A purity ring, a thirteenth birthday, my beautiful Alyvia Grace...
This is the letter I gave to Aly last night when I gave her a "Purity Ring" last night for her 13th Birthday. It's her birthday today and I'm so grateful for her life. I love you Aly Grace.
My dear Alyvia Grace…
I can’t believe this day is already here. It seems like just yesterday I was holding you in my arms, cradling your little body in the hospital room and crying as I looked at your beautiful baby face. You looked so much like me and you still do.
I imagined in that instant all the important moments of your life that were yet to come and this was one of them. From the beginning, I planned on taking you out and giving you a “purity ring” that would remind you of how much your heart is worth and how important it would be to guard it with everything you’ve got.
You see, up to this point your mother I have been doing our best to guard your heart. We have shielded your eyes from things we didn’t want to you to see. We’ve been guarding where you go and who you go there with so you aren’t introduced to something that damages your heart and your outlook on life. We have protected you from anything that we believe would injure your innocence and ultimately steal your peace and joy as a young girl. It has always been our desire to stand in between your heart and any harm that could contaminate your spirit and your future.
But you are not a little girl anymore; you are a young woman, still in need of our protection, but doing more and more apart from us. We aren’t with you all the time, nor should we be. (that would be weird) You must grow in your ability to live on your own, develop your own convictions, learn to listen and be sensitive to God’s Spirit that whispers in a still, small voice within, guiding you toward righteousness and away from evil…you must begin to guard your own heart. And your purity is worth protecting. I would go so far as to say that your purity is the most valuable thing you possess.
Someday, you will meet a young man who will be drawn to you (and I’ll have you know I’m praying for his purity, too). He may at first be attracted to your pretty face or the figure of your beautiful body, but if he is the right kind of guy, he will be far more interested in the beauty of your spirit. Believe me when I say that there is nothing more priceless or precious that you can give your future husband than your purity. When he asks you whether you have kept your mind, your heart, and your body pure from sin, there is no greater gratification than being able to tell him that you “guarded your heart like a warrior”. You can even look down at the ring on your finger and say, “This ring reminded me that this day would come.” The ring has no power to keep you pure, it only serves as a reminder in times of temptation that “waiting is worth it”. It’s so much bigger than not having sex. It’s not letting your spirit be corrupted by what you listen to, look at, think about, or talk about. This ring is a symbol of your purity in the same way your wedding ring will be a symbol of your faithfulness to your husband in good and bad times. It’s a physical symbol of a spiritual commitment.
But know this, you’re going to make mistakes along the way and when you do, God will swiftly and softly forgive you, as will I. If you ever break your commitment to stay pure, it’s not the end for you and I will not forsake you. I will cry for you and with you, but I will love you and be with you as you pick up the pieces of your heart and let God heal you and make you whole. He will pick you up, dust you off, and use you in spite of your failure. Got that? You never have to hide from your father for fear of disappointment or losing my love. I will always love you no matter what. I will hug you and hold you should you fall or falter…that is what God has done for me in my failures and I would be a hypocrite not to do the same for you.
Lastly, I’m proud of you like nobody’s business. I love your personality, your abilities, your interests, and mostly your heart for God. I don’t think a daughter could make her daddy more proud. You’ve won my heart, Aly. If ever you get married (I quiver at the thought) and a man takes your hand and leads you away from me, I will begrudgingly allow that. But if that man ever drops the ball in protecting you and loving you and caring for your precious heart that your mother and I have worked so hard to protect, I will get in my car and drive to wherever you are. I will search for and find you and when I do, I will do what I’ve always done…I will hug you and hold you and we’ll figure out where to go from there, together. You’ll never be alone, never ever. Cause I’ll always be your dad, and you’ll always be my daughter, and no one and nothing can ever change that. Period.
So on this special day, a day that celebrates 13 years of your beautiful life, I want you to know that your mom and I love you deeply and dearly. We will always love you and cherish you. And I, as your father, will promise to do all I can to keep you pure and protected so that you can have the best future imaginable. You have my word. You have my heart. You have my love.
Happy Birthday, Gracie Grace,