Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whitney's Life Lessons: Finding Your Voice

Today as I watch testimonies of Whitney Houston's life while her funeral service unfolds, I am thinking a lot of this beautiful, talented and beloved star. I have chosen not to focus on the drama of her life. I've wanted to think and write about the treasures she left.

What can we learn from Whitney's life as we seek to find our way in the world? Last week, I discussed a few lessons from her legacy. Today I examine a few more. We have a mission here that we all should pursue.

We must get to know the Master Artist

Recently I've adopted a new favorite scripture. It's a popular one that I've heard quoted over and over again through the years. I'll share it here:
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
I fell in love with this scripture when I read it in the original Greek language. The word workmanship in our language sounds like a piece of hardware, something created in a factory. In your mind's eye, you might see an image of a factory, a piece of machinery being assembled piece by piece on an assembly line.

But that image would be wrong.

The original language paints a different picture. The word workmanship in the Greek is poema, which translates into English "masterpiece" or "poem." This means that God sees us as a masterpiece, an original, one-of-kind piece of art. As a writer, I love using the translation of "poem." To think that God created me as an original poem, a poem with beauty that far exceeds any poem of Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou or Edgar Allan Poe.

So I like to think of God as the Master Artist. Whitney, though she fought her own demons, knew the Master Artist. She knew the Lord. She sang of Him. She spoke of Him.

And we must too.

We have to find our voice

Many call Whitney "The Voice." No one could deny she had an amazing voice. No one could deny her phenomenal talent. Whitney found her voice at a young age.

And we too must find our voices.

Many professional writers and editors tell us aspiring writers that as we write, we must find our voices. We must discover what makes our writing stand out amongst millions of other writers. The writings of a good writer can be discerned amongst any other writer. When I read Toni Morrison, I know it's Toni's words. When I read Francine Rivers, I know it's Francine's words.

And the same is true for the authors of the bible. I've been studying the minor prophets, and now I can hear the voice of Hosea, the voice of Joel, the voice of Habakkuk.

You don't have to be a singer or writer to find your own voice. You may be a teacher, a politician or a chef. No matter what you're called to do, you've got to find your own voice. You've got to follow your calling in Him. He's the Master Artist, and He's got a plan and purpose for you, His masterpiece, His poem.

We must share that voice with the world

Lastly, we've got to share that voice with others. Whitney shared her voice with us for many years, and we're better for it.

Whatever your calling in this life, it's not just for you or about you. When spending time with the Master Artist, reading His words, praying to Him, He pours His goodness, His blessings into us. As we share our gifts, talents and callings with others, we're simply pouring out of His overflowing goodness and blessings.

What does this look like?

Say you feel called to bake. You may feel like your calling is small, insignificant in the world. Yet God can use you and your talents. As you and your loved ones enjoy your delicacies, think of ways that you can bless others. Share some baked goods with a family at your church or in your neighborhood that has recently lost a loved one. Find a homeless shelter or domestic abuse shelter to share your baked goods. It's not only the preacher or the bible teacher that can bless the down-and-out. Any of us can. All of us should.

Whitney did, and so should we.

Love you, Whitney. We'll see you again.



  1. Carla, there's really nothing I could add to your beautiful, encouraging post. I too love Ephesians 2:10. We each are given God designed gifts and to not use them saddens our Father in Heaven.

    I've always wanted to see Whitney in person, but I know that when I meet her at the throne of God, it will outshine any earthly concert hall. "Sing for Jesus, dearest Whitney, sing for Jesus..."

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words Linda. I agree with you... "Sing for Jesus, Whitney..." Amen.

  3. Beautifully written my friend. Thank you so much for sharing the lessons you have learned, and are learning, and how we can apply those things each day. You are a gem.

  4. Thanks so much Michelle! Takes a gem to know a gem!!! :)