Free to Choose


                I have entered a new stage of life with my ten year old… all of a sudden she has gone from not ever really caring about what she looks like to all of the sudden caring ALL the time what she looks like.  Instead of questioning when we are going to be done shopping she lingers now as we pass the shoe/clothing aisles anywhere. 


                The defining moment of transformation was when she announced this past weekend that she was going to take a shower.  You have to understand that this announcement was not preceded by any reminders or suggestions from mom.  It was a self generated declaration of intent, completely unprompted by me, by my ten -year old that she was going to go bathe.  It is a new day my friends…


                Previously any suggestion of bathing was met with attempted hidden expressions of despair and occasionally the welling up of tears in those beautiful hazel eyes.  I never did understand why.  My only guess would be that perhaps because it’s not “fun” to take a shower, perhaps it requires too much effort?  At any rate I’m thankful for this new season of her life where I find her brushing her hair and looking in the mirror all the time-although picking out clothing has become quite the consuming experience.


                So the definition of mommy/daughter dates has been revised.  The ice cream cones at McDonalds and trips to the playground which once sufficed are no longer adequate.  These days it is a trip to the mall and the desire to have a latte’ and “look” around.  Our last trip found us browsing Clair’s Boutique in search for that “perfect” set of earrings to purchase with a gift card that she had received for Valentine’s Day. 


                I waited patiently as she looked at the MANY choices appropriately ooo-ing and ahh-ing whatever pair she happened to be holding at the time, only to see her put it gingerly back into its spot on the display and continue to search.  I attempted to make a few suggestions of my own, each met with brief and polite consideration but ultimately denied as the right pair. 


                Somewhere along the way I caught on to the fact that this was a decision that she desired to make on her own.  As much as she appreciated my company, this was an opportunity for her to be independent while also beginning to shape her sense of identity in fashion accessories.       


        I made a seemingly subdued effort to point out the details of the “sale” that just happened to be going on.  Being the deal lover that I am I tried to explain to her that if she bought 2 items from “this” rack that she could get another one for free.  She acknowledged the information with an adultish “hmmmm” accompanied by raised eyebrows but wasn’t immediately drawn to the rack-o-deals. 


                By the end of our excursion I’m happy to share that she found the treasure she was searching for.  They came in the form of little smiley faces decorated with rainbow colored peace signs.  She put them on immediately and seeing how proud she was of her choice, my only choice was to agree with her that they were definitely “her.” 


                As we walked away however I had to squelch a few thoughts.  One of how much more complementary I thought some of the other pairs would have been on her and two of how much better a deal she could have gotten for the money she had.  O.k. so obviously I need to relax a little.  She’s ten and rainbow smiley faces are fun and that’s just the bottom line of all of it!! 


                I am my Father’s Daughter.  As He so often does He took this precious yet seemingly unspiritual moment in my life to remind me of significant truth.   God loves us so much that He never forces us to choose what He would choose for us.  In Him there is freedom and liberty.  Of course we are always better off when we make choices led by His wisdom but He is love and there is no room for bondage or control in love.


                I know there are many times that I have made choices that He knew were not the best.  There have even been times when I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me in a different direction and because of pride, fear, or just plain old stubbornness that I chose my own way instead. 


                I also know that whatever choices I have made, wherever they have led me, He has never left my side.  He continues to love and encourage me even when….and those poor choices that I have made most often have more dire consequences than missing a two for one sale! 



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