birthday teeth.

Y’all, I had my 50th birthday in August. I had a party, and it was the best ever. Well, actually, it was the first ever, too, so that makes it first and best! It had all the things I love: family, friends, balloons, and CUPCAKES! Plus I had precious friends who blessed me with the kindest words, live music(!!), the funniest song (!!!!) and great food… beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

You’re probably wondering why if it was so great I’ve waited until October to tell you all about it. Well, that’s because of birthday teeth.

Let me explain.

You see, I’m not big on gifts. Well, I’m big on giving them… it’s my loving language, but I always feel so awkward when I’m on the receiving end. When someone gives me a gift, I always instantly love it, but then saying thank you always feels so small and inadequate so I go all awkward. When my girlfriends insisted I could not turn 50 without a party, I relented on one condition: NO gifts.

Well, my friends love me in extraordinary ways, but they don’t listen worth squat. They gave gifts, and they gave with extravagant generosity that absolutely brought me to the big ugly cry.

You see, they collected money for StorySisters, a ministry that is my whole heart. StorySisters supports the women behind the fences and those now free from them. They couldn’t have done anything bigger or better in my eyes. They couldn’t have done anything I would’ve loved any more. And that night of my party they collected $5 more than what was needed to get birthday teeth.

It was definitely the loaves and fishes math God is known for.

And so last Monday, we got them. Well, actually Sheila got them. { If you don’t know my Sheila story, read it here. } She hasn’t had teeth in many, many years. But what is mind-blowing to me is that it never kept her from smiling. Never! The joy of the Lord shines in her eyes, and it never fails to reach her smile, too. From the moment I first met her, I loved that about her because I know all too well my insecurities about my looks. I have no doubt that no teeth would make me hesitate to smile. But Sheila has a reason to smile that goes way beyond teeth. It goes all the way to her heart and her love and gratitude for the Lord.

So we’re both all toothy grins of gratitude for those who gave so generously: God with His amazing grace, Dr. Everett Watson with his gifted hands, and my girlfriends with the biggest hearts ever.

Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” That’s true, but I think Jesus says it better: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” { Acts 20:35 } God changed us when He gave … John 3:16… and

We change the world when we give.

May we know Him and make Him known.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

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