I’ve prayed to die more times than I can count. From about 14 or 15 onward, I’ve been praying somewhere between 20-200 times per day to die. I pray it as a song, in words, in moans. It’s been the one counterpoint in frequency to “I love you” said to my wife, and “I live to serve” said to everyone.

But Maddie was born a bit over a month ago, and suddenly, once. Like not for one day, but one time on one day.

Some people would feel bad if they prayed to die. But for me it was such a surreal moment where almost out of habit I find it being asked, then I stopped and thought for the first time, maybe ever, that I genuinely just feels odd now to pray that.

My love for my wife was enough to stick around. I have her my word and I kept it that I’d stay. But I can’t pretend that it was always what I wanted. But then Maddie shows up and I don’t just choose to stick around- I want to.

Baby girl, when you grow up and you read this, if one day you do, know that the combined love I found I was capable of between you and your mother is quite literally reason to live for me.

I didn’t hate life, I wasn’t discontent, I was just bored. The sum total of the remainder of my days just seemed so predictable that I did dangerous things, ruined my life even at times, just to mix it up. But then you show up, and it’s just the right type of unpredictable. You’re certainly not boring. And I enjoy the way you make each day a challenge.

I figured out pretty much an expert level how to love your mom perfectly. I’m not saying I’m perfect but I’m saying I’m certainly the perfect husband for her, and she is the perfect wife for me. But right now the things that I don’t know about how to be a good dad to you could fill volume after volume of books. I’m enjoying the discovery, relishing each moment where I realize just how not enough I am. It’s fun being so incredibly insufficient that I know I have to rely on Jesus to even possibly make this time worth it. I don’t speak of worth it for me, but worth it for you – that my time here would be well spent in making you feel loved, and reflecting the love of Jesus to you. This is a journey I’m enjoying, and I only pray that one day you would so fall in love with Jesus not because we force you into it, because we love you in a way that shows how Jesus loves us.

I can’t wait to see how you grow up, but even in this moment I’m enjoying watching you grow day by day. We laugh at your funny faces, we smile when you do, we cry when you hurt. I love you so much little kid, and you haven’t done anything to earn it yet. Just like that is how God loved me. Not based on what I did, but because he’s the father who wants nothing more than whatever is best for us. I hope our loves shows that to you in a powerful way.