On Losing My Voice

Some personal news: (Don’t you just hate social media posts that begin that way? As if the actual point of social media isn’t explicitly for the sharing of personal news? Okay, I’m being a little cheeky, but I do have a point.)

Some personal news: I have lost my voice.

First, don’t panic. I don’t have COVID (again), and my physical voice is fine. But it seems I have lost . . . misplaced, perhaps . . . my voice. As a writer. As a craftswoman. As just “me.”

Don’t misunderstand: I spend a lot of time writing. My job as marketing content manager and a writer/editor for Revive Our Hearts guarantees it, and I relish every minute. Truly. But it’s rare that I take the time to sit down and write as “just Laura,” and to be perfectly honest, when I do, I struggle knowing what to say or how to say it. So maybe it’s an occupational hazard—or maybe I’m afraid to dig in and think what Laura thinks, feel what Laura feels, and write what Laura must write. That’s likely a contributor, too.

Whatever the case, it seems I have lost my voice. But I think I know how to find it.

This Is the Voice

Have you ever spent a whole day alone? I mean alone alone, without so much as your cat or your kids or the UPS guy to talk to. After hours of silence, maybe your phone rings or you go through the checkout at the grocery store.

“Hello,” you croak. “A-hem. [audible throat clearing] Uh, how are you today?”

“Would you like paper or plastic?” the clerk asks.
“Pap . . . ” [gurgly cough] “Sorry, paper is fine.”

Those first few syllables feel like a special kind of torture, until after a few more words, stringing together a few sentences, finally a paragraph or two, whatever seized up the engine of your voice breaks lose and finally the words coming out sound like your own. The tune of your voice becomes familiar once again as it echoes through your ears, sounding more like a song than a sputter. It takes time, but eventually you find your voice.

So will I, but I need to work out the crackles, and the only way out is through. Translation: this mama needs to do some serious (but not too serious) writing.

This Is the Challenge

Over a year ago, “Santa” put a small book in my Christmas stocking at my parents’ house. In straight silver print across a black cardboard cover it read, 300 Writing Prompts. Inside, I laughed at the gift. Why on earth would I need this? Sometimes we get the gifts we didn’t know we need.

Here’s how I’m hoping to find my voice again: as my friend and coworker Erin Davis encourages those of us on the ROH content team, “Butts in chairs, words on screens. Messages into hearts.” For me, that will mean a minimum of two prompts a week until the words begin to flow on their own.

I want to learn to relax into writing again rather than bracing myself for it. I want to remember how to write for fun. But more than anything, this will be a spiritual discipline for me, because I believe that when He knit me together in my mother’s womb, God wove in a special type of thread. It’s not unique to me, just as your athletic thread, your crafty thread, your entrepreneurial thread isn’t unique to you, but a common grace gift from an infinitely creative God to His people. It’s not unique to you (or me), but it’s unique within us, isn’t it? Many people out there could write as Revive Our Hearts, but who else can write my words? Who else can play your game? Who else can craft your projects? Who else can dream your dreams?


God is weaving together my story, just as he’s weaving together yours. Part of my story is woven in words. Being faithful to God means being faithful to—enjoying, even— all of whom He’s created me to be. That’s what I want to get back to in the days that remain of 2021.

If you’d like to join me on the journey, you’ve come to the right place. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to contribute some words—or whatever thread God has woven into you—of your own.

Friday Reflection – On a Hymn and a Prayer

Dear friends,

Wow! It’s been awhile! While my life is still super-ultra-mega busy, I’ve been busy working on my “word” for this year, which is discipline. One of the disciplines in which I had hoped to grow in 2019 was setting aside time to write, even if it was only a few moments, one day each week.

Well, since this is my first post on the good old “Shimmersome” blog in 2019, you can imagine how that’s gone. You know what, though? Writing, for me, is actually a spiritual discipline, and like every other spiritual discipline, the hardest part is setting aside the perceived needs of the moment and getting started. When I sit down to write, my heart is full, my mind is engaged, and I feel more like the person God created me to be than just about any other time. So, back to it! (If you want to read my other published work so far in 2019, you can check me out on the Revive Our Hearts “Authors” page here.)

As many of you know, one of my (many) passions is music, and one of the particularly nerdy ways that plays out in my life is in reflecting on the lyrics of the songs that pop into my head throughout the course of the day, particularly if they’re hymns or songs of worship. (I mean, if you want me to write a reflection on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, I suppose I could do that, but somehow I don’t think there’s much of a thirst for that among the minuscule masses of my readership.)

This week, while writing a post on my journey through depression and anxiety for ROH, the hymn that’s been on repeat in my mind is one that is based on Psalm 51, which is David’s song of repentance after the mess with Bathsheba. I don’t know that it had any direct connection with what I’d been writing about, except that it, like Psalm 51, majors on the theme of God’s great mercy for His people and it gives us an example of how a truly repentant heart might approach a supremely holy God and come away cleansed, forgiven, and comforted.

At the risk of losing my Baptist credentials, I have to say that our liturgically-minded brothers and sisters in the faith really have something when it comes corporate confession. I’m convinced that seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness together is a practice that would be a gift to every healthy church, and one that could be a first step toward health for a body that is ailing.

Alas, since many churches don’t have a format for practicing corporate confession, what better way to begin than in song? The words to “God be Merciful to Me”, originally from a Scottish Psalter, are poetic, poignant, and purposeful, and I’ve copied them below. For those who are familiar, perhaps there are a few additional verses you haven’t heard. As you read them, may they be the prayer of your heart, and lead you on the path of repentance, worship, and peace.

1 God, be merciful to me,
on thy grace I rest my plea;
plenteous in compassion thou,
blot out my transgressions now;
wash me, make me pure within,
cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

2 My transgressions I confess,
grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against thy grace
and provoked thee to thy face;
I confess thy judgment just,
speechless, I thy mercy trust.

3 I am evil, born in sin;
thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
teach thy wisdom to my heart;
make me pure, thy grace bestow,
wash me whiter than the snow.

4 Broken, humbled to the dust
by thy wrath and judgment just,
let my contrite heart rejoice
and in gladness hear thy voice;
from my sins O hide thy face,
blot them out in boundless grace.

5 Gracious God, my heart renew,
make my spirit right and true;
cast me not away from thee,
let thy Spirit dwell in me;
thy salvation’s joy impart,
steadfast make my willing heart.

6 Sinners then shall learn from me
and return, O God, to thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove,
and my tongue shall sing thy love;
touch my silent lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall praise accord.

7 Not the formal sacrifice
hath acceptance in thine eyes;
broken hearts are in thy sight
more than sacrificial rite;
contrite spirit, pleading cries,
thou, O God, wilt not despise.

8 Prosper Zion in thy grace
and her broken walls replace;
then our righteous sacrifice
shall delight thy holy eyes;
free-will off’rings, gladly made,
on thine altar shall be laid.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #51C

Accessed at: https://hymnary.org/text/god_be_merciful_to_me_on_thy_grace

Hey, you made it this far! I can’t believe someone’s still reading. Ha! Well, what did you think? Those are fabulous lyrics, are they not? If you’d like to explore further resources for this hymn, you can check out free sheet music for the traditional setting of the hymn, and then a couple of videos so you can hear both the old and a newer setting. Enjoy! Leave me some feedback on whether you’d like to see more hymn reflection posts in the future or any other feedback for the newly regenerated blog.

Grace and peace,


Hearts Day 2018

Here it is, February 14th, 2018. It’s Valentine’s Day–a day for chocolate, kisses, smiles, and cheer. For dumb little cards and sappy big cards, for too much sugar, friends and family near. (Sorry about the rhyme; I couldn’t help myself.) This is a day for life and health and love . . . right?

Mourning has Broken

This morning began with a greeting from my love, who is out of town for the week. Next came the news that a dear friend from church entered heaven’s gates after years of battling stage 4 cancer. (Don’t even say he lost his battle. Don’t even. I hate that phrase.) Elsewhere in our proximity, there are people too numerous to mention succumbing to this season’s influenza outbreak, one ending up passed out on the cold tile of his kitchen floor. In other news, our school’s sewer might be backing up into the water, rendering half of the facility unusable.

Alice, who used to be just a four-year-old girl, but is now a girl her father fears will be remembered mostly as a four-year-old victim of tragedy will have an MRI today to see whether her brain is filled with tumor or hope or, perhaps, both. Thirty-three years ago today my twenty-nine-year-old father went into the hospital with a benign brain tumor and left a month later in a casket.

This is a day for life and love and health.

And pain and suffering and death.

And flu and sewage and fainting spells.

Happy Hearts Day, 2018.

Need I Go On?

If this was all there is, this torturous existence where sewage and sweetness mix with unsettling regularity, well, heavens, reader, why go on?

But remember that one time, the apostle Paul asks, remember when you were “Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”? (Ephesians 2:11-12)

Remember when you had no hope? Remember when all the water of your spiritual world was tainted with sewage? Remember when your heart was so broken by the law and the failure and the sin and the sovereign circumstances of your life that you felt that you couldn’t go on?

Remember how you were so far from Christ that the very mention of his name and your heart made you bristle like that time when your office-mate got 2 dozen long-stemmed roses from her adoring husband the day after you broke up with your second boyfriend of the year?

That virulent mixture of repulsion and yearning, of the failure of this world’s remedies to cure cancer or heartbreak or water lines–Do you remember, believer, what happened when you had no hope?

Here’s a refresher:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.       Ephesians 2:13-22


You were far off. He brought you near by His blood.

He went to war with the wall of the law so that He might be your peace.

He preached peace to you when you were far, far off. He can–He will–preach peace to you today when you are near.


You are far off. He shed His blood that you might be drawn near.

Though you are now His enemy, He died that you might enter into His peace.

He is preaching to you now. Are your ears open to hear?

No Strangers on Valentine’s Day

We are no longer strangers, you and I. We have been brought into the fellowship of Christ’s suffering, and if we are obedient, we have placed ourselves into the fellowship of suffering of a community of believers–into His flesh and blood. On this day of hearts, as we see sin’s warpath as it marches over physical bodies, flawed mechanics, over lonely hearts and breakups, let us also see that He has come to reconcile the sewage with the sweet.

We are joined together, and together we will experience sweetness and sadness, birth and loss, healings on earth and healings in heaven. This world is not always as we would like it to be, but this Valentine’s Day, remember that you are seeing dimly, as through a thick old wavy window (1 Cor. 13:12). Enjoy the beauty of the light that comes through, but do not be afraid over what looks distorted, twisted, and dark. The God of Heaven stretches his loving hands on both sides of the glass. One day, we will see clearly. In the meantime, trust in Him who does all things well.

Kirkwold family, we love you. We rejoice with you and we weep with you.

Reed family, we love you. We rejoice with you and we weep with you.

Grace and Peace,



All of God’s Gifts Are Good

Hello Faithful Readers,

As I promised back in December (!), here is the full text of the article I wrote for the Revive Our Hearts blog about the journey of a little girl near and dear to my family’s heart. She is, in fact, family both by blood (her dad and my hubby are cousins) and by the blood of the Savior into whose hands we place the remainder of her days, however long or brief. As you read, please keep little Alice and her family in prayer, as an MRI on February 14th is expected to reveal whether there is regrowth of the tumor.

Lord, have mercy.

Grace and peace,



Alice is a four-year-old girl who, unless the Lord intervenes, will die before next Christmas. I want to write it softly and tenderly, like the old hymn, choosing gentle words. Perhaps . . .

Alice is a four-year-old girl who, unless the Lord intervenes, will spend next Christmas in glory.
Alice is a four-year-old girl who, unless the Lord intervenes, will not sit on Santa’s lap next year but will rest in the arms of Jesus.
Alice will be free from pain!
Alice’s suffering will be over!
Alice will be escorted by angels into the very presence of Christ!

Truths like these whisper sweetly, a gift I long to wrap in pretty tissue paper and place in the hands of her grieving family. Perhaps next Christmas they will be ready to receive these delicate word-gifts—to set them carefully under the tree in anticipation of future joy.

But this Christmas, they’ve been given cold, hard words:

Alice is a four-year-old girl who, unless the Lord intervenes, will die before next Christmas. Continue reading

This is Only a Test

I work at a university, and we’ve just had a test of our emergency alert system. Perhaps this should be a post about gun violence, mass killings, terror . . . but it’s not. It’s just me, writing a post about writing a post.

This is only a test. (Or perhaps the ravings of a mad writer. You decide.)

I know, I started this blog with the promise of regularly appearing words. I won’t make more promises, but I can tell you that I’ve been testing the waters of wordsmithery once again. I’ve just submitted my first actual piece in many months to my editor over at Revive Our Hearts.

Writing again was strange. Not writing has been stranger. The piece I just submitted was one I put off writing for at least a month. I felt paralyzed, you know? It was a story I had to tell, but not one I ever would have chosen. Who wants to write about a terminally ill child for Christmas?


Thankfully, the piece (I hope) is less about a terminally ill child and more about the only Truth that will get her friends and family through these days of darkness. One way or another, the post will appear in this space in due time, but for now, with no pomp and circumstance, you’re stuck with this lackluster post about writing a post.

This is only a test.

I’ll leave you with a limerick, because, why not?

In Silence Cell I’d lost my pen,

Now alas! I’ve found Home Keys again.

Writing’s joy is brought back,

Though cheery mirth hard Truth lacks,

Words in hand, Christ is King. Amen.


Grace and peace, friends.






Labor Day! When Your Service is Known But to God

From the True Woman archives, a piece I wrote back in 2015 which poses the question, if my most fervent, difficult, selfless labors are known to God, and God alone, is that enough? It should be, right? But is it?

Atop a hill overlooking our nation’s capitol, a simple monument of white marble lies under perpetual watch at Arlington National Cemetery. Inscribed on the structure’s west-facing side are these words:

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.

This, of course, is what’s known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and incidentally, the subject of my son’s American history project. Although the monument now honors soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well, the original “unknown” was selected on Memorial Day, 1921, having been one of four American unknowns exhumed from four World War I cemeteries in France. Highly decorated World War I veteran U.S. Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger was chosen to make the selection as the soldiers lay before him, encased in identical caskets. A spray of white roses was placed by Younger on the third casket from the left, and that soldier became America’s World War I Unknown.

And so it is that this soldier’s story rests in shadow along with a multitude of others whose lives met the same fate. His age and hometown are sealed in the tomb. His rank is a mystery—in fact, the tomb sentinels do not wear their insignia while guarding so as not to outrank him. We will never know whether he died providing aid to another soldier or lying in a trench. Any acts of valor, any deeds of sacrifice, anything good or hard or praiseworthy that he had done is buried with him . . . unknown but to God.

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Your Weekly Newsrick is Back! (Bi-weekly. Fine.)

Whew! It’s been a busy couple of weeks! I’ve had more work to do at my “day job” so time to think about posting has been scarce. It’s been another tough news-week, but without further ado, here is my attempt at the week’s news in lilting limerick form:


As Harvey’s dark water subsides,

Common Grace–human kindness abides.

But still turmoil’s about,

Will Trump throw DACA out?

While in Asia, pompous Kim assails Japan’s skies.

Grace and Peace, friends . . . -LJE

Friday Feature! Your Weekly Newsrick

So, if you know me well, you know I have a fascination (obsession? fixation?) with politics, news, and current events. I know I love these things more than most of you, as I’ve noticed your blank stares when I launch into a tirade about the week’s top stories. You look at me as though I’ve just announced that my four-year-old has launched a bid to be the next President (seriously, though, could that be a thing? Rust or Bust 2020!), and I realize that you don’t have the tolerance to sift through dozens of news features a day like I do. For some of you, just the lingo of news is a hurdle that will not be overcome on this side of Glory.

Solution: I have a friend who loves limericks (Hey, Posey . . . ). She also happens to be the English teacher at my kids’ school. Last year, she inspired a limerick frenzy in my house which resulted in limerick challenges of all sorts. A couple of months ago, I had this thought: Could a limerick maybe, possibly, make the news more palatable, even fun, for those of you who have a low tolerance for actual “news” on your news feed?

That sealed the deal, so here it is, a Friday feature here on shimmersome.com: the week’s top news headlines in limerick form. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes poignant, sometimes goofy–we report, you decide. (I feel like I stole that from somewhere. Oops.)

Of course, this is a particularly difficult week in which to begin. Last night, I caught a bit of SNL’s summer “Weekend Update” special and watched the nation’s top comedians struggle through birthing humor from news conceived in evil. I won’t get in to all of that now, because if you want good perspective on the events in Charlottesville you can find it here, here, here, here, here, here, or here.

Just perusing those articles again makes me want to spew out a couple thousand words, but for the sake of restraint (i.e. writing, not blurting, as Marvin Olasky noted via Twitter this week), here it is–your newsrick for this week:

Now Liberty bows low her head,

As “Supremacy’s” wheels leave one dead.

Just a statue, they say,

We’re protecting our “Way”!

Church, arise! For this Sickness Christ bled.

Grace and peace, friends. – LJE

Words That Shimmer


From the archives: Here’s the post that started the whole “Shimmersome” thing. Read how my fascination with words is informed by my faith. Originally published here on reviveourhearts.com.

Call me a glitter-phile. (Is that a thing?) A sparkle addict. A shine-aholic. Call me what you will, but if it’s an item that inspires a response of “Oooooh, that’s so pretty” from my seven-year-old daughter, I’m probably going to want one. Or twelve. And let me tell you, the season of Christmas puts my sense of sparkle into overdrive—twinkling lights, flickering candles, sequins, gemstones, and glitter galore—these are the things that make it possible to survive December in Minnesota where it gets dark at 4:30 p.m.

As it happens, I’m also a collector of words. If you are a word-lover, you know that there are some words that strike you as so lovely, so exquisite, so perfectly apt that you’re just dying for an opportunity to scroll one across a page or fling it off the tip of your tongue at just the right moment.


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Protecting Against Spiritual Ambush


Anxiety and depression: Common wounds in Christians and non-Christians alike. In this post, originally published on reviveourhearts.com, you can read about my struggle and the steps I take to protect myself. This is surely not the last word I will write on this issue, but it was a beginning point.

Much has been said in this space and elsewhere regarding the battle for the mind of the believer. A woman doesn’t have to be a Christian for long to realize that her thought life has quickly become the front line in this daily war we fight against the enemy. So we plan. We prepare. We arm ourselves with the Word of God, bolster our defenses with prayer, and strategically plan for the battle we will face tomorrow. Assured of our preparation, we slumber in our tents, hoping for just enough rest to carry us through the next day’s trials.

Then, suddenly—ambush! Terror has entered the camp tonight.

Last evening, I sat in a circle of dear Christian sisters for our monthly book/Bible study. We’re currently working through Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace, and we discussed Mrs. Peace’s statement that “When you think a thought it is either pleasing to God or it is not. It is either righteous or it is not.”

She goes on to describe how our thinking is habitual, and that just as we can train ourselves to perform a variety of mundane tasks out of habit (i.e. getting dressed, brushing our teeth, making our bed), we also think habitually, training ourselves to “default” to thoughts that are either pleasing to God or are sinful. Preparing for the battle we would wake up to today, my study sisters and I planned. We prayed. We armed ourselves as best we could for what we would face when a new day dawned. But last night, I was ambushed.

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