This is Mine. God said.

Ephesians 1

“Mine.”

My son drags his dark blue towel through the living room.  It’s not even bath night, so I’m not quite sure what inspired him to stake this claim.

But he pulls it along behind him and then holds it out so I can see his territory.

“Mine.”

And then to punctuate the point, he points to the “A” I sewed onto the towel and says, “A. Andrew’s towel.”

Now, sometimes he has this whole “mine” thing mixed up.

He says, “mine” as he snatches books out of his sisters’ hands, and their blankets, and their toys, and their toothbrushes and hairbrushes, and their jackets and hats, and their shoes.

If you listen to him some days, you’d think the whole world was his personal possession.

He’s territorial like that, more than any of my girls ever were.  He stakes claims.  He demands rights.

And he holds onto what he thinks is his with a He-Man grip and a warrior’s willingness to defend his belongings by any means necessary.

When you’re two years old, you just want what you want, I suppose.

So, I teach him.  I take stands against the tiny tyrant within him.  I defend his sisters from his raids through their stuff, and when he finds something that is his, I’m quick to agree, and then teach him to share.

Yet, while I’m working to expand his vision of the world, to remind him that others matter and we can’t just trample all over them (or bite them or hit them or pull their hair), and to be gentle, and to be giving and generous….I’m also feeling a different kind of soul-challenge myself.

I wonder if I have that same warrior within to defend what Christ says is mine.

Or do I too often let the world and let others and let Satan and let my own insecurities and fears snatch away what God has given me?

In Ephesians, I read:

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3 ESV).

Paul tells us what belongs to us in Christ, because of Jesus, not because we’ve earned it or worked hard to receive it.

Louie Giglio lays it all out in his book, The Comeback:

In Ephesians, the phrase ‘in Christ’ is used 10 times in the first 14 verses. That is,

You’re blessed in Christ.  You’re redeemed in Christ.  You have forgiveness of sins in Christ.  You were chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless. You have every spiritual blessing in Christ. You were included in Christ. You’ve been made aware of the plans of God in Christ. In Christ you’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit.  In Christ you’ve been loved.  In Christ is where the hope comes (bold emphasis is mine).

God says all of this belongs to us when we are in Christ.

And yet I can live defeated and depleted.

I harp on my sins and mistakes, I beat myself up with what I did wrong.

That typo.  That stupid thing I said.  I should have called her and I forgot.  I lost my temper. I’m not a good enough wife.  I wasn’t gentle with my kids.  I was foolish with my time.  I haven’t prayed enough.  I’m not a good enough Christian.  I didn’t exercise today.  I haven’t been making my kids practice the piano.  I’m not a good enough mom.  I missed notes on the piano.  What I wrote isn’t as good as what she wrote.   A friend is depending on me and I’m sure I’m letting her down.  I forgot to send the card that I meant to send and even bought and wrote but just haven’t put in the mailbox.  I’m not a good enough friend.  I should spend more time in Bible study. I should spend less time on social media.  On the other hand, I’m not doing enough on social media as a writer.  I should drink more water and less everything else.   I wanted to do that project on Pinterest with my kids and I didn’t.  I’m just not good enough.

That could be just half an hour in my head.

I should.  I need to.  I didn’t. 

I failed.

God says in Christ I’m forgiven.

He says in Christ I’m loved.

Ephesians says in Christ, I’m chosen and made holy, blameless.

In Christ, I can live with hope instead of hopelessness.

In Christ, I am redeemed.  In Christ, I am blessed.

So I need to start claiming what’s mine and living in what’s mine and defending what’s mine instead of living without.

“This is Mine.  Heather’s.”

God says this belongs to me.

 

God and Cupcake Sprinkles

I was sorting cupcake sprinkles . . .by hand.

Really.

I removed all of the pinks from the mix and took out some of the oranges and yellows, too.  The color combination needed to be mostly blue, white, and green with some hints of yellow and orange.

But you can’t buy a sprinkle mix like that at Wal-Mart, so I bought the colorful star-shaped sprinkles and sorted them by hand.

And I thought, “God loves me enough to do this.”

Let me explain.

My baby girl turned three years old yesterday.  For weeks, my older daughters and I had enthusiastically reminded her that her birthday was coming soon.

We pestered her with questions.  What do you want for your birthday?  How old will you be?  What do you want on your birthday cake?

Then she made her declaration.  She wanted Octonauts presents and an Octonauts birthday cake.

Now for the uninitiated among you, the people who don’t live and breathe and move children’s television programming: The Octonauts is originally a British children’s show about undersea explorers and the oceanic animals they discover and assist.  It’s only recently appeared on American television.

That means that if we lived in the United Kingdom, we’d have no problem popping out to the local party store for supplies.  But here in the good old U.S. of A. the store shelves aren’t exactly stocked with Octonauts toys and party favors.

So, I did what any reasonable mom might do.  I walked my daughter down the party aisle at Wal-Mart and showed her the many wonderful birthday decorations there were available in America.  Mickey Mouse.  Princesses.  Fairies.  Strawberry Shortcake (my favorite).

She settled on Mickey Mouse and we headed home with a relieved Momma in the driver’s seat.  Yet, less than a week later, she made another announcement.  Mickey Mouse didn’t cut it.  She did in fact want Octonauts.

I had tried to convince her to accept less than her heart’s desire.

What’s a mom like me to do: A non-crafty, not particularly creative, cake decorating failure of a mom?

I’ll tell you what.

We took our Play-Doh ocean animal cutters, washed them well, and used them to cut sugar cookies in the shape of lobsters, dolphins and starfish for her friends at church.

We had yellow cake mix already at home, but she asked for chocolate.  So, we made chocolate cupcakes.

I printed out pictures of the Octonauts and created our own cupcake toppers.

I bought the aforementioned color mix of sprinkles and then pulled out the unwanted ones so the color combination could be perfect.

I waited in line at Wal-Mart to have a bag of Octonauts colored balloons blown up (three year old birthdays must involve balloons) only to have the lady at the desk tell me, “We no longer do balloons.  There’s a national helium shortage.”

Really?  A national helium shortage is going to stop me from giving my girl balloons?  Not hardly.  I bought the helium balloon kit for $20 so we could inflate them ourselves (with helium to spare for family birthdays for a year or two).

Then we put it all together.  A family dinner of the birthday girl’s choice.  Singing happy birthday, blowing out the candle, balloons, chocolate cupcakes with Octonauts toppers and sprinkles all to celebrate my baby. 

(Although, why she needed chocolate cake when all she did was lick off the icing is beyond me.)

So, why?  Perhaps she’ll never remember her third birthday and maybe over time her interest in ocean animals will fade.

But she’ll remember being loved.  And I do love her.  I’m crazy, head-over-heels, over-the-top, absolutely in love with this sweet gift from God.

Matthew 7:11 tells us:

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

This verse never becomes more real to me than when I’m picking out good gifts for my daughters.

God loves you enough to pick through sprinkles for you and to find a way to defeat a national helium shortage.  He’s a God of attentive, detailed affection for each of his beloved children.

We may assume that coincidence, chance, luck, good fortune, Mother Nature, friends and family, a congenial boss or even our own effort and ability are responsible for the blessings and benefits we experience.  That’s not true.

All the gifts we receive, tied in bows and placed into our hands with joy, come from a God who is crazy, over-the-top, head-over-heels, absolutely in love with us.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). 

This week, let’s be aware of the many ways God showers us with good gifts, even the smallest reminders of His providential care, and remember to give thanks.

You can read other devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King