My grandniece has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. SMA-1 is a disease that causes progressive loss of motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy. Type 1 usually shows in babies 6 months and under. The infants will have difficulty moving, eating, breathing, and swallowing. They will be unable to lift their heads on their own and unable to sit up on their own. Most victims of this disease do not survive past age 2 due to respiratory failure. Abigail has already survived the odds, but her life is not an easy one.
Abigail must often be rushed to the hospital. Even a simple cold could be the end. She recently gave us a fright as she was once again loaded into an ambulance and carted off first to an ER and then a PICU. Abigail takes it all in stride, and today she is going to teach us a lesson we all need to hear.
My niece, Abigail's mother, posted the following on Facebook.
"Abigail's full name is Abigail Andreia (on-DRAY-uh) Saltz.
[Her father] was very partial to "Abigail," and I...was not. He always wanted purely Biblical names for our children and I told him we could use Abigail IF he could think of a middle name that had three syllables, accent on the second syllable. He stretched his Biblical names rule by choosing a Greek word for her middle name meaning "brave," because it seemed a fitting descriptor for the queen we were naming her after and an admirable quality to live up to.
Wow. The things you don't know.
I have told Abigail what her middle name means so many times now that she thinks her *actual name* is Abigail Andreia Brave Saltz. When she has to do something scary she says, 'Gimme a minute. I' takin' away da Andreia and da Saltz so all I have is da Brave. Brave means being still even when you're scared.'
Today the IV techs marveled at how still she was while putting in her IV.
And this is what people mean when they say their children teach them far more than they teach their children."
Abigail has always been the happiest child I have ever known. I always suspected she was brave—children who have physical difficulties often are because of the things they experience from early on. Now I know exactly how she does it. She "takes away" the names that might be in the way so she can make use of the name that counts--Brave.
Can I ask you this morning, what names do you need to take away? The only name that should count for you is Christian—a child of God, a disciple of Christ. That name will give you strength when temptations arise. It will give you peace and contentment when you don't understand. It will give you courage and steadfastness when trials beset your soul.
And why is that? Because through that name we have life (John 20:31), we have hope (Matt 12:21), we have justification (1 Cor 6:11), we have remission of sins (Acts 10:43) and salvation (Acts 4:12). We also have absolutely no excuse for failure because the one who wore that name left the example for us to follow, and said it was possible to do so.
Four year old Abigail knows the power of a name. Remember the name you wear. Take away all the others and use that one to be faithful to the end.
Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! (Ps 99:3).