Birthdays, Dirty Laundry, Flannel and Jesus.

What are you thankful for today?

I’ve spent this morning thinking about all the ways that life is a little richer today……

1 // This little munchkin turns TWO years old today. He’s probably the first baby I was a really big fan of — and the first piece of faith that, yeah, having my own kid one day is going to be REALLY awesome. Happy Birthday, Ev! You ain’t a baby no more!

THE CUTEST CHUNK.

2 // Yesterday I spent 10 minutes in Bath & Body Works sniffing all of the fall scents. I spent a long time with Flannel. It’s a small thing and totally a luxury, but few things have the calming effect on me that fall candles do. I can’t wait to get some. And then get more to share the joy with my loves.

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3 // Speaking of flannel, it’s almost time to wear it. THANK the heavens. I’m soaking in every last second of sub-70-degree weather out West while I can. The 10-day forecast for Atlanta still has 90-degree days and I won’t let that steal the joy of wearing a sweatshirt today. The start of a changing season always makes me feel grateful that we get four.

4 // My mom is a nurturer. She gets joy from taking care of her family and doting on each of us. I know that there are many days I took for granted her tidying up behind me, paying attention to setting the table, keeping us in clean clothes and always asking about our comfort. “Are you cold? Do you want a blanket? Do you need something to drink?” But as I get older I’ve started to recognize that through her action — she also taught me a little something. Now that I’m a little older I recognize all the effort and appreciate all the gestures. And I notice that I’m starting to enjoy doing the same. It’s 9 a.m. in Portland and I’ve done a bunch of loads of laundry for Andy. And honestly? It just makes me feel love to do it. ❤ Few things feel more womanly than feeling love folding underwear.

A picture. Cause we’re cute.

5 // NBC letting Kathie Lee honor her husband on air the way that she wanted to–sharing faith. I know that this is news from earlier in the week; but it’s stuck with me each day. It raises the question “would you do the same?” I’m a Christian. Would I be brave enough to ask to share my husband’s testimony on network television? I would hope so. But I think one of the greatest parts of her address from earlier this week is likely the bravery that led her share those words. I want to have faith like that: unashamed, unbound and unfiltered. I want to not “expect people to be offended.” Or “expect standards to not allow it.” If you want to talk about Jesus; talk about Jesus.

Sunday Devotion: Sharing this incredible love.

Our world saw senseless, heartbreaking destruction and loss this week. And in the midst of the sadness and disbelief I prayed for the families, because it was really seemingly the only thing that could make sense.

It’s sometimes easy for non-believers to lean back on the “Where’s God in the midst of this?” speeches. But pastor put it pretty succinctly this morning when he said “I do not know how people get through something like that without Jesus.”

There are some simple bad days that I couldn’t get through without my faith.

In fact, most days I couldn’t get by without my faith.

But if I ever had to live a day like that? Where I to suffer the unfathomable loss of a child or a parent, or a sibling, or a co-worker, or a spouse to such an act of violence . . . there would have to be Jesus, or I would get counted in the loss. I couldn’t get by.

Those people who don’t know the same God that I do; how would they deal? How do they keep any goodness?

It’s in times like those that I realize how important it is for me to share this amazing peace and comfort I have in my faith. It’s funny how the closer you pull the God, the more he starts challenging your comfort zone.

I feel this tugging. This invisible pushing. OK, you’re in the word. You’re aware. You’re listening.

Now, how are you sharing?

How are you showing?

Is it really enough to try to live the light and hope that people feel Jesus enough through you? Oh, I know the answer to that as soon as I type it. But it’s easy to convince yourself that by going about your ministry the passive way you might win more people in the long run.

It brings me back to Romans 12:3-8.

“3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity;the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

God really does bless us in unique talents and strengths to be able to further the church.

If I’m being passive, and just trying to live the good word, am I really using what God has blessed me with? I’m not doing anything differently than a non-believing neighbor who might just have a good heart. I’m not furthering the word. I’m letting the talents I was given go to waste. And in the meantime, maybe there’s someone nearby who I could be helping. Who I could be sharing this love.

And yet, I am so overwhelmed by God in my life. I am so overwhelmed by His love in my life, His power, His direction, His grace and mercy. And ever so importantly, His peace.

How can you not want to yell about that from your apartment balcony?

I often actually want to do that; but I don’t because I’m worried about turning people off. I don’t want to close down connection. I don’t want to lose someone.

So I smile. And when Jesus comes up, I get really excited.

I am waiting on opportunities. But you know what, I don’t think it’s enough to wait.

There is destruction and pain, struggle and loss all around us every single day. A great quote reminds us, be kind because every single person has an unspoken struggle. You never know what a friend is carrying. You never know what could be relieved for someone in prayer. You never know what this great joy, relief and peace you’re carrying as a follower could do for someone else.

And isn’t that enough reason to share today? To save them a sleepless night. To save them some white hairs of anxiety.

There is so much relief in Jesus on a good day. There is a storm and surge of protection and support in Him in the worst days.

You have to share it. Have to share it. Can’t be afraid. It’s so incredibly, heartwarmingly, irreplaceably, game-changingly, earthshakingly valuable. (So much so, I’m making up words over here.)

I’m still searching for the best ways that I personally can share my faith. I invite friends to church,try to live my life as Romans calls us to do and share when I can find the opportunity (not wait). But in the meantime? I’m going to pray that God starts working on my heart to show me where my unique place is to serve.

Because there’s a place just for me. And I know so unmistakably that God is putting certain people in my life for a reason. And all the same, he’s putting me in other people’s lives for a wonderfully awesome purpose.

This is going to be a really wonderful adventure.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. . . And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God .” Philippians 1:6, 9-10