I like to sing. Adele need not be afraid, but I’ve got a pretty strong alto going. I’m a fairly good addition to a choir and have held my own with a church solo or two. For some reason (probably nerves), I can’t “hear” it, though. I can never tell on my own whether it worked, so to speak. I have to rely on my trusty sidekicks (aka my kids) to give me a thumbs up or a sympathetic grin to let me know how I actually did. Mind you, I haven’t performed in a church of much more than a hundred members, and they are easy to please, appreciating any “joyful noise.”

But once I was asked by a church member to perform the solo at her junior college nursing graduation. It was a small gathering, but very formal. She asked me to sing the then-popular “Wind Beneath My Wings,” accompanied by a pianist. I’d only sung to recorded tracks, so this unnerved me a bit. When my turn came in the program, my pounding heart and I stood on the stage channeling my inner Bette Midler as I tried to keep up with the pro at the keyboard.

Neither of my trusty sidekicks were with me that day, but the church member who had invited me was smiling, so I sat down confident that I had at least not detracted from the program. Afterward, I congratulated her on her graduation and she introduced me to her family.

Her father, a tall, striking man, shook my hand and uttered the words that would set me on a new course as a vocal soloist.

“Don’t quit your day job.”


Let’s just say it put things in perspective.

The way I look at it is this: I sing, but I’m not a singer.

That would be true for several areas of my life. I can, for instance, hold my own in the kitchen and nobody has turned up a nose at any of my pies, but I’m not giving the Pioneer Woman a run for her money. I bake, but I’m not a baker.

A singER and a bakER are identified by those skills. It’s who they are. Mandisa  = singer. Duff Goldman = baker.

That’s why I bristle when good Christian people refer to themselves or to me as a sinner.

Um, no.

Do I sin? Oh good grief, yes. But am I a sinner? Not since I put the weight of that identity on Christ and let Him bear that burden for me. I do sin and repent and sin and repent and sin and…. ad infinitum, I’m afraid. But, by miraculous grace, I am NOT identified by that.

Some will then change their identity and mine to “sinner saved by grace.” I WAS that once, but only once. Now, I am just those last three words. Christ paid too high a price for me to ignore and to accept the very identity from which He died to rescue me.

I am no longer aligned with the wrong team. I am identified by my relationship with Christ. I not only believe, I am a believER. THAT’S who I am.

So I sing in the car on the way to my day job as a teachER, belting it out loud and somewhat clear. And my Audience hears me through the ears of Grace and fancies me quite good.

And that is quite good enough for me.



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