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Travels from Omaha, Nebraska

Tank U Much, God!

Tank U Much, God!

by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries

This past week we celebrated my daughter Julie’s second birthday. On Wednesday evening, which was her actual birthday, we had a pretty low-key celebration with just the immediate family. We let her open one present—a pink dress—that she wore that day and then went to the park in the evening and enjoyed a few cupcakes at home courtesy of Hy-Vee. She couldn’t have been happier, although she did ask for “more birthday cake” until bedtime and well into the next day.

Then Sunday afternoon we had her official birthday party with her grandmas and grandpas; great grandma and great grandpa; and aunt, uncles, and cousins. The whole crew was there to help us celebrate. We all ate pasta (Julie’s favorite food is noodle-ools), played party games, and dug into a yummy Elmo cake made with love by Grandma Martin. And then it was time for presents.

There were a lot of presents! Brightly colored packages 
and gift bags filled the corner, and Julie couldn’t wait to dig in—shocker, I know. I wish I’d had better luck at capturing the utter joy on her face as she tore into each gift. She couldn’t wait to see what was inside, and for each present her mouth hung open as she squealed with excitement. But here’s the kicker—her reaction was the same for each and every gift.

She was just as excited about the organic sunblock as she was the little piggy that talked. She loved the hand-me-down My Little Ponies as much as the shiny new cowgirl Cabbage Patch and matching horse. Clothes, toys, books, and movies all received the same complete joy and excitement. After opening each package, she ran up to the gift giver ready with a hug and a sincere “Tank u much!” The truth is that she didn’t care what was in the package—she was just thrilled about the gifts and was wrapped up in the joy of receiving them.

Perhaps that’s why in Matthew 18:3 Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Let’s be honest. How often do we look at all of the gifts we have been given and sigh with disappointment? Now I’m not talking about what you received for your birthday this year. No, I’m talking about the gifts that God has blessed us with. Personally, I count among my gifts the roof over my head, my husband’s job that provides for our family, my beautiful children, and my supportive family. I could go on and on. I consider myself blessed beyond measure. 

But, if I’m honest, I’d have to admit that there are days when I'm not so content. On those days, for example, I find myself driving by a big house with a three-car garage and a fenced in yard and think, “Man, I wish we lived in a house like that!” Perhaps instead, tomorrow I’ll make a point of standing back and looking at my modest ranch, throwing my hands up in the air, and shouting out a sincere “Tank U much!” to God for my many blessings.

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