It was great to have all of our family in for the day to support us and see Rylee dedicated. It was also a lot of fun having my mom and dad help us do "God Rides." I've been telling everyone my Mama could tear up a piano. I think the point was proven. Getting to play drums with her playing and my dad leading the song was great. I enjoyed those days so much and getting to reminisce for a few minutes was well worth it. Having Pastor Joiner and his wife Kathy with us again was also wonderful. The Joiner's have meant so much to me since I met them some twelve years ago. I owe so much of my ministry to Pastor Joiner's teaching and mentoring. It was just a great day for me and Billie altogether.
The greatest part though had to be Rylee's dedication. Having Pastor Joiner and my dad do the dedication meant the world to us. The gift of Rylee's first Bible and then the gift of our own "how to" Bible was very special. The reminder of the purity and innocense of Rylee's heart and the need to share Christ with her at a young age represented by the white and red roses was even more special. Being able to hold my little girl and stand with Billie as we dedicated her back to God was priceless.
There was never a question of whether we would dedicate Rylee. We recognize her as a gift from God. For me, she's the child I was praying for. It's not to say I would've been disappointed with a boy, but I've wanted a girl long before we started planning for our family. I want to be her protector and be the kind of influence in her life that will cause her to grow up strong in the Lord, strong in her love for family, and with a clear understanding of how special she is . . . too special to just give her heart away to just anyone . . . too special to sell herself short in her dreams . . . too special to not be everything she was born to be. I want her to know the love of her Father in Heaven and her Daddy on earth and in knowing those deep, never ending loves, I want her to know that she doesn't have to look to someone else for acceptance or to feel valued. I wanted another Billie and I have a feeling Rylee will be like her Mama in many ways . . . and that's fine by me. I'm blessed to have the greatest wife in the world and to have a daughter even half way like her makes me the luckiest man on the planet.
So Rylee Bug . . . your Daddy loves you baby . . . more than life itself. You can't read this yet, but I hope my words and actions make you feel that every day of your life. I'm going to take you everywhere. You slept through your first zoo visit, but they'll be plenty more. There will be Disney World and the princesses, New York City and the oversized Macy's Day Parade balloons, the beach and dolphins, the mountains and snow, and you'll have to put up with your Daddy's love for historical markers, battlefields, and other sites. You're going to have to be a Braves fan at least early on. And whether you end up yelling "Go Dawgs!" or "War Eagle!", I'll love you just the same. The journey is just beginning little girl and I'm going to hold your hand every step of the way. And when a hand held just won't do, you can always know that my arms are always open for you. I love you baby girl.