In the journey to find your true voice, you will want to leave room for something beautiful. Leave room for grace.
When I take my coffee first thing in the morning, you can count on it being black.
I need it to be strong. The greatest amount of caffeine delivered is the goal of a dark cup of java.
It’s a whole ‘nother story if I’m meeting a friend for coffee.
The coffee barista asks, “Room for cream?”
I look over at my friend waiting for me, drink in hand.
I smile. Yes.
Cream makes coffee go down smooth. It changes the texture and leaves a fragrance, a subtle sweetness that swirls in your mouth.
Its purpose is not caffeine delivery. It mixes in a splash of richness. It whispers: sip and enjoy.
In my journey to discover my voice as a writer, I have learned a lot about my journey of faith.
Always leave room for cream.
Always leave room for grace.
Grace As An Invitation
If you’re on the journey to self-expression — whether it be through weaving words together, knitting new friendships, embarking on new opportunities or walking through a season of loneliness or grief — give voice to who God has made you — by leaving room for God’s grace.
Of course, we all know about grace.
We sing it, write it, and say it several times a day before our meals.
Grace sounds beautiful — until we are called to leave room for it.
Grace means —
— stopping to take a breath, when we’ve come to the point of our limits.
— trusting we aren’t defined by any moment, even when we make mistakes or fall short of our expectations or others.
— allowing others to see who we really are — what we like, dislike, our hesitations as well as our dreams.
Leaving room for grace means opening ourselves up for joy in a way that leaves us vulnerable and tender.
Grace is that sweet ingredient that leaves room for a friend to enter in.
If we give ourselves the kindness, patience and gentleness that we so often extend to others, we can free ourselves to speak more often — and more confidently — in our true voice.
And when we can speak honestly and freely, our voice becomes an invitation to others to join us.
Someone who hears your true voice will connect with your heart and feel at home with you.
Your Heart, Your Home
Many times in our non-writing life, we grow up with social scaffolding. Many of us don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. But, if we did attempt to do so, we often remember the times we’ve been misunderstood or rejected.
When we write — or move out to live our lives outloud — we must remember we are not only offering our words.
We are offering ourselves.
We are offering hospitality –a place where they can find you at home with yourself.
So, finding your voice involves an important component of transparency. When you feel no one else feels the way you do, share that one thing. I can guarantee you, the grace you are offering yourself in that moment to be vulnerable, will offer grace to a person who is receiving your words.
Among the people you come across is a friend waiting to be discovered. He or she wants to know they are not alone.
Your words can set them free. Not because you have the answers, but because you know their questions.
Many times we worry that we don’t have any life-giving words to offer.
The beautiful, amazing truth is that we don’t have to. By sharing our as-is journey, we offer God’s most amazing, life-giving gift of grace.
What is that?
He is grace — in you, waiting to be opened, shared and received.
Jesus offers us himself. Take me into your whole being. I was broken for you. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, can’t you see?
Jesus lifts up a cup of grace. Drink this. I’ve poured myself out for you. You are my true love. You have my undying promise to love you forever.
When we see ourselves in light of grace, we learn to open up the cages we’ve locked our hearts in and we begin to whisper.
We begin to speak.
We find our voice.
We leave room for grace.
How are you discovering your true voice?
How can you leave room for God’s grace on this journey of discovery?
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This is a beautifully woven post! I absolutely love the analogy!
Finding my voice is more difficult than it seems like it should be- cutting through the layers of other people’s voices to discover the one that God buried deep within me. It has been a journey, which I am still traveling, to be able to define my voice. But the more that I find my confidence in Christ and not what others think about me, the more true I am to who I have been uniquely designed to be. I think that “leaving room for grace” for me looks like trusting God with how other people will interpret my words. So much of me wants to rewrite words over and over again until I am sure that they won’t be misread as arrogant or insincere or demeaning, but trusting Him with how they are taken or not taken liberates me to be myself.
Jamie, I know how you feel. What got me to come out of my shell was this: I thought, I’ve written “this” way for a long time (rewriting to anticipate people’s objections or to protect myself). Let me try it the “grace” way — as an *experiment*. Once I did, I got hooked. Grace is so liberating & others who want grace will feel it too. Don’t look now, you’ve already stepped out by commenting here! 🙂
I don’t enjoy black coffee- I’ve tried and given up. I like a little creaminess, a little sweetning. However, I tend to forget to offer cream (grace) to myself. But I’m learning. 🙂
“Your words can set them free. Not because you have the answers, but because you know their questions”—I believe that with all my heart!
You’re such a blessing each time you share, Jennifer!
I’m not sure what my voice is but God is using it to tell my story. Out loud. In public. In front of our church. That was this past Sunday. I thought I would crawl out of my skin before it was over. And then something happened that made me even more uncomfortable. People came up to me to talk to me, to thank me for saying their own story. They told me how brave and courageous I was to stand up and do my testimony. Wait, I’m not brave and I’m not courageous! I’m scared stupid while standing in front of people! God’s grace? He didn’t have me fall on my face, stumble on my words or cry. I was still breathing calmly and comfortably when I was finished speaking.
Right now, today? Leave room for grace? Grace for my ex-husband who is acting like a 2 year old right now. Grace that I have been given for the many many times I have acted like a 2 year old to God? But he gave it anyway without hesitation. Finiding my voice to apologize for not respecting his wishes as no contact with one another about our kids other than text/email because to me that is very stupid. But I have no control over his decision, just my own. I am having an extremely difficult time with this one. I don’t agree with it at all. Grace. I’m finding it very difficult to extend this grace to him when I really want to yell at him and tell him to grow up. Grace. I am sure God has wanted to say the same thing to me.
I think this has veered off the beaten path from where I was initially headed as I started a response! Sorry.
Lisa, God has an unlimited supply of grace for us. What you’re describing is so difficult. Friend, may you find and take in grace right where you’re at. He is able to carry you through this day.
This is such a wonderful post. My mind goes into so many different places sometimes. There is the bookish me, the fun I have in the kitchen, my homemaking and my faith weaving through it all. I still feel like I’m in the process of finding my voice, but Ive been enjoying the journey.
Amy, your voice is all of those things. You have that unique combination, that is Jesus-fragranced Amy!
needed to hear that today. Grace. Yes…stopping to take a breath when we reach our limits. Taking a DEEP breath this afternoon. :o)
Taking it right with you, friend! 🙂
“Grace is that sweet ingredient that leaves room for a friend to enter in.” Sooo true! Extending grace, receiving it – the constant juggling. But it’s a wonderful journey to loving. We can be too hard on ourselves under the weight of comparison. Let’s move all the expectations and pressures at the foot of the cross and embrace who Christ calls us to: uniquely His.
I’m breathing thanks for this reminder today!
Katie, you describe grace like breathing – in, out, in out. Love that.
Odd that we so often find it easier to pour out grace for others and so difficult to take a cup for ourselves.
Well done, as always, Bonnie
I know 😉 I’m so thankful for continual reminders from God to extend grace to myself!
Jesus—grace in me. I’ll have to remember that. I need a whole lot of grace right now…
Drinking it in with you, friend! 🙂
Your words are woven through and through with God’s grace. Thank you for the reminder that we are not here to walk alone, but with others and with grace.
Your word are as Louisa May Alcott’s quote:
“I like good strong words that mean something.”
Your words mean something! Thank you.
Becky, what a sweet quote. You’re grace to me!
Simply beautiful! I had to read every word you wrote to make sure I did not miss anything. I am still finding my voice, but being vulnerable and revealing myself in the process has taken time.
It’s ongoing and sweet to see He’s faithful. I see you’re doing 31 days, Wendy! What a great journey of words ahead!
Bonnie ~ Yes, He is so faithful! The 31 days ahead will be ones where I express my voice more and vulnerability too.
“If we give ourselves the kindness, patience and gentleness that we so often extend to others, we can free ourselves to speak more often — and more confidently — in our true voice.”
Amen Bonnie! That really resonates with me.
We’ve traveling the same journey of grace, friend! 🙂
I was in the middle of writing my post today when an email came with this post. I wasn’t going to link up, but when I saw your “keep it real”, I realized I was intended to. (Sheesh, obedience can be so hard sometimes!)
Thank you for creating space so that we can “keep it real”.
Bekka! Makes my heart happy to find us in this space together. Can’t wait to enjoy your post!
Someone who hears your true voice… how many times have we felt unheard?
thank you for this post it was really beautiful.
Grace is a gift we can all give.
Warm hugs to you, Sharon!
I loved the analogy also and I so love coffee, and with the perfect creamer ( mine is International Delight French Vanilla 🙂 ) all the better!!
I am finding my voice and have for some time with the GRACE of GOD…HE has truly brought me out where I use to hide!
This was a right now word, in finding your voice you also fine your self being used more and more to lift up other’s, to encourage and to speak love and truth I am in that place right now, so you move in LOVE and pray for a great outcome I hope this situation will have that ending.
Thank you so much for sharing, I am keeping this post for reference in the future!! Many blessings,
Thank you for sharing your right now word with us too, Tina! I’m waving a hello and warm blessing to you.
Thank you for such wonderful words to read today. I was thinking about Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” I love that because it forces me to remember that Gods love is so freely given to me. Nothing I have done has earned it, it is only because of His mercy. My voice is always trying to share that mercy with all I see day to day. It is my job to practice love and mercy, it shows up in my children’s school with other children, it shows up when I honor the teachers that so freely give their time to my children, nurturing my family and husband, not forgetting to nurture myself. I drink my coffee black, but now have a desire to start drinking it with steamed milk. Steamed milk reminds me of a little extra love and care.
Thank you for such a wonderful post today. The idea of the cream in coffee being like grace is just so sweet to me. Exactly what I needed to hear.
Tonight, as I wrote my post, it took a much different turn than I expected. I wrote more about voicelessness… than about finding my voice because I feel that I am really in the beginning stages of this process.
Until today, I did not realize exactly where I was with this and it brought up quite a bit of inquiry. Bravo to you, for speaking into all of our lives, which in turn will reap a harvest of many more of us having the ability to do the same: Speak up! :0)
You are a blessing!!! Thanks so much 🙂
Oh sweet friend! I love your words and as God always seems to do, He is meeting me through your words of GRACE! In learning my voice, I took a step and shared part of my story again tonight full of fear while doing it, but getting it out there and sharing with the small group I am doing.
I linked up a post from several weeks ago that I think fits with Finding Your Voice.
Although I am not a coffee drinker, I loved your analogy about cream and grace, Bonnie! It is a beautiful post!
I am finding my true voice by being obedient to God’s calling (after years of being a “Moses”). And in that obedience, I have decided that I am wasting my time and that of so many others’ if I am not being transparent and vulnerable. However, I often find the dance between being open and honoring others’ privacy (generally my family’s) is a difficult one to perform.
On the journey to extend grace to those closest to me–and myself in turn!
thank you so much for your post!!! I have been discovering more and more about grace. I thought I knew about grace, but after reading A Thousand Gifts and now your post, I see more of grace. I am excited to read more from you….
Thank you so much for your post today. It really spoke to my heart and this is right where God has been speaking to me lately. I have finally taken a minuscule step outside of my mask wearing life and I am attempting to grant myself the tiniest bit of grace.
I love this…” – allowing others to see who we really are — what we like, dislike, our hesitations as well as our dreams.” I rarely am able to do this.. I have such a need to have the perfect outside that my inside is raging. I was at the point that I had lost hope. Hope that I can ever be free, real and true to who God made me.. However, I have had a glimmer… a slight glimmer.. I keep walking this path, praying for freedom, praying for hope, praying for joy.
If grace is creamer, I live on lattes.
Oh, that reminds me of when my mom lay dying and my friend took me to Starbucks for an hour away and I found out they made soy lattes and I was so excited the staff offered me samplers of the different flavors. Did God nudge them to pour grace into that hour for us?
Back to voice. I write when inspired and it’s after I hit publish that I have fears and doubts. So then comments ease my worry. Is that normal, okay, or something to watch out for?
Thank you so much Bonnie, I’m really glad to be part of this community.
So you make me want to drink coffee. 🙂
“Always leave room for grace.” Wow. That’s the message God keeps reminding me of all year. Love that phrasing; I’ll have to remember that.
Grace (Jesus!) is the tool he is using to help me overcome some of my worries. I’m not there by a long shot, but hopefully I’m making progress. I know he won’t give up on me.
I love how you wrote, “Someone who hears your true voice will connect with your heart and feel at home with you.” It is difficult sometimes to open ourselves up completely and share from the heart – it makes us vulnerable. But you are so right. When we do, people connect.
Thank you for your encouragement to step out today!
Thanks so much. Your words always speak to me.
Mine may be a little extreme, but I had ‘grace’ tattooed on my arm about 3 months ago. I struggle so often with my feelings about myself and feelings of failure with God. I decided to do it to always remind myself that I need to be kind to myself. And that I live under grace. Nothing I say or do makes me better or worse, it is all from Jesus’ grace.
Thankyou, Bonnie. This post is so well-timed. In the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with feeling as though my voice is silent or muffled. At the same time, God has also been teaching me how to have Grace for myself, such as He has Grace for me. =) Resting in this grace, I think, allows us to rest more deeply in His arms and frees us to receive the healing He offers. And this strengthens us to walk stronger and speak louder =)
Awww…thanks for sharing in such a lovely way!! YES, we do need to find our voice in writing!! I think that’s the beauty of it all…allowing to be that open vessel – whether we share from the bottom of our spiritual barrel, or from the abundance of our overflow…
Grateful to be living in a time and place that blogging is all the rage…my fingers would be cramped if I was still using paper and pencils…although I DO still go there sometimes….
grace and peace…
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I needed to read these words. I so often forget to give myself grace when others are unkind. I have never thought that by giving myself grace I am also giving it to others. Thank you Bonnie.
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I haven’t really thought of “finding your voice” in this way before. Thanks for opening my eyes to a truth that you seem to know very well. Great post!
[…] “Leave Room for Grace & Find Your True Voice,” blogger and author Bonnie Gray reminds me to extend […]