Today, my beloved, you turn 40. They say that this is a ‘milestone’ birthday. A stone pillar that stands in the ground, marking the distance from where you’ve come and where you’re going.

Our days are numbered, love. The thing is, we don’t know how many we’re given. So, is this middle-age? Perhaps – I certainly hope so. Or not quite middle-age (because I’m praying that along with work ethic, bone structure and hair colour you got those same strong Martin genes of your 90-something grandfather).

Although I’ve only known you for coming up on nine years, I know that you’ve come a long way in these four decades. From ditching Mustangs and speeding motorbikes to zipping our Sweet Girl around the neighbourhood in her Power Wheels, you move forward with determination and intention.

You are a good man. A steady, solid rock. At once humble, strong, loyal, passionate, fiery, justice-seeking, honour-giving, solution-finding, problem-solving, creative, teachable and tender. I am inspired by how, despite the cost, you have chosen to live outside of what you were taught was the only right way and redefine for yourself and our world what a God-seeker looks like.

We’ve been through a lot in our short years together – hard, beautiful, miraculous things. Do you know what might be the most illustrative of our life together? Remember the doctor flippantly giving you the news that while my surgery had ruled out cancer it was still very bad? You were steadfast. When I couldn’t walk, let alone fix my hair? You brought me strong coffee and dry shampoo, sat on the steel bed, kissed me and brushed my hair. You, love, made beauty happen in the broken. Because that’s what you do – you are part of God’s redeeming work – just doing what needs to be done.

Have you seen the way our Sweet Girl looks at you? You are her Hero (and mine too, for what its worth). I’ve seen the way you look at her. She is very much your Princess. What a gift. May it always be so.

While you’re not perfect, you’re wonderfully made and perfect for us, your girls. You’re growing and in process, and if nothing else, as we creep up on this mid-way point, haven’t we learned to release the pressure of perfect and embrace that in process is really where we should be until glory where we’re really made perfect?

Our days are numbered, love. We don’t know the days of our life, but I do know this: if these first forty years are an accurate past predictor of future things, the best is yet to be.

Happy Birthday.