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Posted around lunch time by Jackina Stark

This entry wraps up a long series on teaching our children we love them and that God loves them even more. Our daughters are grown and have been for some time now, but Tony and I hope to continue helping them by teaching “their children after them.”

One summer Stacey took Jake and Avrie, her two children (before sweet Cade came along), to see Leanne and her three children before they came on to our house.

Jake, three at the time, and Mariah, two, sat at the bar in the kitchen looking through magazines. They picked up a Compass, the quarterly magazine Ozark Christian College publishes, began to look at the pictures, and discovered something shocking.

Jake and Mariah adore each other, but when they were that age they did not yet understand they were cousins, nor did they understand they were looking at a magazine from the school where I taught for so long.

Mariah could barely speak, but as she turned a page, she saw column after column of faculty pictures. Somehow in that large group of pictures, the two-year-old saw mine, pointed at it, and said, “MY MA!”

Jake looked at her, at my picture, and then back at her and exclaimed, “That’s the Ma I belong to!”

I could hardly believe the sweet exchange and, of course, saw great theological implication. Jake didn’t say, “That my ma, too!” He phrased it with secure emphasis on his place in my life: He belonged to me.

One of these days when we’re retelling that story, I’ll say to him, “That’s how I feel about God, boy. Sometimes when I think of him, secure in his love, I borrow your phrase and exclaim: “That’s the God I belong to!”

Something tells me Jake will know what that means. And Jake and his Ma will smile.