Last night I was putting together Easter Baskets after the kids had gone to sleep. While looking for some Easter grass in the closet, I noticed a plastic shopping bag under a blanket. I squeezed the bag in hope of the distinct crunching sound of Easter grass. My fingers sank into something squishy. I opened the bag to find blueberry muffins, the ones that Maddy, my five-year-old daughter, had insisted on baking early that morning. I felt the common parental frustration of finding food where it ought not be.
Maddy had been calling the closet her “workshop” all day. I looked into the bag and noticed, along with the muffins, several folded papers and 2 AA batteries. I pulled out the papers and nearly cried when I saw it said “To Dad. From Maddy. I Love You. Happy Birthday” At that moment I remembered seeing her with the bag earlier, she was sneaking around and smiling. Also, earlier in the day, she was in the room when I complained that the batteries on the wireless keyboard were dying. She put a lot of thought and care into her birthday gift of homemade muffins, handmade card, and stray batteries. I folded the bag up and placed it back where I found it.
I am blessed. Children truly are a gift from God.
I made a late night run to the store to buy a few small things (like Easter grass). As I drove I thought of how blessed I am. I am not blessed in wealth, but in family and faith. The baskets I put together were meager compared to previous years.
Earlier in the day I had a bout of self-pity. I questioned my ability to provide. I questioned my leadership as a father and husband. I began to wonder why I should try to minister to others when I struggle with myself.
We are quickly deceived by the values of this world. If we fail to reach certain milestones of success by society’s appointed time we feel like we have failed. But success cannot be measured by wealth or good looks. Success isn’t measured by degrees or certifications. Success is defined by one thing: obedience to God. Because Jesus loved me, I can love others. I can minister by His power and glory, which made perfect in my weakness.
The night was peaceful as midnight passed and I gained another year of age. I finished the baskets and with a few personal notes of love for my wife and children.
Today is Easter. We celebrate the miracle of the resurrection. Death was defeated and my salvation made certain. In Christ alone I place my faith.
I do not remember celebrating my birthday on Easter before. It has given me cause to reflect. Today, thinking of my birth into this world, I realized something – I am alive. I live in a world created. If God can create a living world full of living things, he can do all things. Of course Jesus, God-the son, could defeat death on the cross. Of course he could be raised from grave.
He has given me life and has given life to all things that live! He blessed me with the richness of family and joy that money can never buy. Proof of His power and glory can be seen in the hearts of my children.
Carter, my 8-year-old, gave me a handmade card yesterday. It too contained sweet words of love. He gave me a hug before I even got out of bed this morning. As I write, my wonderful wife is cooking steaks for my birthday dinner. After dinner we will eat a Red Velvet cake, baked by my 9-year-old, Aiden. I truly am blessed.
I am counting my many blessings. What have I done to deserve them? Nothing. God’s love is not dependent on my works. I am thankful for that everyday, and especially so this Easter evening.