I Have a Voice

From my earliest remembrance I’ve thoroughly enjoyed expressing myself. Mostly, I have really just loved to talk.

If you know me up close, you are smiling (I hope) and nodding in agreement. My dear man says I have more words per day than anyone he’s ever known. “That’s why we fit together so well”, I tell him. He’s a man of few words,  and an excellent listener.

As a youngster I followed my mom around the house talking non-stop until she kindly suggested I should look for a friend and play outside until dinner. I shared my words with friends, our dog, God, but I mostly talked to myself.

Music has always been my second favorite form of expression. By simply stacking a bunch of 45’s on my record player, I could entertain myself for hours singing into my hairbrush. Other times, I would lie in the floor of our family room listening to whole albums. The Beatles albums were my favorite. With pen and paper, I attempted to write my own words to the popular tunes.

I had something to say and I wanted to be heard. Opinionated, yes. A love for conversation, yes. A desire to place hard topics on a table and hash it out, yes. Talk it through, every confusing aspect of life, to find the truth is specifically what I desired to do. A tongue untamed and yet unbridled. Yes!

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5 NIV

And therein lies my dilemma. I talked to process information. Within me burns a passion to understand, to get to the root, and find a solution.  I want to know what is true and live in it.  Thus, for as long as I can remember I’ve been asking exploratory questions.

In my immaturity I didn’t understand that flesh and blood people would not be able to answer all of my questions or reveal deep rooted truths. I truly needed to be conversing and listening to the only One who could add meaning to life. But I didn’t know God was available and accessible.

When people grew weary of listening and questions were left unanswered, I began to get quiet. My voice lost confidence, and became a whisper.  I was self conscious in my teen years and mostly refused to speak in public or group settings.

The lie built from within.  I could not be understood, therefore I had no voice. If I had no voice, there was no sense in speaking up. If I didn’t speak up, my questions weren’t valuable. A downward spiral of insecurity and fear ensued. I wanted to disappear.

A friend in college offered me a revolutionary solution. For Christmas, our freshman year, she gifted me with a journal. I had never seen anything like it. A whole book full of colorful empty pages.

She told me the book was for me to fill with all my words!

It was during this season of life that I really began to look for God. I needed Him. I had so many questions. Big concerns. Confusion. Fears and doubts. I wasn’t certain if He was able to hear me, but I talked to Him as if He could.

My journal became the place in which my voice came alive. I could “talk” and write and communicate everything within my heart with pen on paper.

Paper and pen were my safe place. No one argued or told me to speak up. No one told me I was wrong to ask such questions. I “talked” onto pages until my heart was content. Peace arose in my heart as I felt heard by filling blank pages with words needing to be set free.

In the first few years of seeking to know God, I learned that I could not only talk to Him and be heard; He would also answer me. After accepting a challenge from coworkers to read the Bible as God’s love letter to me, I began to find the answers to many of the questions I had written in my journal.

At last I had found The Best Friend in all the world; the One who would always listen to every single word, hear, and understand. And then all the better, He would respond with what He wanted me to know and do. His love desire for me was to teach me truth.

A deep longing in me was being fulfilled.

As I’ve matured in my faith I have learned there are words to be spoken out loud, and words to be only shared with my Father. There are times and seasons, and there are audiences as God ordains it.  For anyone who knows me as a woman of many words, only God knows how many words have never been uttered out loud.

1980 to 2019 – my books of words offered to God as an act of worship.


My Lord continually has much to say to me about the way I speak, my tone and the appropriate use of speech for love and blessing. Very early in my discipleship a friend directed me to the book of James. Knowing how much I love the gift of gab, my heart was pricked, and I began to take seriously the many reproofs regarding an uncontrolled tongue.

I still love to talk, especially over a cup of hot coffee with a friend on the other side of the table. And I fully believe my Father created me with a love for communication and a desire to seek truth. I know that I know He’s called me to use my tiny little voice to speak truth and praise Him in the process.

These journals of mine represent my heart wrapped around the promises of God. They also contain my voice lifted up to the only One I have been absolutely sure would listen, hear every word, care intensely, understand at all, and have an answer even if He didn’t share right away.

Because He’s called me and gifted me with such passion, He will also take as long as necessary to prepare me. The pruning times, the fiery trials, and the desert walks without a trace of rain are all recorded on my once blank pages. He’s taught me and then tested me. He’s coached me through increasingly difficult terrain to build my faith muscles.

My Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit have heard every word. Witnessed every tear-stained page. Sipped coffee with me in the wee dark hours. Held my heart and healed the broken places. God has answered in the depth and variety of Who He is as Spirit and Truth.

I have a voice. I have a tiny little whisper of a voice. I have a   voice more bridled than ever. When Holy Spirit nudges me with fire in my bones, I will speak.

God is faithful. His promises are true, and I can trust Him for everything. I can especially trust Him that He made this tiny little voice exactly as He intended for His purposes and for His praise.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

~Lisa

Be Strong?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I want to be strong. Don’t you? I mean, who sets a goal to become the ultimate weakling? We want to be strong!

We live in a culture which strives for strength – physical, financial, intellectual – even emotional. And why do people desire strength – followers of Jesus or not? It’s our desire to live problem free and absent of all worry, fear and anxiety. It’s our quest to be in control and above anything which could possibly take us down.

Just a casual review of media advertisements and entertainment options provides proof that human beings value strength. Our culture tells us that more education will help us get more money. More money will gain us more power. More power will create popularity. More popularity will provide community.

If we listen to the voices of the world we will find ourselves on a hamster wheel spinning for more. Striving. Achieving. Climbing. Stepping over and on top of someone else to get to the top to prove we are STRONG.

It’s all a lie. A big fat media hyped advertising lie! And the false promise that we’ll all be happy, successful, prosperous and united at the end of our striving for more? Well, just look at the state of our country. We’re a mess of division, distrust and intolerance. People in general are more stressed, on more medication, and filled with immeasurable anxiety over the future.

The thing is we know it’s a lie. We know it’s stinkin’ thinkin’. Yet even when we agree that the wheel isn’t making us stronger, we find it difficult to step off. We want to BE STRONG!

Besides, God tells us in His Word to be strong. Over and over again, scriptures admonish us to “be not afraid” and to “be strong”. “Be courageous”. It’s what we’re supposed to do. The way we’re supposed to live. We quote. We write. We memorize. We post. In a drive thru, fast food Christian culture, we’re trying to order up an entree of BE STRONG with a side of courageous.

HELP!

And there it is… Help! We begin to learn to be strong when we step off the wheel of our own striving, look up and ask God for help. I have tested this principle and it is quite true. School is in session. Training can begin when I simply admit that I don’t know how to be strong.

Why did God tell Joshua to be strong, to be courageous and not afraid?

How was Joshua to achieve strength, courage and fearlessness?

What did God want Joshua to learn from God’s command to be strong?

  • God wanted Joshua to be trained to trust God’s faithfulness, to obey, and to rely on God in everything he purposed to do.

As I awaken each day, preparing for spiritual battle, it’s essential that I go beyond the simple verse of the day quotables and look at the context of what God is teaching me. Be strong. It’s not a quick fix. Nor is it a pep talk. It’s a declaration of God’s character, and His servant’s (me) position of trust and service.

Spinning on the wheel of my own striving has never made me strong. It’s not taught me about God’s character. Nor did it teach me to trust God or believe He is a promise keeper.

Spinning. Striving. It made me tired. Discouraged. Hopeless. Fearful. But when my own strength gave out, I cried out to God for help. He was there. He heard me. And He arrived ready to teach.

Finally, I’m learning what it really means to be strong.

That’s how I see it. What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

Lisa