“These are the things I have lived for”
It is important for me to start off telling you how much my wife and I dislike you. I imagine my daughter has told you not to worry, 'my dad does not like any guy that comes home' and she is correct, partly. She is correct in telling you I dislike every guy who comes around, but she is very mistaken to tell you not to worry. I do not like you, but it is also important for you to know I believe in grace and mercy.
These are gifts I have received a great deal of in my life. You will, with my sincerest apology, have a much harder time receiving from me what I was so freely given. And for further perspective on this matter, know that I was given this grace from One who had far less reason to give it to me than I have for you...like eternally less! You know what I mean?
What am I saying? You ought to know what I mean, or you and I should not be having this conversation.
All this being said, there are a great number of things you are going to need to know and listen to if you are to pursue my daughter; that being the first thing: my daughter is to be pursued. She is not to be conquered or won like a little boy's game. This is going to require an enormous amount of your time and even larger amount of your energy. If this is the first I have ever heard of you, you may walk away now and begin a larger and longer pursuit.
If you have been pursuing with integrity, friendship, and honor, there are now a few other things you ought to know. It is an expectation that you will one day provide for my daughter, but listen very carefully to me...
Food, shelter, and finances does not make you a provider. You are nothing more than an assistance program.
A man is to provide far more than finances. How prepared are you to provide presence? You will need to learn and prove that you know how to be entirely present with and for my daughter. Do not assume that being in the same physical space makes you present. Do you have the capacity to be present emotionally, spiritually, and integrally? If you do not, then this conversation is over and you have some work to do.
If you need to hang around a bit and watch the way I love her mother, you are welcomed to do so. Watch and learn!
Because you must understand this; if I am ever (and this remains a large "IF") to give my daughter's hand, it will only be because I place her into hands I trust will be present in at least a fraction of the way I have strived to be for her since long before you ever came around.
Still the only MAN in Bryleigh/Haddisen's life,
ps. I still dislike you
While we realize physical absence certainly has an affect, I am thinking today of the realities of emotional absence. As a pastor and leader, you are expected to be on-call and at the ready at all times. You are to be fully available for everyone at all times, and we too often justify this as "the life of ministry".
Pastors, ministry leaders, those days you are absent (both physically and emotionally) are gone forever. [TWEET THAT]
Look at the ministry you have and realize that everything you do can be done or shared by someone else. Only you can be husband to your wife (or wife to your husband). Only you can be mom or dad to your kids.
I am trying to challenge myself to lose less and less days forever.
Today I ordered my NASB Wide Margin Leather Bible. I should say I ordered Bryleigh's Bible. Per the example of a couple father friends of mine, I am embarking on a story between father and daughter. I will be walking slowly through this Bible writing out my brief commentary in conversation tone. Each writing is to address Bryleigh with God's story and my hopes for her.
Once she turns 18, the Bible will be my gift for her.