I wanted to thank you for being the kind of man that I could adore. Today is not a special day. It is not Father's Day or your birthday. But the older we both become, the more I realize that I will not have as many opportunities to tell you how much I love you.
There are many things I will remember about you until Jesus comes back or my earthly life comes to end. I will not forget the delight in your eyes when you saw me walk into the room. I will not forget the comfort of your arms or your ability to calm me with your prayers. I will not forget the way you say, "Jesus, Jesus" reverently under your breath without even realizing that you are calling on His Name during the day.
I'll remember the Timex watch you gave me when I was seven and how important you made me feel as I opened that black velvet box. I won't forget how you loved me through pimples, weight gain, braces, and the awkward years of adolescence. You told me frequently that I was so beautiful I could win the Miss America pageant. I didn't believe you, but I loved hearing you say it even as I rolled my eyes. You were the one man I knew who thought I hung the moon even when others treated me as though I was invisible.
One of the biggest lessons you have taught me is that Jesus is the Redeemer. You have been the only living person of your immediate family for over thirty years since Grandma died in your late thirties. You lost your own dad when you were eleven and two brothers who never lived to adulthood. You have never let yourself become bitter. Instead of running from love, you have loved your own children with all your heart. I always knew, even though I was hundreds of miles away from you, that you would drop everything to come be with me if I called you.
You have lived a life of integrity before me. By God's grace, you and Mom have been faithful to each other for 46 years. The two of you have so become one person that I don't know where you end and she begins. I want that with Rob and me. You are a team. Thank you for loving my mother so well. And thank you for showing me what I wanted in my own marriage - that it was okay to be picky, to wait, and to, most of all, marry a godly man.
Thank you for being fun. Thanks for spoiling me, for being extravagant with gifts just because. For going the extra mile to serve me. Thanks for all our special dates when you would treat me to a restaurant meal and ask me what was going on in my heart.
Most of all, thank you for making Jesus the center of our home. Thank you for your passionate love for God's Word, for giving it the highest authority in our home, and for teaching us children its truths through your life. Most of the greatest spiritual lessons are caught rather than taught. Your life has undeniably been ruled by your Master. And we are all the beneficiaries for that.
I love you, Daddy. What a legacy you have left to me. May I follow as hard after Jesus as you always have. And you're right: I always will be your little girl, even if I live to be ninety!
All my love,