Mixing toddlers with family devotions sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Yet adding a pinch of sheer will, a dash of determination, and a heaping tablespoon of humor can result in some sweet family memories. Our daughters were around ages six, four, and two when my husband began sharing short Bible stories and lessons with us as a family. These few minutes sometimes ranged from being an exercise in frustration to outright amusing, but we earned an “A” for effort.

I especially remember one devotional time when our girls were a little older, ages eight, six, and four. They listened attentively as their dad shared about spiritual adoption. In fact, they were quite curious about this notion of being adopted into the family of God by accepting Christ into their hearts. As the girls asked probing questions as only little kids can, they seemed to be catching on to the concept of God graciously adopting us as His children…or so I thought.

Just a few minutes after the lesson, I tried to get my two younger daughters to say the word adoption. None of my subtle hints were leading them to state the right answer.

Exasperated, I pleaded, “Think! What do you call it when a husband and wife take in a child who wasn’t born to them, but they raise the child like it was theirs all along?”

Six-year-old Naomi contemplated my question for a few seconds, then emphatically answered: “Kidnapping!

Okay . . . so that wasn’t the word I was going for, but I could certainly appreciate her perspective.

~ ~ ~

Even though we are indeed lovingly adopted by our Heavenly Father, don’t we sometimes behave more like we’ve been kidnapped by God? Instead of appreciating all the provision and kindness from our Father, we complain about what is or isn’t happening in our lives. Or we spend most of our prayer time asking God to meet our needs and desires, and very little time thanking Him just for who He is. 

God has graciously adopted us into His family. Yet we sometimes run away from home in rebellion and disobedience. Or we struggle against God as if we’re being held against our wills by a kidnapper. 

I confess, it’s challenging to keep a grateful attitude consistently. Selfishness and entitlement creep in out of nowhere. Our problems, needs, and desires are real, and they can easily consume us. But if we re-focus our hearts on the amazing gift we have in the God of the universe choosing to become our Father, ungratefulness begins to fade away.

Do you usually have the perspective of a grateful adopted child who has a loving Heavenly Father? Or would you more likely be described as a complaining child of the King? Let’s commit to a heart of gratitude each day for the blessing of simply being adopted into the family of God.

~ ~ ~ 

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."

~ Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) ~

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."

~ Psalm 9:1 (NIV) ~

Think it Through: What specific challenge or trial are you facing right now? Determine how you can have a grateful attitude in your circumstance, simply because you are a child of the King.

Make it Personal: God, thank You for adopting me into Your family. Keep me mindful of all I have to be grateful for, no matter what challenges I face. Today, I am grateful for (pray/journal): _________________

>> For an autographed copy, purchase Nicole's 31-Day Devotional through PayPal!

>> Order Nicole's 31-Day Devotional through Amazon.