Alexia, thank you for giving me the gift of being your father. Before your mom and I ever met you, we loved you. I was so grateful when I saw the first glimpses of you on a black and white monitor and the doctor told us we were having a little girl. We prayed over you every day and dreamed of what our family would look like with you in it.
When I finally held you for the first time, I was moved by how little you felt in my arms and how big the world seemed around us. I wondered why on earth Jesus would trust me with something so monumentally important as raising a daughter. To this, I simply felt God answer that He would be there to help. Being a good dad in this world takes hard work. None of us are perfect, and I hope that as you grow up, you will offer me grace as I strive daily to be the world’s best at something that I’ve never done before.
As your dad, I pray for two important things you will need in order to be the woman God has called you to be. The first is to be strong. Never be afraid to do what’s right and pursue what others say is impossible. The Bible is full of strong women that God used to change the world. Being strong will take different forms in different seasons. Regardless of the season, you will never be stronger than when you are following Jesus. Your mom is a wonderful example of what this looks like.
The second is to be tender. God’s strongest leaders always kept tender hearts. It’s a beautiful thing when your heart recognizes the slightest impression from Jesus. When life challenges you to close your heart to others, He will challenge you to love them more deeply. A tender heart will ensure that you focus your God-given strength on the right things, in the right time, and for the right reasons. It’s in this place that you will be most effective.
So today, as you drift to sleep in my arms, I’m softly praying over you: may you be strong; may you be tender; and may your daddy always be the sweetest man you have ever known.
YISRAEL VINCENT is resource development manager for the Assemblies of God Church Multiplication Network.