to be close to her Daddy and show me that she loved me no matter what. I will never forget how affectionate she was to me in my most difficult days.

4) You are unique and special in more ways than you can imagine.

Every child has their own special place in the hearts of their parents. For me, Ragan captured her Daddy's heart from the beginning.  Our closest family and friends know that Ragan has a nickname reserved only for Daddy: Two-Two (translated Double Two at times).  It is a nickname I gave her early in life for a couple of reasons. First, we are both the middle child of 3 kids - the "second born" as my Dad likes to say. Second, she was born on December 22nd.  Two-two is a natural nickname for my Ragan that reminds me how precious she is to me even as she thinks she is outgrowing cute nicknames.

Ragan has a unique and special place in my heart and in the world around her. She is a talented dancer. And dancing matches her personality perfectly as she transitions through life in a graceful yet spunky manner.  I love this unique blend that makes her special.  She has so much talent and I can't wait to see where life takes her.

5) You have integrity.

Ragan and I have been discussing the complicated world of relationships and dating for a while. I admit that these are tough waters for me to navigate and I do not always get it right.  Sometimes my expectations seems a little unfair or strict to her.  She has had to have tough conversations with boys that are not always easy or popular in the culture around us. And yet she handles these situations with respect, honor, and integrity.  She has often told me the truth in situations where it would have been easier for her to withhold information.  Her honesty and integrity stand as examples to me and it prepares her for a life where telling the truth is not always easy or encouraged.

6) You love Jesus deeply and He loves you even deeper.

I am a flawed father. I have disappointed my children many times and will do so again in the future. And that is why I always point them to Jesus who will never fail them.  As God refines my heart, I pray my example of brokenness and redemption serves as a reminder to my children that God redeems us for His glory and our faithful obedience comes out of living continually in the gospel of Jesus Christ in whom we find our identity and fulfillment. 

Ragan has a passion for Jesus.  She spends time with Him. She worships Him. She serves Him. And it is His deeper love for her that will enable her to live in faithfulness to Him. And when she fails Him it will be His faithful love that restores and heals her heart.

Daddy loves you Ragan Noelle Hudson.  You are my Two-Two.  And as you turn 16, know that I am proud of you and look forward to watching Jesus continue to grow you for His glory.

PS - and no you are not ready to hit the road by yourself ;)

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