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.