One of my earliest memories as a child is standing in a judge’s chambers. At the time I didn’t understand that this was the moment when the adoption of my sister and I was made final. The man I simply knew as “Daddy” wanted to make it official. He had already loved us as our stepfather, but on that day, he gave my sister and I his name, and secured for us all the rights that came along with it. I was quite young, so for years I only thought of that day as the day when I was given a better name than the one I had before.

It wasn’t until much later that I understood the commitment my Dad was making when he gave us his name. Even when he and my mom divorced several years later, he continued to call us his own girls. He continued to care for us and provide for us because we were his children. And until the day he died, he let us know how much he treasured us.

Many times, over the years, I didn’t live as though I were secure in my daddy’s love and acceptance. I didn’t always behave as though I knew my place in his heart.

Sometimes I am like that with my Heavenly Father. I lose sight of the amazing privilege I have as his adopted child to call him Abba, Father.

“But you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:15b-16, ESV)

Abba is not a term that was used in Jewish culture in addressing God, but it is the same endearing term that Jesus used in addressing his Father in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). And it this name that we have been enabled to cry out to, as his own adopted and redeemed children.

The more I know and remember my identity, who I really am, as a child of God, the more I am able to live in ways that reflect his character, the more I am able to live in ways that look like him. I walk in the confidence that I carry his name.

Nicole Jiles
Children’s Ministry Director

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