Daddy’s Girls

Hope and Rhema’s all-time favorite person in the world paid them a visit this weekend. He’d been away for six weeks when he slipped in the house early Friday morning while they slept.

When Rhema awakened he went to her room, scooped her into his arms and carried her down the stairs. They sat on the couch, and Rhema, the child who never stops moving, was still.

She stayed curled up in his arms, making her soft babbling noises for a long, long time. For once, she was not frantic.

It’s so hard to know what she is thinking and experiencing at times; how much she processes and even what she chooses to reveal is, most times, a mystery. But if I could hazard a guess as to what she was feeling as she sat there with him, it would be… Relief… Contentment.


Some time later when we heard Hope stirring, he went to her room, and I heard the most joyous sound of surprise and delight.


And then she couldn’t stop talking. First, she said to him what people always say to her when they haven’t seen her in a while:

“Well, Daddy, you’ve gotten so big!”

As he lifted her for a dinosaur hug, she patted his head.

dad_hope3“I love your hair!” she exclaimed as if trading compliments with a teenaged girlfriend.

Then the two of them got down to business. Ever since he left, Hope has been having nightmares. She insists that there are birds in her bed that “wake her up” and “peck her knees.” Daddy explained that last night, while she was sleeping he came in and caught all those pesky birds and sent them on their way.

Problem solved.

Still in his arms, Hope looked over his shoulder with a smile, and whispered to me,

“Hi, Mommy. I found my Daddy.”



After a fun day at the pool, we were all in the kitchen getting ready for dinner. I realized that Rhema was saying “I luh yew” over and over in her sing-songy stim. She was wandering around the room, looking at no one in particular, repeating the words, as if to herself.

“She’s saying, ‘I love you!’”, I said.

And then all four of us started singing ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’ out loud, in that same Rhema-voice, as we busied ourselves in the kitchen.


The weekend wasn’t all perfect. We still managed to forget to cherish one another at times.

But I learned something recently in a Beth Moore bible study that has helped me view the imperfections in my family with new eyes: “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor in vain;” (Ps. 127:1). When you view the “house” in that verse in terms of family, you realize that God is the one who custom-builds our families. Every member is there by His design, His composition, His assembling. Beth Moore advises, “Be careful not to expect your marriage, parenting, or even your singleness to be exactly like someone else’s.”

I am praying that the Custom Builder will continue to fashion, repair and strengthen my family and home even while we are separated for over a year.

We had to say goodbye again early Monday morning, but the weekend was an unexpected and priceless gift of time for which I will always be grateful.


Brandon is in his final stages of training at Ft. Stewart. His equipment has been shipped overseas, and he will finally deploy to Iraq within the next 2 weeks.

I saw this picture/article about a “Little Soldier Girl who “Didn’t Want to Let Go” as her father shipped off to Iraq. It reminded me of my girls.


*Photo taken by Abby Bennethum

31 thoughts on “Daddy’s Girls

  1. Since I didn’t really know my own father, i have collected a composite of traits and qualities in other dads to imagine a fantasy father figure of my own. I am adding these images of Brandon to my collection! What a lesson the girls are getting about their Heavenly Father who loves them both while He is present in their midst as well as when he must be absent for a time. May their faith grow because of this–being certain of things unseen. xo

  2. I am so glad you guys had a nice surprise weekend with Brandon! And I will continue to pray as he deploys.

    The picture of the little girl holding her Father’s hand brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine how hard it is for all of you military families as your loved ones deploy..this picture says it all.

  3. SO beautiful! What a wonderful surprise for your girls to have Brandon there when they woke! My heart was moved by their loving admiration of their Daddy. 🙂
    I’m so glad that you had a chance to be together. Praying for you, Brandon, Rhema, and Hope.

  4. the tears are falling on my arms, on my legs, on my laptop! i was thinking of you all weekend. as always, your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. I love both of their responses to being with their Daddy again! Both so sweet. I’m so glad that you got to have some time together. I think about you all every day. Hugs to you.

  6. Words fail. Deep gratitude to Brandon and his peers (few among us) for their service and to you and your (unknowing daughters) for sacrificing time with him for protecting us.

    Thank you, too, for sharing the sweetness of your family.

  7. What a precious gift! I love that he was able to catch all of those “pesky birds” for Hope and be peace embodied for Rhema. I pray you had some much needed time and special moments with your man as well.

    God be with you and the girls while he is away; God be with Brandon as he goes to serve our country.

    Blessings, peace, and hugs!

  8. I am so happy to hear they got to spend quality time with their daddy! That picture of the soldiers and the little kid clinging to her dad’s hand breaks my heart!

  9. I imagine Brandon will be hard pressed not to go AWOL if you keep posting stories like this.

    So happy to hear that you have more wonderful memories together to carry you through the months ahead.

    We’re praying for you all.

    Our love to you and the girls. C.

  10. I am so glad you had another weekend together. It is amazing how little girls connect with their daddies……making these extended deployments even harder. You guys are in my prayers.

  11. kyle sent me that picture of the little girl. and i too thought of hope and rhema, and my dear paul’s girls. and all the little girls whose daddies and mommies are fighting a distant war that they can’t possibly fathom. nor can i.

    i’m so glad you had this precious time together. may the time go fast until he’s back again.


  12. So glad you all got to spend a weekend together. What a blessing. I can’t even imagine… Love you guys and we’ll see you on Sunday!

  13. So sweet and yet so hard to read.
    “Hi mommy, I found my daddy.”
    We’re smiling, we’re still smiling…and we’re crying.
    Love and grace to you.

  14. I’m so glad ya’ll had that unexpected time to spend together, what a treasure!

    “I luh yew” and “I found my Daddy!” your girls are both so precious!

  15. What a treasure your posts are. I’ve laughed and cried, and know a little better how to be praying. Especially now during Brandon’s deployment. My heart truly aches. Sending much love your way.

  16. you never fail to amaze me! you are an awsome mother and woman of God. i will be praying your strength as your honey gets ready to take off. know that you are not alone. i know you have your family but if we can EVER help in ANY way please let us know.

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