All the shades of gray.

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I am in the valley.

And not the bad one where vultures are circling and dying to stab out my eyes with their…beaks?

Do vultures have beaks? I don’t know. I only went to private school for a million years.

But a valley no less.

I am grateful. I say it over and over again, and I know it too. It’s more than a feeling for me. It is me. Because for so long, I was the opposite of it. But right now is a low time. Not in a deeply negative way. Just in a “lull me to sleep and don’t set the alarm” kind of way.

Because here’s the thing: I’m a doer.

And I’m doing a lot of things. But I’m not doing “the” thing. And I’m starting to learn, my friends, that “the” thing doesn’t even exist.

As a perfectionist who wants to box myself in and do that one thing that will mean I’ve finally arrived (even if it’s being the best fitted sheet folder this side of the Mississippi-okay who am I kidding? That honor goes to my mother-or the best vulture knower-about-er in these here parts, I want to shine. And not even for myself anymore. Just to know I’m honoring God).

And that’s the kicker. Because in the small still moments, or in the sad, dark moments, those are the ones where I feel Him most.

The everything moments? The ones where I’m on top and killing it? I can’t even feel Him hovering.

So there’s a point to the slowness (even though, to be honest, my schedule is far from slow). I guess I mean there’s a meaning to the disconnectedness of it all. That black and white are sitting so close together, that I can swipe them both with my brush, only to see the gray.

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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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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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