When we were little, my sister and I would sit at our little white crafts table after school and color while my mom made dinner. We would experiment with pencils, sharpies, watercolor, and pastels well into the afternoon, and nothing was better than sitting there for hours--except for when dad came home. Every day around 6:30 pm, my sister Charlotte and I would jump up from our creations, run down the hallway, and attack him. He would engulf us in a hug that felt like the safest place in the world.

My dad is one of the most influential people I know. He's genuine and honest; he speaks his mind and always says what he means, which is one of his greatest qualities. People don't always like to hear the truth, so this can sometimes be hurtful, but it's also what makes him such a trustworthy voice. He's not afraid to give you his opinion and challenges you when he knows you need it. He's always done this for me. When I ask a question, he might not tell me what I want to hear, but he'll always tell me what I need to hear. This quality about him is so special because I think it models how Christ loves. Jesus doesn't always give us exactly what we've been praying for or lay out all the answers on a silver platter, and He certainly isn't afraid to say "no" or "wait," but He does give us the answers we need and exactly enough information for where we are at that moment.

Not only does my dad challenge me and call me out when I'm not living as I should be, but he also loves me when I fail. He loves me when I'm not perfect and when I just can't seem to get it right. He comforts me when I'm angry and reminds me of the most important things in life. He tells me I'm beautiful when I don't feel like I am (inside and out) and encourages me on the days that just really suck. Throughout all the storms and waves that come crashing down and threaten to discourage me, my dad remains a constant that I can always count on.

Even in the time that's passed since I sat coloring outside the lines at our little craft table, my dad's arms have continued to feel like the safest place in the world. I know that not every girl can say that, so I'm thankful to have been blessed so immensely.