by Joel Lawler
My eldest turned 15 on New Year's Eve. I really am enjoying the person that she is and the young lady that she is growing into.
There is a picture of her that I really love. She is just a few weeks old and I have her tucked into my shirt. Her little face is so beautiful and peaceful. When I would get home from work, my wife would hand her to me. I would sit with her and listen to her coos as she would drift off to sleep. It was my favorite part of the day.
It is hard to see her growing more and more independent. I often joke with my kids and tell them to "Stop growing up!". My littlest guy will say back to me, "I can't help it".
I was talking to a friend of mine who has a son who is twenty years old. He said, "When they are born, you hold them close and tightly to yourself, then from that day on you slowly are letting go".
Letting go is tough but it is necessary. As a dad, I want to hold onto each moment and for them not to change. I also want them to have a life of their own.
My eldest is a vegetarian. She has not eaten meat for over a year. There is part of me that wants to tell her to eat meat because she needs the protein. She is not done growing yet. There is another part of me that knows that this is a part of her breaking away to be her own person. She made this decision on her own.
As we go through life, God does not control us. He allows us to make our own decisions. We are not his puppets. He has designed each of us with a purpose and desires that we seek the path that he created for us. He wants us to want to have a relationship with him. He does not force it on us. He waits patiently for us to choose to love him.
My daughter came home from school with Obama buttons on her purse. She supported him during the election. I am not a big fan of his at all. I doubt there are many issues that he and I would find much common ground on. She knew this. She also thought this out and decided to support him for her own reasons. She was not doing it to rebel or be difficult. She has a mind of her own and came to the conclusion that Obama was the right person to be president.
We have talked about politics and I have discussed why I believe what I believe. She feels differently about things. I would like for her to see it my way but I love the fact that she is strong enough and smart enough to weigh the choices and stand by her convictions.
God communicates to us in many ways. He uses nature, the Bible, people, stories and many other things to make himself and his ways known to us. He created us with the ability to weigh the evidence and decide for ourselves what we are going to believe about him. He desires that we know the truth about him but he does not force it down our throats.
Love is a choice. We get to choose to love God. It is a part of how God made us.
On inauguration day, my daughter sent me a celebratory picture of Obama.
I responded by choosing to send her a picture of a ham.