Not every man lives your story.
Surrounded by PMS and feminine accoutrements, not to mention long hair clogging up the drains. Yup. Five females and a girl dog to boot. That’s what God gave you.
It’s not been intuitive.
It’s not quiet.
And never straightforward.
But it’s compellingly mysterious.
And intriguingly complex.
While there’s no step by step instruction manual for loving a house full of girls, you’ve leaned hard on Jesus and dived into the adventure.
Thanks for doing that…for them and for me.
Today we celebrate you—the man our girls call Daddy, the man who made me a Mama.
We celebrate all that you have given—time, talents and resources.
All that you are.
And all the ways that you love well.
For your lavish gift of time.
From diaper changing ditties,
And bedtime stories of Hobbits, Jungle animals and Narnia read then re-read,
Dancing to DC Talk then Waltzing Matilda,
Building with Legos and blocks and in sand along the beach,
Playing board games and card games and computer games,
Leading and volunteering in youth group and on missions trips,
Riding your bicycle 300 miles for orphans,
For your amazing generosity.
Twenty three years ago, we put a down payment on our little Montrose starter house.
every year since then you’ve taught and written and translated and edited to provide for all our needs and so many of our wants.
You’ve funded books and lessons, classes and college.
You’ve provided reliable transportation that’s taken us about a million miles back and forth between Texas and Michigan….and beyond.
Our bellies are full with yummy food and tasty treats that we pay for at the grocery store with the money you’ve earned.
For the unique skill set and talents that you’ve stewarded so responsibly:
Teaching our girls practical skills like riding a bike and driving a car,
Tutoring in math and science and Greek and Hebrew,
Training in logical thinking and problem solving.
Talking about God’s story in ways that infuse respect, honor and trust for His character expressed through His Word.
“What’s that, Daddy?” came first but later morphed into “Why?” about doctrine and theology, politics and ethics, evil and suffering, justice and mercy.
You’ve invited their questions at every age and stage, engaging them respectfully and giving them wise answers to consider.
You are so much more than what you do.
You are practical.
Never too proud to do dirty work.
When we’re all coming apart at the seams, you’re strong and stable. Hard stuff does not undo you.
You think out of the box.
It was your vision that set us on our crazy beautiful home schooling journey.
And you crafted a proposal, developed a curriculum and patiently worked the steps to strategize an unprecedented plan for moving back home to Michigan. You did so at significant personal and professional cost, focusing instead on love and mission.
You’ve dreamed of alpaca farms and apple orchards, magnetic inventions and interactive online Hebrew curriculums.
Some of your dreams came true. Some didn’t.
Most of all, thanks for the ways you have loved us.
For taking relational risks.
For defending and protecting us.
For making sacrifices on our behalf.
For engaging the hard redemptive work of learning to live with a delicate balance of gentleness and strength.
Love is more than what you do or who you are, it is intentionally marrying courage, humility, kindness and teachability to sincere affection.
What I admire most about you is that you’re trading in the image of competence for the humility of brokenness.
You’re modeling for the girls that they don’t have to pretend they are perfect or all put together.
That God loves a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
That He often reveals our brokenness in the context of family, which is where He also delights to do repair.
You are offering them the freedom to live authentically in relationship to you.
To take risks.
To find an ear and a shoulder when they do.
We’re learning together that parenting isn’t a checklist, doesn’t get mastered and never really ends.
We just keep trying to figure out what it looks like in the next phase.
Leaning into friendship and influence.
When God gives a man your story, it says something about His confidence in you.
God chose you to be Angela, Lily, Robyn and Starla’s Daddy.
He didn’t make a mistake.
He knew you were the right guy for the job.
I know it too.