Nothing in my hands.

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I’ve been doing this all wrong.

In my own self-centered way, I’ve been raising my daughter in my image. I’m not good at the letting go, the giving up. The watching as control slips its hand out of my own.

She’s not me. And I am not God.

I’ve had a renewal in my faith recently. You might think the Christian life goes something like this: no God, and then God, and then absolute perfection from here on out.


Life as a Christian looks more like an EKG. The ups and downs of the human heart are always inevitable. So there has been a wide desert I’ve been roaming for some time now. My faith shattered, my heart on a deep coast downward. But we’ve been listening to Tim Mackie of The Bible Project who gets down to the nitty gritty: this whole thing is a story of life eternal with Christ at its core. It’s not about harps and white robes and angelic singing in your ear. It’s about the here and now and the constant renewal and restoration God freely gives us. It’s about the heartbeat of this world that will keep beating into the next. And how all of this is merely reliant on a faith in a God who’s bled real blood for us.

And if life is determinant on something way beyond me, why do I expect to be the one to “fix” my daughter? My daughter doesn’t need fixing. My perception does.

She is beautiful and bold and says and does things I only dare to do in my head. She can’t be caged in and “good girled” into submission. She is truly and fully her own creature who is hell bent on charging forward in a rush of pure justice and laughs almost maniacally sometimes when something hits her funny bone.

And she can be crude and rude and find the words that weave swordlike into your soul because nobody is perfect. Especially not her.

And yet, she is exactly everything God has intended her to be.

So I can’t force her submission to Him. And I certainly can’t let fear play into my hopes of her loving Christ and committing to Him through an act of baptism. I have to let her choose Him in the same way He’s chosen her.

He’s the one who’s writing this story. I’m merely the reader.

One of the smartest things she’s said is that she’s not ready for baptism right now. She loves Jesus and she’s on His team, as she says. But she doesn’t want to get baptized just because everyone else is. She wants to wait until she can fully accept the weight of what following Christ is all about.

She’s weighing the cost. Jesus knows a little something about that (Luke 14:28).

And isn’t it ironic that a former atheist turned Jesus freak at thirty-three is overly concerned about somebody else’s spiritual formation at this age? I mean a lifetime is a lifetime, and sometimes, it takes that long to know the truth.

To count the cost of what we build.

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This one’s for you, Mel.

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I wasn’t going to write today. I’ve been too busy dancing with a demon and crying at very inopportune times, like driving towards incoming traffic and pretending I’m singing my favorite Hanson song to throw off the faces speeding towards me.

These? They aren’t tears. They’re mmmbops.

But then my father called. And after I spoke to him, I had to sit down and write.

My father is the male version of me. Or perhaps I’m the female version of him. I’ve known this for a very long time on a very deep level. We have our differences, of course. He’s the guy who the entire line to Spaceship Earth knows by the time we enter the ride and who is thrown a “Hey, Mel!” as we’re walking through Epcot, whereas I’m sitting down in said line, talking to my friend. And by friend I mean reading a book. And the only time anyone says “Hey!” to me is when I accidentally walk into the men’s restroom. But besides that, we’re practically the same person.

He has a heart for greatness, just like me. It’s just that our circumstances have never gotten the memo.

But here’s the thing about my dad: he’s the hardest worker I know. And everyone loves him because he genuinely loves them. He’s taken care of his family from day one, and I always think how amazing it is in this day and age to have somebody who truly loves you, no strings attached.

So in my mind, he is great. But just like him, I have a hard time seeing this in myself.

I keep typing up those memos, but it seems like they’ve all been sent to nowhere.

So talking to him was a reminder of what great really looks like, and I have to imagine it’s the same sort of great God is on board with. A heart outward-focused and a mind tailored to the good of others.

And a soul set free from its former binds.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have an mmmbop in my eye.

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Reading the fine print.

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My daughter wants to be a detective when she grows up.

This means she’ll have to be a police officer first.

It’s taken everything in me not to shout, “Do you even watch the news??” Which would be a moot point considering I already know she doesn’t.

Also, I don’t either.

But the blaring screens at my gym seem to think being a police officer is a losing game right now, and my child apparently didn’t get that memo. She talks about her future career like God’s already printed it on her heart, and she’s merely reading the directions.

She reminds me of when I was twelve and knew I was going to be a writer some day.

You can’t stop what providence is already in the midst of working out. As much as I want to worry and cry and scream and pull out my hair at the idea, I’m also realizing she’s been built for this.

Her journey is to bring God glory, not me.

Her life won’t be easy but that’s not something any of us are promised. My only hope, really, is that her life is used for the good of others and that she bows to nobody but God.

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