To my beautiful girls, As I write this, you are 4 and 2. You fill my life with a happiness that I never imagined to be possible. Every time I look at you, I see a small glimpse into the heart of Jesus, and imagine for a fleeting moment, how he must feel when he looks at us. You've taught me more about Jesus than any sermon, bible verse, or book ever will.
As desperately as I want to somehow slow down time, or stop it all together, I can't. The truth is, you are going to grow up. You are going to grow from little girls, into young women before my very eyes. There will be days when you want nothing to do with me, and this breaks my heart to think about. I know it doesn't seem like it, but there will be days when your dad is the least cool person you know.
I hope that as you grow up, you understand a few things about relationships, and that by observing your Mom and I, a few things about marriage. Marriage isn't perfect. It isn't easy. You can't approach it like a shopping list, spending years creating the perfect man, then checking that list off with each boy you become interested in. It's so much more messy, beautiful, complicated, and wonderful than that.
I'm not going to lay out a list of "must haves" for the men that you will marry. For me to assume that I get to pick your husband would be naive and selfish of me. You are your own people. I would hope that over the years, I've loved you in such a way as to perhaps shape your tastes and desires for a man. I would hope that by watching your Mom and I, you will have a very real idea of the way that a husband should treat a wife.
My one and only desire for you is that you find a man who will spend his entire life, not trying to make you happy, because I don't believe that's what marriage is for, but trying to emulate what the Jewish people call "the great shema," found in Deuteronomy 6:5.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
That's it. Find a man who will spend his life trying to fall more in love with Jesus, and I'll welcome him into the family with open arms. I promise you that.
I believe without a doubt that you are not my property. You are a gift to me from God. As far as I'm concerned, you're on loan to me from him. I get the indescribable honor of being your Dad, and getting to watch you grow up and turn into young women, and some day, give you to a man to start your own family.
Don't ever let anybody tell you what you can and can't do. If you want to get married and start a family, great. Do that. I support that 100%. Maybe you don't want to get married. That's okay. Don't ever let anybody tell you there's anything wrong with being single. Your worth is not tied to your marital status. Please understand that.
Maybe you want to be a full time mom. I think that is a wonderful thing. But maybe you want to have a family, and a career. There are a lot of people in the church, people who I think really love Jesus, who are going to tell you and your husband that you can't do that. Don't listen to them. If you want to have a career and a family, then figure out how to make that work, and do that. The world needs that. The world needs you.
I only pray that I would continue to point you to Jesus. I'm a human, and I'm going to let you down. I'll blow it, I'll screw up, I'll say something stupid that will make you not want to talk to me for weeks. Jesus, he won't. He'll be there. He'll pick up where I fall short.
I love you more than anything, my beautiful girls. You have my unending support and love, no matter what this life may bring you. My love for you is not conditional. Neither is His.
All my love, Your daddy.