My husband hates it when I tell the story of how we first met.
“I was not at my smoothest,” he always says.
And he’s right. He wasn’t. The man who can give me butterflies with one glance made a horrific first impression by uttering my five least favorite words:
“Are you Voddie Baucham’s daughter?”
Phillip was asking for a legitimate reason: he was looking for my dad at a meeting. But at the time, I wrote him off as just another fanboy who would only ever see me as a byproduct of my father’s well-known ministry—never as a person with my own merit.
It happens a lot.
Just Call Me Voddie’s Daughter
When I started blogging again, my core audience was people who had followed my father’s ministry and were anxious to see the fruits of his labor.
Which makes sense, because a lot of my dad’s ministry centers on cultivating a godly family. One of his books is even called What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. (My husband never gets tired of those jokes, guys; throw one at him the next time you see him.)
In my readers’ minds, I had been raised in the perfect home environment, undergone the perfect courtship, and was now having the perfect marriage with the perfectly godly, handpicked man of my dad’s dreams.
Admiration for my dad was so intense that when my son was born, people asked if he would be named “Voddie.” They didn’t suggest naming him after my husband, the baby’s father. They wanted to name him after my dad. He wasn’t Phillip’s son to them. He wasn’t even my son. He was Voddie Baucham’s grandson.
What Would Your Dad Think?
There are still a lot of people who don’t know who my father is. He’s popular in a specific subculture, but when I’m at the mall no one is going to run me down for an autograph.
Your parents don’t have to be famous for you to know what it’s like to grow up in their shadow, though. If you come from a “good”—stable, two-parent, Christian—family like I did, it can be easy to grow up feeling like your beliefs aren’t really yours but Mom and Dad’s.
This feeling is why so many of my Christian friends had crises of faith in their teens and early 20s. They’d gone to church their entire lives, but they’d just been parroting what their parents thought. They questioned whether they’d claimed the faith for their own.
I went through that experience too. And as I crawl out onto the other side and begin to own my faith, it looks a lot more like Jasmine Holmes’s and less like Jasmine Baucham’s. This change could have happened while I was single, but marrying my husband and moving out of my home helped me to make the distinction between my parents’ faith and my own.
I still affirm God as Creator, Christ as the only Savior for sinners, and the Bible as God’s authoritative Word. But, in other ways, my faith has taken on a new character. I no longer feel the need to parent my son, communicate in my marriage, and define my life’s calling in quite the same way my parents did in their home. I had a wonderful upbringing, but my parents had the opportunity to shape that upbringing based on their convictions and their own growth.
I’m just asking for the same opportunity they had.
But as I changed and began to publicly own my beliefs, a crowd of voices rushed to put me right back in my place. Voddie’s daughter, what are you doing? What would your father say?
Growing Up and Branching Out
Don’t get me wrong. I love my dad. As a homeschool student, he has been one of my favorite teachers, counselors, and confidants. We have myriad memories, inside jokes, and well-worn conversat topics. He is my biggest advocate, my constant cheerleader, and my rock when the stresses of this life overwhelm me.
My dad was an amazing earthly example of God’s fatherly love toward his children (1 John 1:3). He protected me (2 Thess. 3:3), he provided for me (Luke 12:24), he patiently instructed me (Ps. 25:12), and he led our family (Ps. 5:8). He did all of these things imperfectly, of course—God is the only perfect Father—but he did them with love, commitment, and diligence.
But my dad is still a flawed human being who isn’t accountable for my walk with Christ. I’m responsible before God for my own obedience.
In Proverbs, Solomon tells us that children are like arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior (Ps. 127:4). Arrows do a warrior no good if they stay in his pack; they’re made to be launched in battle.
Many people fail to consider that children aren’t made to sit in their parents shadows for the rest of their lives. They’re made to be launched from their homes into a hurting world after having been trained to bring the good news of Christ Jesus.
All the teaching and training my parents poured into me was ultimately being poured for God’s glory. I’m not ultimately a testament of Voddie’s faithfulness, but of God’s.
Called By His Name
My husband hates that the first words he ever said to me were “Are you Voddie Baucham’s daughter?”
But Phillip has proven ten thousand times over that he sees me as so much more than that. As my husband, he’s allowed me to hold these tensions: Having a good dad who’s also imperfect. Being incredibly grateful for how I was raised but also honest about things I want to do differently. Being so much like my parents but also being my own person.
Not everyone affords me this grace, but the fact that Phillip does reminds me that God does. In God’s eyes, and as much as I love my earthly dad, I’m not “Voddie’s daughter” but his daughter.
God doesn’t ask me to make an account for what my dad thinks and believes, or to outline all of the likenesses, nuances, and differences between us. Instead, God calls me to conform myself to his image. And, day by day, I hope I’m looking more like him.
I’m grateful for the start that both of my parents gave me. But I’m also grateful that my journey didn’t end there. Praise God for continued growth. Praise God for strong roots and ever-stronger branches reaching toward the Son.