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Just Two Things

Amidst the chaos of our too-late, after-midnight bedtime routine and in an effort to finalize potty-training, my wife and I get our middle child, Ellie, up for one more bathroom try.
Sometimes it goes well. We are greeted by a smiling child who hugs, giggles, and says, “I love you.”
Sometimes it goes not-well. Our arrival in her bedroom is met with a variety of shouts: “I DON’T HAVE TO POTTY!” “LEAVE ME ALONE!” “WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING ME?”
Either way, the ending is always the same. As her mom carries her down the hall to tuck her in for the remainder of a night’s sleep, I say: “Ellie, tell me two things.”
She knows the response I am looking for: “I’m beautiful and I’m your princess.”
Honestly, I have said it to her so many times she frequently rolls her eyes and says, “I already know that!” Good – I’m winning!
It’s important to me that she never forgets this. In a world that loudly tells our daughters, “You don’t measure up…you don’t have the right clothes…you must have a boyfriend to find value…your voice doesn’t matter,” I want my Ellie to hear over and over again from the first man in her life that she is beautiful and that she should be treated like a princess.
I am thankful for my only daughter and a bit overwhelmed at times by the job of raising my princess. I feel a responsibility to protect her, advocate for her, and set a standard of how every man in her life should treat her.
As I love her well, the words of Galatians 3:26 shape my parenting: “…for in Christ Jesus you are all [children] of God.” God gives us children – they are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. But, my goodness, the task can be daunting. Protect, but don’t shelter. Love, but don’t idolize. Bless, but don’t spoil. Discipline, but do not discourage.
Ultimately, I see my aim as her father to do one thing: love her as my father loves me, first and steadfastly. Parents model God’s remarkable love for their children. I will spend my days not letting her forget who she is, my princess and the princess of the most-high King.
Oh yeah, occasionally I also say, “Ellie, what do you do if a boy ever tries to kiss you?” She replies, with a mischievous smile, “Punch him in the throat!” Winning again!
Chris Lawson

Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

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