Voice: The Only Song in Key
{Five Minute Friday}

It's Five Minute Friday again... write for five minutes, five minutes only, about one idea.
One thought, one word, the same prompt for all.
"No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." - Lisa Jo Baker
This week's word: VOICE

I was in third grade when I started singing in church choir.

It was ninth grade when I pulled out of choir and took voice lessons. Stakes went up, things got more serious. I floundered. Stopped.

By college, I was afraid. Afraid to sing. The notes warbled out tremulously. Flats, sharps. Embarassment after disaster after ear anguish.

I was 23 when I sat on a bed with an open hymnal and sang Amazing Grace to no one but God and heard something lovely. It stopped me cold.

Tried again, still lovely. Then tried a popular song and it was another disaster.

My voice was only sweet when I was singing to Him.

This mysterious change deepened and five years later I realized that I loved to sing. Loved it with a burst in my chest and tears in my eyes.

The voice... the song... it's His. When I've tried to use this voice He gave me for things that weren't of Him, I have flailed.

I seem to have but one choice. So I use my voice for Him. The words... the Word... The Word Incarnate... they are the only truth that doesn't falter or waver.

The only song in key.


No More Excuses


I hear the whine in the base of my skull.

It used to be a constant clamor, so for the dampening of volume, I am grateful.

Still, it persists...

A stream of excuses, reasons why I can't do the things I ought to, reasons why I get a pass "just this once."

After all, don't I have so much on my plate? Everyone tells me I do. Doesn't it make sense that I just can't do it all?

That plate, it sure overflows. Like I went to an all you-can-eat restaurant and scooped and scooped. Like I thought I was filling a platter instead of a plate.

Like I have issues with portion control.

In truth I'm a child in this way. I need my Heavenly Father to fill my plate. I am rebellious in the way that I load it high. I am coming to understand this.

Is it fear? Fear that some day there won't be a portion for me? Or is it gluttony... pride that wants more so that I can be more?

Either way, it is rebellion.

So no. No excuses of too much on my plate.

I choose.

I choose what's on that plate, I choose to grab the spoon and plop it on.

And I choose what I do with it all. Sometimes, I let it sit there and turn into a moldy rotting mess.

Excuses of being too tired? Poor time management.

Excuses that things are hard? They're hard for everyone.

Excuses that other people impede me? Other people are the whole point.

Excuses based on their sin? It's just like mine.

No more excuses. I make the choice, I do it or I don't. I own the result.

No more excuses.


photo credit

Eyes Open: LOOK
{Five Minute Friday}

Every Friday hundreds around the globe take the challenge... write for five minutes, five minutes only, about one idea. One thought, one word, the same prompt for all. It's called Five Minute Friday.

"No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." - Lisa Jo Baker

It pushes me right out of my comfort zone.

This week's word: LOOK.


It all seems so messy, this life.

The books and papers, the dirt and sweat.

I stifle a whimper of panic at the endlessness of it. Like an avalanche, the more that comes... the more that comes.

Then from nowhere, a glimmer of beauty.

It happens every day. In the middle of the scrubbing about to eke out a life, it sparkles.


The tear-stained small face, full of rage at his size... beautiful.

The dirty floor, long-ago needing swept... cherry wood glows real like the tree from which it came... beautiful.

The tired man, falling in the door after long hours of toil for us, his eyes twinkle as they fall on small faces... beautiful.

It's everywhere, this beauty.

I just have to look.

Choosing love and finding beauty....

The Only True Confidence

I struggle with confidence.

I often pray, "Lord I trust You completely. I know You won't lead me astray. But I doubt myself terribly. Will I understand You correctly?"

I have trouble stepping out and making decisions.

Yesterday I forced myself to make a decision in a situation in which I am in leadership. My first inclination was to put the decision to a group vote, but I realized that it was appropriate for me to make the decision myself. And cowardly of me not to do so.

The thing about being a leader is that when the decision is wrong, you are the one who bears the responsibility. I don't want to be wrong.

But fear of being wrong is like any other spirit of fear. Not from God.

And a shocking truth hit me.

If I can draw near with confidence to the throne of grace... to the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth... if I can draw near to Him with confidence, why on earth should I lack confidence interacting with humans?

And oh this comfort:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. - Hebrews 4:15
I can be confident that He lavishes grace and mercy on me. Not because I am good or right, but because of Jesus (Heb 4:14).

In fact, there is hidden pride in that lack of confidence I showed yesterday. I don't want to be wrong. I don't want to mess up.

Me, me, me.

My life is an endless exercise in letting go of myself and gripping on to Jesus.

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