Dear Ava, Five years ago today you were born and my life changed. I will never forget looking down at your sleeping face the day you born. I remember thinking my heart might explode I was so overwhelmed by the love I felt for you. Sometimes at night before I go to bed I still make my way into your room, cover you back up with the blankets you inevitably kick off, and look down again at your sleeping face. That feeling hasn't gone away. I still can't believe how much I love you.
I've wanted to be a daddy since I was little boy and on April 12, 2008 God gave me you. Today you turn 5-years-old and for some reason it feels like a new chapter in your life is beginning. There's no more baby. There's no more toddler. You're a little girl now. As you begin this new chapter there are five reminders I want to share with you on your fifth birthday.
1. Jesus loves you more than daddy ever could
You know I'm not a perfect Daddy. Sometimes I can be crabby, selfish, and impatient. Jesus is none of those things. When you were at your worst, Jesus gave his life to love you. Daddy loves you more than you will ever know and there's nothing I would not do for you. But, on my best day, my love can't compare to Christ's love for you.
2. Always follow Jesus
Everyone in your life will have expectations of you. Daddy, mommy, your brothers, friends, people at church...everyone. Sometimes these expectation will align with Jesus' expectations and sometimes they won't. What matters is that you follow Jesus. Even when it disappoints others, follow Jesus.
3. Even when all else fails, Jesus is faithful
Psalm 36:5 says, "Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." You will have days where it seems everything and everyone has failed you...including me. BUT, on your darkest day and in your most difficult season, Jesus will be faithful.
4. Daddy loves you more than any boy ever will
You are a smart, funny, creative, strong, and beautiful girl. This means a day is coming when boys will come around wanting to date you. On that day they will have to sit with me (most likely while I clean what I hope by then will be a large gun collection) and answer a host of questions. No matter what they do and what they say, never forget that apart from Jesus, no one will ever love you more than daddy. I promise to both declare and display my love for you each day, so that you'll always know this to be true.
5. You can always talk to me about anything
It doesn't matter what it is. Even when it's bad. Even when it's scary. Even when it hurts. There will never be anything you can't ask me, tell me, or talk to me about. I love you. I will always love you and you can always talk to me about anything.
My life changed with that first look at your little face and I'm so thankful for you. I know you won't read this today, but I hope one day in the future you will find it and know how much I have and always will love you. You're my joy. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!
With Overwhelming Love,