A little girl becomes a young woman

Tomorrow my amazing daughter turns 13. Thirteen!

Elizabeth, I can't believe that many years have gone by since I held you in one arm, tightly wrapped is a blanket just minutes after your birth. They say that a newborn infant's eyes can't completely focus right away, but I find that difficult to believe. As I stared into your pink face and deep brown eyes I was pierced to my soul by how intently your eyes gazed back. You weren't just dazzled by the lights of this new world. Rather, your eyes met mine and you were intent on my face, peering into my eyes with all your might and even trying to life your head to get closer. That moment forever marked me.

And it is a fantastic picture of your character. From your earliest moments you have been energetic, outgoing, and focused on people. You have learned the right meaning of compassion, of determination, of beauty, and of worship. All by 13. And that makes you a remarkable human being.

You have brought a brightness to my heart, like a fresh mountain breeze in the sunshine. Whether we're fishing, hiking, playing Wii games, singing, or even just driving to school in silence, I value every moment I have with you. I'm proud of the dedicated, hard-working, level-headed, compassionate woman you're fast becoming. You just keep doing what you're doing - there's no limit to the ways that God will use you.

I love you more than words can say,


A tribute to my teenage daughter!

Endowed... By Whom?

President Obama recently slipped up while quoting the Declaration of Independence. Not once, mind you, but twice. Both times he committed the same error, stating that "all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights..." Notice what's missing? Three simple words: "by their Creator."

Is it merely coincidence that a president who is known for his intelligence and public speaking acumen would commit the same simple error on two separate occasions, merely a month apart? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Either way, this all got me thinking about something that's far more important than Barack Obama, or any other president for that matter. It got me thinking about the importance of those words, "by their Creator." Why were they put in the Declaration of Independence in the first place? And what happens if you take them away? All sorts of bad things happen, unfortunately.

The Declaration of Independence gave moral justification to America's separation from England by basing it in "nature and nature's God." At the time it was written, one didn't have to be a dedicated Christian in order to embrace that document. "Nature's God" could be understood in a number of ways, Christian, Deist, or otherwise. The same is true today: One doesn't have to be an evangelical Christian like I am in order to support the Declaration.

But one does have to acknowledge the same "self-evident truth": that the fundamental equality of all men, which is what ensures our liberty, derives from the Creator. The consequences of failing to acknowledge this, as many people (including our president) seem wont to do these days, are potentially disastrous. I flesh this out a bit in a recent article at the Colson Center, in which I ask Do We Still Hold These Truths?

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