Like moths drawn to a flame, children young and old focus on the edge of the stage when the music stops. Inviting children, fifth grade and down, to come sit on the floor, all eyes focus on the well-used, fabric-covered suitcase housing a friend. Excitement grows as the little ones gather round. Grandparents lead some down front. Some approach with caution, not knowing what to expect. Others hurriedly rush to get their best position. The show, as they say, is about to begin.

Each Sunday morning, our entire church, both in-person and on-line, is invited to spend a few minutes with “Suzy Q” as the children prepare to leave for Children’s Church. We all look forward to what this sweet, zany, sassy little lady has to say as she and her friend Ms. Christy introduce this week’s lesson to the children. Some weeks, “Suzy Q” starts out with a song. Others, she yammers away at 90mph, reaching a high-pitched crescendo of excitement with her voice as Ms. Christy brings her back to earth. Carrying on conversations with the Pastor, “Willis the Gorilla”, the children, and mostly Ms. Christy, little “Suzy Q” both entertains and shares Bible truths that pertain to the day’s lesson.

She mesmerizes the children as she and Ms. Christy discuss the subject of the lesson. Putting her head into Ms. Christy’s lap as they pray, children of all ages are moved by her example. Regularly videoed by visitors, we never quite know where her conversations might lead. We recognize that “Suzy Q” is a puppet, but her larger-than-life personality endears itself to all who witness this act of ministry. Often, our church erupts in laughter as she’s being put back into “Suzy’s House” and her now-muffled voice shares some last-second thought with the Pastor as he takes the stage.

I’m told there are many friends who live inside Ms. Christy’s head and that life around the McMorris household gets interesting when they decide to visit. I can only imagine what it’s like when they all decide to have a tea party and Ms. Christy is the only one in the room. What must it be like to have six different voices and personalities all conversing with you at the same time? That’s when I realize, while we may not bring them to life as Ms. Christy does, we all have voices inside us. As my friend Ms. Christy states, “Knowing which ones we should listen to is important.”

What voices do you listen to in your life? #Voices #Discernment #Guidance Click To Tweet

As I thought about the voices in my life, several come to mind. Growing older, I’ve found I hear my mom and dad (and the many life lessons they imparted) more and more. I hear the voices of co-workers who taught valuable skills and life lessons that have served me well. These voices manifest themselves as memories and help guide my decision-making and actions.

Other voices seek to lead me astray. Satan and his minions bombard us with enticing thoughts that always lead away from the Word of God. Often camouflaged to appear aligned with God’s Word, they worm their way into our lives when we don’t pay attention. It is only by learning to discern God’s truth (the only real truth in this world) that we can identify and avoid them. The best way I know to do that is to study and hide God’s Word in our hearts. We can then take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and compare it to God’s truths. The test that has proven itself most helpful to me is this. If it points to God, it is good. If it points away from God, then we know it is not of God.

The most important voice within me is an active one. It is the Holy Spirit. I’m still learning to listen to Him more closely as I mature along my journey in faith. Isaiah 30:21 reminds me of the importance of listening for God’s direction in our lives.

So, who is this genius behind all the voices found inside Mrs. Christy McMorris? She’s quick to tell you that it’s a gift from God. I believe that to be true, but I’m keenly aware of how hard she must have worked to master this creative act of ministry. As Director of Children’s Ministry at New Beginnings Fellowship Baptist Church in tiny Sulphur Springs, Texas, Ms. Christy wears many hats each week. Chief among them is being a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. How she finds the energy to accomplish all she does each week is unfathomable for many. I found the answer in Zechariah 4:6.

God is the giver of all spiritual gifts and talents (James 1:17) and gives to each that which He deems necessary to carry out His plan for our lives. It is up to each of us to identify, embrace, and hone these gifts, using them in His service. Called to be a Christian writer, learning the skills needed to employ my craft often-times seems far from my reach. It is in the words of 1 Peter 4:10-11 that we find the encouragement needed to put in the long hours required to develop our gifts. By understanding how important being faithful stewards of God’s gifts is helps us to better use them for His purpose.

How are the unique gifts and talents God has given you being used in His service? #Stewardship #AGoodSteward #FaithfulService Click To Tweet

Something my friend Ms. Christy has taught me is that serving God can take many forms. In her case, she serves Him by leading our church’s children’s ministry, playing piano, and singing as part of our Worship Team. She also directs our AWANA program and performs a myriad of other tasks each day few others are even aware of. Most of all, she is a gentle, caring, and loving sister-in-Christ who always makes time to support, encourage, and edify others. “Letting God lead” is her mantra, and it is so evident in her life of service. I, for one, am humbled by her example.

I pray you’ll join me in offering a word of thanks for the many ways folks like Ms. Christy serve our church families. It is their selfless service to others and dedication to furthering God’s kingdom that brings us all a bit closer to God each day. Also, I encourage you to consider in what ways you can use the God-given gifts and talents you have in His service in the coming days. If we all do a little, we can lessen another’s burden and live out His plan for our lives.

God’s blessings,

52 thoughts on “Voices”

    1. Mrs. Christy McMorris is certainly a blessing to all in our church and community. Thanks for commenting today.

  1. I love how God gives each of us different and unique qualities and gifts. I believe that gifts can change according to His plan for us. I pray I am alert and listening for ways to share His love with others. Have a blessed day! 🙂

    1. I absolutely agree Ms. Melissa. It’s being willing to “let God lead” as Ms. Christy puts it that allows Him to use us more fully in His kingdom’s work. Thank you ma’am.

  2. How encouraging to hear of a strong children’s ministry program at your church. May the Lord bless & strengthen Mrs Christy in all of her tasks, as well as that wonderful puppet ministry.

    1. A little backstory Ms. Gail; the original “Suzy Q” is Ms. Christy’s real life older sister. I can only imagine the fun these two siblings have shared through the years.

  3. J.D., you’ve reminded me of Ephes. 2:10 that says we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Being the person He created me to be brings Him glory.

    1. I’m so thankful for people like Christy who use their talents for the Lord. Seeds are planted we may never know about until eternity. I still remember some of my Sunday School teachers from childhood. This also shows us how important even the small things we do can be for someobe else.

      1. Right there with you Ms. Barbara. One of the things I look forward to upon my arrival in heaven is learning all the people who are there because I somehow managed (often in spite of myself) to plant a seed of faith that God brought to harvest.

    2. How true Ms. Debbie. While I know our works make no difference on our achieving heaven’s upward call, I join you in praying that our efforts to serve His kingdom here on earth will contribute to great rewards we can lay at His feet; honoring Him for all His blessings in our life and all He paid to ransom us. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Amen Ms. Nancy. Among the great joys in my life is the time I get to spend with the young people in our church. I always leave them on AWANA nights reenergized and filled with joy. Thank you ma’am.

  4. I love tagging along with you, J.D. The visits to the ranch are always enlightening and enjoyable, but going to church with you was a refreshing change of pace. I have a special kind of connection with this morning’s excursion. I’ll never forget my teenaged daughter’s debut in church with her first puppet. She had always had a fascinating penchant for imitating people and was really good at coming up with all kinds of voices and personalities. She wasn’t as creative and diversified as Mrs. Christy, but it was delightful not only to see the response from children and adults, but also to see how much she enjoyed serving the Lord like that. Those days have long since passed and her contributions are much different now, but watching her bring that inanimate little thing to life is a memory I never want to lose.
    As you so creatively pointed out, there are lots of different voices clamoring for our attention, more now than ever, and we need to be careful which ones we listen to. One of the most destructive weapons the devil has deployed against the Church of Jesus Christ since the beginning has been false teachers–voices that claim to be God’s representatives, but that deny or distort vital elements of His Word. And speaking of which, the Scriptural reinforcement you included as you guided us along was powerful and encouraging. If our visit to Texas gets to include a weekend, I’d love to shed a few years and see Mrs. Christy’s gifts at work and to feel again what it’s like to be a kid watching a puppet come to life. God bless you for giving us a chance to share some of the encouragement you poured out to Mrs. Christy and her anointed little alter-ego.

    1. I bet seeing “little Gallagher” in action was a source of true joy for y’all and an inspiration for many. I’m always fascinated when ventriloquists like Ms. Christ are able to keep all those voices in her head straight. I have trouble getting my own thoughts out sometimes, I couldn’t imagine how hard it is to manage multiple voices while carrying out a multi-sided conversation with yourself. LOL Alas, why so many have more talent in their pinkie finger than I could ever hope for. I loved your point that your daughter’s contributions are “different” now; grateful knowing that she continues to contribute as God leads. With God leading in mind, I’m hoping to convince my friend Ms. Christy to share her unique talents and heart for God with many of our friends through an appearance on PJNET.tv one day. And yes, when you and your Ms. Diane are able to come visit the Cross-Dubya, plan on waiting to leave after a Sunday service. What a blessing it will be to worship with all y’all my friend. God’s blessings.

  5. Your message brought back wonderful memories of our many puppet shows at my church. You’ve inspired me that it may be time to to renew that ministry. What a blessing Ms. Christy and Suzy Q bring to the children and adults of your church. Such a wonderful role model of service. Thank you for sharing a blessing today, my friend. Wishing you good health and joy!

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. To see how Ms. Christy is such an accomplished ventriloquist is something to witness for sure. I wonder if God ever sees Himself as a ventriloquist when we open our mouths but He heard His words, wisdom, love, and grace pour out? I pray often that I am a willing “dummy” that He can easily use in His work.

  6. As I read your article, I felt like I was sitting in the service. What a wonderful blessing for the children and the adults who get to listen in. “Letting God Lead” is something we all must do. Excellent article, as always. Blessings.

    1. Thank you for being the same Ms. Karen. As for my voice? I’m the crazy Uncle you hope stays in the corner muttering to himself at parties. LOL Have a blessed week ma’am.

  7. I’m so glad you introduced us to Mrs. Christy, J. D.! She is certainly a woman with talents who can inspire all of us to use our God-given gifts in His service. I do pray that my blog serves that purpose more often than not.

    1. I’m absolutely convinced that you do Ms. Martha Jane. I, for one, am always entertained, inspired, and encouraged by your posts sweet sister. God’s blessings ma’am.

  8. As always, I love your posts! When the Lord gifts you, it’s like He supernaturally fills you with the energy to use those gifts for Him. You just don’t tire.

    I remember a ministry like Ms. Christy’s growing up. I always loved those puppets.

    1. Thank you Ms. Stephanie; as I always learn so much for your posts and podcasts ma’am. And yes, isn’t it amazing how we never grow tired when serving God. Afterwards, I can be exhausted, but in the act of serving it’s as though I possess His endless power. I never got to experience puppets and ventriloquism when I was young, so I’m making up for it (joyfully) in my second childhood. 😀

  9. Loved being introduced to Ms. Christy. Many lives will be impacted by her willingness to use her gifts. Maybe I should start a ranch and use the care and study of animals to bring glory to God? But then that would make me YOU and you’re already doing an excellent job of keeping your eyes on the Lord as you tend his creation. My prayer is that God uses the gift of writing fiction to smuggle the Truth into fans of romance. Heaven only knows what spiritual fruit that might produce!

    1. It is when we all work together toward His goals, each using the gifts and unique talents He’s given us in His kingdom work that we can have the most impact. I, for one, am so glad you use your ultra-creative mind and love-filled heart to reach many with your unique brand of writing. I would never have the courage to even attempt to write fiction. 🙂

  10. Esther M Bandy

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Your description of Ms. Christy teaching children with puppets brought back memories. In addition, comparing the different puppet voices with the voices we listen to as adults is powerful. Thank you for your insight.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Esther. To watch Ms. Christy bring this little people to life, and to listen to her pour out God’s message through this medium shows us her heart for both God and children. Thank you so much ma’am.

    1. I think so Ms. Candyce. I was thinking the other morning, what a blast it must have been to have grown up with a mama like Ms. Christy who could bring the pages of a book or use one of her puppet friends to tell a bedtime story. A performance every night. The children (all grown now, some with children of their own) must have squealed with delight at story time.

  11. It is so important to listen to the right voices, and it never hurts when like Suzy Q, they add a little humor! God has sense of humor–I mean just look at a platypus!

    1. Exactly! Part duck, part beaver. Come on! Christian comedian Brad Stine has a schtick [sic] he does on how Adam must have tired in naming all the animals God created. He was running out of names by the time he got to “dog” and “cow.” LOL Thank you as always for bringing smiles Ms. Kathy; and yes, learning to discern and hear the right voices in our lives is so important.

  12. Ms. Christy is indeed a jewel! She sounds like a wonderful servant who “lets God lead.” The children at your church are very blessed to be taught by those darling puppets. Thanks, JD, for sharing her with us. P.S. My name was Susie Q when I was growing up! LOL

    1. 😀 Yeah, I can see how you got that moniker Ms. Karen, er, I mean Ms. “Susie Q”. You’re every bit as insightful, sassy, and fun as Ms. Christy’s little Ms. “Suzy Q.” Have a blessed week my friend.

  13. What a blessing Ms. Christy is to your congregation and community. Like many pastor’s wives, her plate is full. We all need to be mindful and cover our church leaders/servants in prayer. God bless her!
    J.D., you’ve cover so many important topics here I don’t know where to begin.
    Regarding listening to Holy Spirit, I love where you said: “The best way I know to do that is to study and hide God’s Word in our hearts. We can then take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and compare it to God’s truths. The test that has proven itself most helpful to me is this. If it points to God, it is good. If it points away from God, then we know it is not of God.” That’s valuable advice for sure!
    Also, I needed your reminder to seriously walk in my calling. Just sayin.
    Thanks, my friend for another enriching lesson.

    1. Ms. Connie, I think you do a tremendous job of working out, and walking in, your faith ma’am. When I look at the legacy of faith and love that you are leaving your family, it’s easy to see the impact you and my dear friend Mr. Guy are making in the lives of your grandchildren. They don’t lead teen Bible studies as young people unless that behavior (selflessness, security in who they are as children of God, fearlessness, and a desire to serve) has been modeled for them throughout their young lives. My hat’s off to you two ma’am. God’s blessings.

  14. I love hearing stories like this, J.D. Teaching children is definitely one of my passions too. Thanks for sharing about a faithful steward of God’s gifts within your church. She sounds amazing! I feel encouraged by her dedication, and I believe others do too. Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you Ms. Annie. As you are to so many, our Ms. Christy is an inspiration for so many at our church. I pray for her daily, as I know that God can be the only source of strength she relies upon to get everything done that she does. She’s in LA this week, celebrating the birth of her new granddaughter, but I pray she’s able to read this when she returns so she knows how very blessed our world is because she’s in it. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  15. Ms. Christy is definitely a sweet soul for the Lord using her unique giftings for the children. I often pray to hear God’s voice above the enemy’s and my own negative self talk. For me, drowning out a noisy world, even social media, is important to listen to what the Lord is saying.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. I know you understand all the jobs a Pastor’s wife does that no one else ever sees. We are truly blessed to share our walk in faith with this powerful example of God’s love. How very true ma’am, we must drown out the noisy world around us by focusing on God and His Word.

  16. Ms. Christy sounds amazing. When we use the gifts God gives us, He will shine thru. Thank you for introducing her to us.

  17. Kathy Collard Miller

    What a wonderful gift the Lord has given to Ms. Christy. For many years we knew a ventriloquist who shared Christ in many different ways and God used her mightily. I love how creative God is in giving us His gifts.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      With you there Ms. Kathy. I often stand in awe as the Worship Team performs, as Ms. Christy and “Suzy Q” take the stage, and so many other talented folks within the body of Christ exercise their gifts in His service. What a time we’re going to have in heaven dear friend. Thank you so much for commenting.

    1. Amen Ms. LuAnn. I’m grateful that God knows just how to bring different gifts and talents together in ways that gives His body the ability to reach folks at many different levels and many different ways. We each have a place in ministry that fits us and allows us to find joy in serving. We just have to keep plugging into those opportunities until we find “the right fit” for us. When we do, we know it. It’s always where God wants us to be. Have you noticed how natural it feels to be aligned with God’s will? 🙂 Thank you for commenting ma’am.

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