“Ready for bed, darling?” I call out to my daughter. With my wife out of town, it’s just me and my girl tonight. We’ve already hung out most of the day, watched some shows, and enjoyed dinner with my friend, now ready to finish out the day.

My daughter responds with a sleepy sigh.

You’re definitely ready for bed, I think to myself as she’s practically asleep in my arms. I hate waking her too much, so I pick her up and take her to her bedroom. As I lay her down, I whisper my usual prayer over her.

My prayer isn’t long. It’s nothing special, in all honesty. I didn’t pull it from a special book of prayer or anything. The prayer combines a line from Scripture and my own wish.

As I lay my little girl down and watch her eyes seal shut, I whisper over her, “The Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace. I pray God leads you always. Sleep well, my darling. I love you.”

I walk out of the room, gingerly shutting the door behind me. Though I’ve already done this who knows how many times, my mind still ponders this amazement.

I have a child. God actually gave me a life for whom I am responsible.

My daughter learns everything from me. Everything about life, about who she is, about this world — all of it starts with Lisa and me. What’s more: everything my little girl will know about God starts with me.

It honestly scares me at times.

I know the mistakes of a parent can have incredibly long-lasting ramifications on a child’s life. I still struggle to this day due to things my parents did or said, intentionally and unintentionally.

Honestly, I know my daughter will carry my mistakes with her for the rest of her life. Things I’m not even aware of that I’m already doing will have a negative impact on her; it kills me inside to know this.

My heart is ripped apart over the thought that I will, at some point, fail my daughter and cause her to struggle.

I am also thankful that God, her perfect Father, will never fail her. My one hope and relief is that Jesus will always be there for my little girl in ways I can never possibly be.

This is my comfort: that my daughter has a better Father than me watching over her and caring for her.

Being a father, it’s made me realize even more so my desperate need for a Savior. It’s also showed me the great love that God has for His children. I love my girl so much that I would do absolutely anything to protect, teach, and guard her.

But I know I will fall short all too often.

That’s why I pray for the Lord to bless her, keep her, and give her peace. Three things I know I can never give her all the time. And I know that, if I make it my one goal to remind my girl of this every day I can, she will come to know Christ as her Savior.

All this floods my mind as I walk away from my daughter’s bedroom. I return to the living room and plop down next to my friend who is also lost in thought. “Everything all right, man?” he asks.

“Yeah,” I reply. “Everything is good, man!”

I have a daughter, I think to myself. One of the greatest symbols of God’s grace I could have ever imagined.

Do you ever play back mistakes from your parents as you consider your present-day emotional and sexual struggles? Are you a parent who struggles with day-to-day decisions for your children?

* Photo courtesy ivaman, Creative Commons.

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