If there is one thing that absolutely drives me bonkers, it’s these marker caps! Children! If you do not put the cap back on the marker, it will dry out and you cannot use it again! Simple. Put the cap back on the marker.

Ok- so I have had this discussion with the children… a few times. I have even tried labeling the markers with their names, giving them separate boxes, and all sorts of organization ideas that just don’t work. It always seems that my responsible children still have markers to use, my not so responsible children don’t… and they don’t see that it is because they didn’t take care of their markers BY PUTTING THE CAP BACK ON! Then to compound the problem, my amazing, responsible children share their markers with the younger sibling, only to have the problem repeat- they don’t put the cap on all the way; thus their markers are dried out too…

Well 4 out of the 5 older are children have pretty much recognized this situation and have improved. But now, my One-Year- Old-Terror has found the bag of markers… And he loves to pretend to do school with his siblings. So, he loves to pull the caps off markers and run around the house with them. Don’t even get me started with how spoiled that boy is… It just adds to the marker cap problem…  

So, every school year I get to this point of frustration with the markers. I just throw away all the markers without caps and refuse to even address it. Eventually they will have no markers. So, when I do buy new markers, they will appreciate it.

But then in my frustration, I seriously look at the bag full of makers with no caps and think, “I am never buying them markers again!”

If they don’t have markers, they can’t lose the caps… They also cannot do many of their school assignments, color, draw, and the like…

This is clearly not the answer. I can’t just get rid of the obstacle; I have to teach them how to properly handle the problem, prevent it from happening, and help them enjoy the markers while they are in good condition.

It makes me look at free will a little differently.

Sometimes I really do think, God why did you give us free will? You knew we would mess up…. A lot… You knew that it would be a battle for our hearts. Yet, you love us enough to let us choose.

You knew you would be constantly cleaning up marker caps. But you walk along side of me and teach me how to put the cap on all the way while guiding me to new and better organizational strategies. You taught me a love for art, so that I would want to take care of my art supplies.  

God created everything good and gave us the choice to use it properly.

Food. Love/Sex. Work. Family. Relationships.  Any other false god you can list.

It was all created good.  But He gave us the free will to use it properly. Did He know we would choose to use it improperly? Yes, but He was willing to walk with you and teach you how to use it properly. The problem is most people don’t listen. They don’t realize God is there to be your guide.

I go back to that garden in Genesis. Everything was perfect. Adam and Eve were walking with God. Living in beauty.

But God didn’t want a robot to tell Him that I love you. He wanted genuine love. Therefore, He gave Adam and Eve free will.

They had the choice to obey or to disobey. And it didn’t take much for Eve to disobey.

A little lie. Does God love me? Does God know what’s best? Did God really say… and suddenly she didn’t know anymore… That’s all it took.

Then a curse came upon all people. Life would become hard and the choice to see God’s goodness would become distorted. Sin had entered the world.

Everything that was once good, now is a battle for our hearts.

Why doesn’t God just remove all those temptations?

Because He wants you to experience the goodness. He created all of it to be good and good for you. He wants you to experience His goodness within the boundaries He created.

But we fall short. Daily. We miss the goodness right in front of our eyes. We see our hurt and turn to food, money, sex, shopping, hobbies, television drama, gaming instead of turning to God, the One who offers true comfort.

But here’s the good news for us! Jesus came. He died on a cross and rose from the dead. He defeated that enemy that is still whispering lies to creation.

He opened the door for direct communication with our God.

This is an invitation to let the Creator teach you how to use His creation not only for your own good, but also for His good.

Let God teach you to properly use food. Sex. Money. Yourself. Your family. Entertainment.  

If you don’t, they will take a higher place in your heart than God. And that my friend, is idolatry.

Much like my one-year old will not put that cap back on the marker, I will struggle with the sins of my flesh. But as I grow in relationship with the Father, I will see the importance, learn to follow, and reap the benefits of walking with my God. It will become easier. It will become meaningful. It will be worth it.

Let’s not forget another key component here. My one-year-old has older siblings. They are showing him by example how to properly handle those markers. They tell him no when he throws them all over the ground. Equally as important as his siblings are to him are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need them to model Christian like behavior in a world corrupted by sin. We need them to tell us no, when we begin to give into the temptation. We need each other!  We need God!

Every good and perfect gift comes from above. (James 1:17) Let’s just make sure to treat it that way.

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