Finding Your Voice

Far from being an expert on chickens, I’ve learned a lot in the process of starting a flock here at our Cross-Dubya ranch this year. When eggs reached four dollars a dozen, adding chickens became an easy decision. I learned the importance between pullet and “straight run” chicks. It’s also most difficult to sex (determine the gender) of a chick before it feathers. The most important lesson was, you can never be sure of what you’re getting.

Focused primarily on egg production, another factor I considered was security. Since (yes, this is sexist but it’s because I’m an old guy) ladies feel safer with a man around the house, I decided we needed roosters to watch over the flock. Roosters keep the hens calmer and make great alarms. So do the two Guinea fowl we added by the way. Knowing that picking a rooster isn’t easy as those fuzzy little chicks all look the same, I enlisted help from a student at Texas A&M-Commerce. This young man worked at Tractor Supply and helped me pick out what we thought would be roosters. Of the four Black Copper Marans we attempted to sex and purchased, three turned out to be roosters. However, not all of them turned out to be Black Copper Marans.

As Mr. John and I raised the chicks in the kiddie pool inside the workshop, we noticed each chick’s unique personality. The Buff Orpington pullets (girl chicks) loved to be held and spoken to. “The boys” (roosters) were always stirring things up. We noticed one was smaller than the others, so we decided he was a runt and would catch up. Then, when they feathered, we made a startling discovery. Our thought Black Copper Maran rooster was instead a bantam (small) Astralorp rooster, with feathered legs that made him stand out even more. A third of the size of the others, this little fella has an attitude that is much larger than his stature.

Giving him the honors, as we moved them into the custom-built coop, Mr. John began naming a few. His best girl is “Goldie”, the giant Buff Orpington hen. She comes to him several times a day and pecks at his pants leg until he stops, picks her up, and holds her for a few minutes. Then there’s “Gertrude (aka Gertie) who was the first to lay and “Foghorn” the white American Leghorn hen. Last, we have “the boys”, known as “Rocky”, “Rupert”, and “Boots.” Bet you can’t guess which one is pictured above.

As free-range chickens, we enjoy them wandering around the ranch but do wish they’d learn to stop doing their business on the front and rear stoops. Yes, we’ve learned to watch where we walk more closely these days. I think my favorite part of having chickens, beyond the obvious eggs, is the sounds they make. Most often, they forage, making content, joyful sounds. They have an affinity for grasshoppers, and we have an overabundance of them this year. When they’re in the nesting boxes, I love to listen to their egg song. The roosters, however, can be quite noisy as they’re convinced their job is to sound the alarm and keep their flock under control. I’ve learned to tell each rooster by their crowing, which they can do a lot of.

“Rocky”, who is the alpha rooster (if there is such a thing) is the loudest. He’s also the most protective of everyone else. “Rupert” is the most beautiful of the boys, but his wheezing at the end of each crow makes him different. Last, there’s “Boots”. And while his crow is unique, I don’t think it has fully developed. At least I hope not. “Boots” has a terminal case of strep throat and his staccato crowing certainly stands out from the crowd.

With his small size and funky-feathered legs, “Boots” is always the last to get anywhere. As the others leisurely walk to the hay barn, out in the pasture, or behind the front hedge, he runs. His little feathered legs go ninety miles an hour as he tries to catch up. It’s funny to watch him spend his day rushing to keep up to the others, but the laughter comes when his bossy little attitude kicks in and he crows.

Each Christian has a unique role to play within the body of Christ. #FindingYourVoice #ServingGod #ServingOthers Share on X

Mimicking him the other day, I began thinking how God created each of His children to have a unique voice, to serve a special role within the body of Christ. As gratefully happens often, Scripture verses came to mind. The first of these is one I pray for each morning.

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth,
and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
(Jeremiah 1:9-10  NKJV)

Just as God did with Moses, the prophets, and others throughout the Bible, He gives us the right words to say when we submit to Him and ask His help. Part of my learning with the gift of self-control is to take every thought captive. In doing this, I ask God to change my words into His so that what comes out of my mouth is pleasing to Him and brings Him glory. This is ALWAYS much better than what I may be thinking. I can’t tell you I always do this but continue trying to practice it more with each passing year.

The other Scripture verses that sprang forth from my heart came from Romans 12 (verses 4-8) and 1 Corinthians 12 (verse 27). They direct us to serve God and serve others through the spiritual gifts and talents He gives. Each of us within the body of Christ, Jesus’ true church, has a responsibility to use whatever gifts we have to accomplish two things. Share the gospel message of salvation through Christ and serve others within the body using our gifts. How we can accomplish these things is endless, but the best ways are those that align with the gifts we’ve been given. Ever notice how doing what we enjoy doing most never seems like work? There’s a difference between working and laboring.

As a Christian writer, I pray He helps me find the right words to point others to Him. The words I write are offerings meant to bring Him glory. My prayer is that “I” and “me” are never seen by readers, but that the words on the page focus the reader’s attention upon Him. I’ve heard many times at writer’s conferences, etc. that each writer must “find their voice.” My question has always been, “But what if my voice sounds like Elmer Fudd on acid?”

Both as a Christian and Christian writer, I’ve learned that no matter what our unique voice is, we find it when what we say and do is pleasing to God. When we offer Him whatever He has given us in humble service and a heart of gratitude, He will use it all for His purpose. Don’t you find great peace in knowing that in Christ, whatever we are, we’re good enough for God?

My prayer for you this week is that you ask God to show you your unique voice and how you can serve His kingdom in your special way.

God’s blessings,


Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

60 thoughts on “Finding Your Voice”

  1. I absolutely love this J.D. The way you see these chicks’ and roosters’ unique “voices” is just beautiful. I love how creative our God is my friend.

  2. it’s been a long time since I had an opportunity to watch and handle chickens, J.D., but one of my very first chores was to gather the eggs from the hen house. The verbal video of your entrance into the chicken farming business was a delightful return to my own early days on the little farm, and as always, I loved hearing your “voice” describe the evolution from picking the chicks to picking up the eggs. Most of all, though, I appreciated what you had to say about the voices of the roosters and how God can use our own unique voice for declaring His Truth and introducing others to the Lord Jesus Christ.

    In my early excursions into writing and my experience at a couple of writing conferences included those sessions about “finding your voice.” Like you, I had questions and wondered how I would handle the issue. I was one of the older attendees and had already been speaking and writing for a long time before I ever tried to publish anything, but I struggled with the question of whether I was saying it right, or writing it like I should. There were others who seemed to do it so much better and I wondered whether God could use an unsophisticated country boy like me to say anything worth while. Thankfully, one of the things the blessed Holy Spirit did for me was to remind me that was He was already quite familiar with what I sounded like when He called me. He made it pretty clear that it was OK if I wanted to obsess a bit over the grammar and syntax, but to keep the content between Him and me and deliver it in the screechy voice He gave me.

    I’ve watched young preachers (and sometimes older ones) try to emulate some pulpiteering icon and it’s sad. One of the things that is indelibly clear to me is that God can use any one of us to speak to all of us in the unique voice He gave each of us, and that’s the beautiful crux of what your message reinforced in my heart this morning. Thanks again, my friend, for using the voice God gave you to bring blessing to our lives this morning.

    1. Yessir. Mr. John and I make several visits to the coop (aka the hen house) each day to lift the lid on the nesting boxes to see what bounty might lay before us. Now and again, we’ll find ourselves saying, “Excuse me” as one of the hens will look up at us as she’s nestled in to roost for a while. Their look seems to say, “Do you mind?” It’s like walking into the bathroom at the wrong time. Oh sure, I’m the only one who ever does that? 🙂

      I loved this point in your comments, “He was already quite familiar with what I sounded like when He called me.” What a great truth that is, and one that every Christian writer or layperson in the church needs to hear. Satan does his best to convince us we are unqualified, incapable, and unworthy to do the job God has called us to do. God, however, reminds us through your powerful words here, that He knew exactly what He was getting and who He was calling. He knows we are the perfect person for the job He created us for. Satan’s lies, like all his others, are out of fear of what we might accomplish in God’s name when we obey His calling.

      Well said my friend.

      I did want to add though that with free-range chickens, we’re finding eggs all over the place. In between bales of hay in the barn, under 300-gallon water totes, on top of an oil drum stored in a secluded corner, behind the bushes. Any place, it seems, they can find a little privacy. It’s like having an easter egg hunt every day. 🙂 Have a blessed week my friend.

  3. That has to be Boots in the photo, because his feet look like boots! I love your stories of the ranch and what God shows you through each. And I love chickens. I wish we lived where we could have them. For years, there was a family who had a small chicken ranch near us. No matter where I had to go, I always drove past it to look at his “girls.”

    1. You bet it is Ms. Ane. He’s a real sport, and it cracks me up to watch those little legs flying as he rushes around trying to catch up to the rest of the flock. The hens remind me of ladies going to the restroom in a restaurant. They all seem to want to go somewhere at the same time and move as a group. 🙂 The larger roosters cast a watchful eye, anticipate where they’re going and one leads them there while the other trails behind (almost like pulling rear guard). Poor “Boots” on the other hand seems to be caught unaware and can never seem catch up to them until they stop somewhere. It’s hilarious to watch him scamper back and forth all day, seemingly screaming, “Wait up guys! I want to come too.” Thank you as always for commenting and sharing ma’am.

  4. J.D., I loved this post for so many reasons! My husband was away for a few days and I discovered, once again, I like having him home. He definitely provides me with a sense of security and comfort. I love how your little guy makes up for his size with attitude as he reminded me that the size of our “platform” doesn’t matter a hill of beans. Thank you for the reminder to be faithful to what the Lord has called us. May we always point others to Jesus, whose Word brings all we need each day. May God bless you and Mister John as you bring God’s truths to life through ranching lessons. Your unique voice is a blessing!

    1. As to “platform” Ms. Joanne, AMEN! While that elusive word means something different in our publishing world, the size of our platform means little when I compare it to the size of our God who will use whatever we offer to Him in whatever manner He chooses and not the publishers. Our job as Christian writers and bloggers are to faithfully follow where God leads us, in the calling that He has set us apart form. Great thoughts ma’am. Thank you, and I understand about the security of being home. As a husband, I rest more peacefully knowing I’m right there if needed.

    1. Thank you Ms. Melissa. I’m beginning to think that being a farmer and rancher is “my authentic voice” and I bloom best where God has planted me. So glad that you can find inspiration and encouragement in my meager offerings ma’am. God’s blessings.

  5. Another stellar reflection, J. D.! May we all find that unique voice that God has given us and use it to His honor and glory. And your descriptions of the chickens makes me feel that I know each one of them.
    Many blessings!

    1. LOL… If you and Mr. Danny ever find yourself in Texas, be sure to come by and introduce yourself to them my friend. I’m certain they’d be right proud to share an egg or three with y’all. So please that you enjoyed the post ma’am.

  6. What fun reading this post!
    Having been raised in between two brothers and having two sons, I enjoyed your statement: “The Buff Orpington pullets (girl chicks) loved to be held and spoken to. “The boys” (roosters) were always stirring things up.”
    More importantly, your analogy regarding voice is so good. Thank you.
    I have to say that I’m still trying to imagine what Elmer Fudd, on acid, would sound like.

    1. 🙂 Just the thought of seeing you smile brings a smile of my own Ms. Connie. You and Mr. Guy have walked around the Cross-Dubya so I’m certain you could just picture little “Boots” scurrying from the barn to the coop behind the workshop. As for the “Elmer Fudd on acid”; you’ve heard me when I get excited and start talking too fast. LOL

  7. What a fun blog today! Living in the county, we can hear neighborhood chickens and roosters to the north and south of us. I love those fowl sounds because I grew up with them, but everyone around doesn’t appreciate them. Great lesson today!

    1. Thank you Ms. Dottie. There are certain sounds that can take us right back to our roots, be they precious memories of growing up on Grandpa’s farm and helping Grandma feed the chickens or gathering eggs or the noise the comes from the hustle and bustle of city streets where it seems others never sleep. Am glad you enjoyed the post ma’am.

  8. Oh my, your “family” just keeps expanding. Thanks for the peek into the coop this morning, and for the reminder that God has gifted each of us with a unique and purposeful voice to use for others’ good and His glory. Blessings to you and your flock 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Lori. Yes, God has given each of us a voice as unique as our testimony. My prayer is that each of us can find our authentic voice so that we can share what God created us for with power and conviction. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

  9. There’s nothing like fresh eggs. A lady in one of our former churches used to keep chickens and sold her excess eggs. She called her chicks her “girls” and loved them like pets. I never felt particularly warm towards chickens, perhaps because when I was a child, a neighbor let me feed her chickens–and they scared me by coming and pecking at my feet. 🙂 Perhaps I dropped some seed there? If I ever feed chickens again, I’ll know to toss the seed away from me. 🙂

    I love how you describe that even chickens have different personalities and voices. Even if we “squawk,” God has a place and a mission for us.

    1. As a longtime “squawker” my friend, I can assure you that God has a place and a purpose for each of us. As for feeding the chickens, I actually prefer to scatter their scratch feed around my feet. It gathers them near and makes it much easier to get them used to being around me and getting them into the safety of their coop each evening. And yes, the bright orange color of a farm-fresh, free-range egg is not only more colorful but has a richer taste than those we purchase at the supermarket. Did you know that in Europe, eggs are kept on shelves rather than in the cooler section? They’ll last for two weeks or more without being refrigerated.

  10. Your question, “But what if my voice sounds like Elmer Fudd on acid?” gave me my first out-loud laugh of the day. Thank you, J.D. May we all use our voices to point others to our ever-faithful Creator and Sustainer.

    1. You just made my week Ms. Diana. If I can bring forth laughter, deep thoughts, or encouragement within someone, then I’ve allowed God to use the unique voice He gave me to point that person to Him. All good things come from heaven above my friend. God’s blessings.

  11. I always enjoy how you get a spiritual point out of the various aspects of farm life. This post was a delight! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Loved this J. D. Growing up we had chickens but it was in my early years. Still, you brought back so many sweet memories. I really enjoyed this post. I’m grateful for the way your voice clearly points to your Savior. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. I am amazed at how God can use all our different voices to all point to the same God. We each share different aspects of God’s character, but we all point to the same God. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

  13. Kathy Collard Miller

    I love God’s creativity in making us each unique and then giving us unique assignments and qualifications. Keep sharing, brother J.D.!

    1. You and Mr. Jerry are always welcome to come visit Ms. Rosemarie. We’ll have you out there gathering eggs and feeding treats to the donkeys in no time. And I just know Mr. Jerry would love to make a round or two on the tractor. 🙂

  14. Ah, the flock with their individual personalities! You did a great job showing how we need each other. Not always the most fun to be the smallest or the tallest but we’re part of the flock. Thank you so much. Blessings!

    1. Amen Ms. Marjorie. As long as I’m part of God’s flock, I’m thrilled. 🙂 Even if, like little “Boots”, I feel like I’m always running to catch up to everyone else. God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. What a charming – and amusing – tour of your hen house. You enlightened me with the connection that God equips each of His children with a unique voice for Him.

    And I’d wager that life on your ranch is like an Easter Egg hunt every day, with or without your chickens.

    1. Yes ma’am. Chickens or not, life at the Cross-Dubya is always an adventure ma’am. We are blessed to find some pretty amazing treasures each day, wrapped up as God’s blessings upon us. Have a great week ma’am; and thank you so much for stopping by for a visit.

  16. Loved learning about your chickens and their unique personalities. We had chickens when I was a child, but I never got to “know” them (and then they ended up in the pot). This statement really spoke to me. “We find our uique voice when we do what is pleasing to God.” That’s why it’s so important that we stay close to our Father on our writing journey. If we don’t hear His voice in response to our prayers, perhaps He’s sending us in a different direction. Sometimes those changes of direction are painful (like rejection letters), but at other times, we feel a great relief when we discern Him telling us to make changes. Thank you, sir, for you wisdom and encouragement.

  17. Thank you for a farm lesson and the spiritual lesson. I love learning both even though I won’t ever put the farm lessons to practice. But I love learning and applying the spiritual ones. God bless you and thank you JD

    1. I’ve learned to never say never Ms. Yvonne. I thought for sure I had put “country living” far in my past until ten years ago ma’am. We just never know where God may plant us next. Thank you ma’am.

  18. Another encouraging post, J.D. I always enjoy learning about things on the ranch. I have a co-worker who has chickens and she brings eggs to our office frequently for anyone who wants them. I’ve often prayed for God to give me the words I’m to speak in a large group setting as the keynote, a small group, or even one-on-one, as He has always done with His people. One of my favorite things about finding our voice is knowing that when we do find our voice to tell our story, we discover God’s goodness and mercy written on every page.

    1. How true Ms. Karen. I’m constantly amazed at how His blessings flow when I obey His calling and leading in my life. There’s been times when I too have stepped way outside my “comfort zone”, but in doing so, I’ve been overwhelmed by His goodness. Thank you ma’am. I’m so glad you enjoy the posts from my “voice” and perspective.

  19. J.D., I love the emphasis you place on tuning our voices to God’s will. And, of course, your story is delightful. I have a good friend who has loved raising chickens and she tells me about their personalities and antics too. It’s hard for me to imagine, but I guess some things you need to experience. I’m not sure Mr. Jeff will sign on to raising chicks though. LOL

    1. Thank you Ms. Annie. Something I’ve learned in the past decade of farming and ranching is that all of God’s creatures have unique personalities and I think all of them, even the venomous snakes I run across now and again, shows me something about God that I can grow and learn from. Yes, that includes silly little feather-legged chickens with big attitudes. God’s blessings ma’am, and tell Mr. Jeff he’s missing out on a blessing without chickens. LOL

  20. Wonderful post, brother JD. I love learning about your chicken and roosters. I agree–nothing beats fresh eggs! As for finding your voice, this sentence stood out to me:
    “Just as God did with Moses, the prophets, and others throughout the Bible, He gives us the right words to say when we submit to Him and ask His help.” You have definitely found your voice, dear friend. As we pray and commit our writing to God, He will guide us and let His words flow from our spirits and through our pens or keyboards. Isn’t His gift of anointing wonderful? Have a blessed week, my friend.

    1. Thank you, as have you Ms. Karen. In some ways, our voices are similar as we’re both in a season of caregiving, but each of our voices are unique and we can each carry Christ’s banner forward in how we try and help others learn from what we’ve faced. And yes, as Christian writers, we are both blessed by the gift of His anointing and we are held bound by honor to present His Word is His way and in His time. Our job is to be faithful and wiling to obey. God’s blessings my precious sister-in-Christ.

    1. Indeed we are Mr. Ken. The manner in which we perform may be both similar and different to others, but we are all to be workers in His kingdom, using the gifts and talents He provides to us, in His service. Great point sir. We should all serve gladly, with a singular goal of bringing Him honor and glory. Thank you.

  21. J.D., I always enjoy meeting your animals. We once had a pet duck and chicken. They supplied us with eggs and lots of laughs. Their unique personalities amazed me. All of creation certainly points to our marvelous Creator.

    1. I’m sure with you there Ms. Debbie. Our animals do indeed give us plenty of reasons to laugh. I had two guinea fowl get stuck behind large (1800lb.) bales of hay this week. I had to move several of them until I could reach down into them and help them out. Next week, these “knuckleheads” will probably do it again. LOL The things we do for a bit of privacy. 🙂

      And yes ma’am, if we pause long enough to look for it, we see signs of God’s hands in all of creation. We see similarities and differences, but all of creation points to our Creator. I’ve often wondered, as I’ve sat chuckling at the antics of a young calf, or watching kittens tussle with one another, if God gave them those amusing traits for us or for them? Thank you so much for joining our conversation ma’am. Always appreciated.

  22. As usual, I am the last to respond! Please know that I love reading your posts whenever I can sit down long enough to do so. Often when I am in front of my computer, it is for so many other reasons. Nonetheless, here I am past midnight being entertained and enlightened. Who knew that chickens were so affectionate? That’s a new one. I have to admit my amazement at the different chickens I saw when I visited a dude ranch a few years ago. They are fun to watch. I had to look twice at your photo to finally understand that the weird-looking “miniature Bigfoot” had feathers on its legs.
    Seriously though, your description of their crowing and calling is to be commended. I confess – I don’t know what my voice is. I just want it to glorify God wherever I am and whatever I do.

    1. Hmm? Ms. Karen’s voice? How would I describe it? Having never heard her in person, I suspect she’s a melodic tenor or soprano who can sing as well as she plays piano. As a writer, I think her voice is one of a strong, independent, fighter who recognizes her reliance upon God for every battle she faces. Her caring, soft heart that is filled with kindness and gentleness makes her words both inspirational and encouraging. Remember that we see others so much better than we see ourselves my friend. God’s blessings, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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