Can I ask you a personal question? What makes you lose your voice? What causes you to go silent..to second guess the worthiness of your own voice. As if somehow the silencing of it makes you somehow less than what God has created you to be? Maybe it’s the trials, the wounds, the deep pain, the sheer difficulty of life that badgers us to the point of silence? It’s a lonely place, this place where our heart and soul feels like it just wanders, seeking relief from the throbbing of life.
I know this loneliness, this darkness…..many of you reading this do. Somewhere in these words you connect because you have been there in that place.
It was almost two years ago that darkness seemed to settle over me like a heavy winter blanket. As fall colors fade away to the bleakness of winter and the warmth slips from the earth, so it was with my hope, my peace and my direction.The years had been wrought with difficulty and change. Things I could not fix. Circumstance beyond my control. A child chronically sick…no healing, no answers…just a slow fade. The ending of work, the weight of ministry, the demands of motherhood, the loss of friendship.
The silencing of my voice happened slowly, almost without notice, until one day I just was too tired to speak anymore. It was a painful place, one that I fought to come out from under. Days stretched into weeks and I wondered if I would ever shake the darkness, the sadness, the heaviness of my heart. Did God see me in this place…because I sure was having a hard time seeing Him. The darkness loomed out at me, taunting me, calling me to defy it’s greatness.
I remember vividly the morning that the darkness was at it’s worst. I stood at the pasture gate, clinging to the metal and board post. My feet felt like lead, my head felt heavy on my shoulders and I wasn’t sure if I could make it back home. Because honestly…gut level honest….I was scared. Terrified in fact. For the first time in my life I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep living. For the first time in my life I had an overwhelming desire to leave the pain of this world behind. And the realization of it surprised me and terrified me.
And yet as loudly as that voice called to me so did another. A voice I desperately needed to cling to, to believe in, to have faith for. So with awkward feet and desperate heart I stumbled my way inside. Reaching out to the side table, I felt for the familiar leather cover of my Bible. As it filled my hand I gripped it as if my life depended upon it, knowing in that moment that it truly did.
Slipping out to the porch I sank into my chair and there, weakly pounding on the wooden arm rest, hot tears streaming down my face, I uttered this plea. “God, I am not leaving this place until you speak to me, until you tell me which way to go, I can not do this without you. I refuse to do this without you!.” For two hours we sat there…just me and God. I did not demand…He did not push. I waited…and He worked. And then….somewhere in that silence, the darkness began to clear. Like morning fog, lifting as the sun sets full into the sky, the darkness began to slip away.
And as it slipped away it’s vacancy made room once again for His voice guiding my voice…shaky and cracked and only at a half whisper it returned…but the point is…it returned.
Finding my voice again has been scary. It’s easy to want to turn and run from it. To cover up life as perfect and beautiful and all together. But what do I gain from being silent…except more silence? In all truth and conviction, I firmly believe God has called each of us to speak up, to use our voices, to share our stories. And as shaky as it might be I am even more compelled to declare the goodness of God and what He has done in me.
I’m finding my voice…what keeps you from finding yours?
Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”
Today I am linking up with Jo Ann Fore over on her blog www.joannfore.com – As part of Jo Ann’s launch team for her soon to be released book “When A Woman Finds Her Voice” – I am being convicted, challenged and encouraged by the words on those pages to find my voice. Come join us over in that space and hear the words and testimonies of other women finding their voices too. If you would like to read more about Jo Ann’s book you can find more information Here – or click the picture below.