Have you ever lost your voice?
Yes...I do mean that both literally and figuratively. :)))
When I was a kid, our youth group drove to a mini church camp in Jonesboro, Arkansas (I was living in Mtn. Home at the time), and it was for a week in December. I am getting so old that I cannot remember the name of it, and all of my photo albums are boxed up in storage so I cannot even dig them out to jog my memory. Yes, if anyone from those days is reading this...yes, I do have albums still of our youth group trips, and yes we should all be afraid. :)
One year, I had strep throat. I was devastated because the bulk of the event was singing...and boy did I love to sing....especially at church....especially at this week long event. One thing I love about the Church of Christ is acapella singing. Whoa and Wow! :)))
So this one year I have zero voice...less than zero voice (stop laughing now), and I was devastated. I worked on it on the bus all the way there...stressing and straining my voice further so that by the time we had arrived, I could sing only bass (and not necessarily well), and I was a soprano I/II (normally). So....what did I do? You guessed it. I sang bass the entire week...as strong and as proud as I could. By the end of it, I had gained a lot of new friends, had no voice (not even bass), and I was so happy...so full of love and grace and all of the wonderful things you take away by being around a group of happy people. I was one happy girl. I had been the comic relief for the week, but I didn't care. I was giving it my all, in the moment. The voice within me had shone through....
The voice within.
Sometimes this world, or the people in it, can steal our voices...our true voices. Sometimes we lose them for so long or so badly, that it takes a pic, a shovel, and maybe even a crowbar to unearth it. Yet...our voices, very much like our spirits, are always there...waiting...waiting to be let loose...maybe for the first time, or maybe once again. Sometimes it has to come out in a new form to be heard (hence bass :)) or maybe it just needs the urging of someone who loves us to coax it out of its shell. Sometimes it takes someone frustrating us to the point that we go find a hole, face the darkness within, and then rise bigger and better than before...yes, much like the phoenix rising from the ashes. Sometimes.....sometimes our voice just keeps going....until it finds a safe harbor once again with which it can be heard....
Sometimes the voice within...coaxes the rest of ourself to just give it a shot. Sometimes we have to be our own cheerleader, throw caution to the wind, and believe in ourselves. For some of us, we believe in a Heavenly Father, and so we believe that it is he pushing us in those moments. Whatever it is within us...I am grateful for the voice within.
Personally, mine is my harshest critic, my biggest fan, and my personal cheerleader at the end of a long, hard road. Mine is the one that when everyone else says no, it says yes (in its own sweet time). Mine is the one that knows ALL of my strengths and weaknesses. Every flaw. Every sin. Every high. Every low. It knows that I deserve more when I don't. It knows when I need to forgive even when I remain stubborn and steadfast.
I have had a lot of time, as of late, to spend pondering this (it is one reason I ceased writing for a time)...I needed to listen. I needed better counsel than my own. Better counsel than anyone in or of this world could offer me.
During this time, I have also spent time watching Shelley and her parents work and struggle through her health difficulties (over the past four weeks). Shelley has bore it better than anyone could, and her spirit is indomitable and inspiring at the same time. I can only imagine the voice that resides within her. The peace, the spirit, the faith, and the courage that she has forged within her like steel. As I sat with her the other night, I admit I was jealous of her. I wanted her voice, if only for a moment. I wanted her strength and her courage because in that moment I had none.
We all have a voice within us...it is both darkness and light, courage and fear, strength and weakness. It is who we are and what we are made of...It is the sins of our past and the triumphs ahead in our future. It is us. It is you.
I don't know about you, but I am so grateful for my voice...especially the one within. I am thrilled to have people in my life that by their sheer presence in mine, inspire me, as Shelley does...Every. Day.
When was the last time you listened to your voice...the one within...not the one making critical decisions in a split second, the one making plans, answering the phones, disciplining your kids, but the one inside. YOUR voice.
I challenge you to not only take a swim in lake YOU, but spend a little time listening for the voice within. No promises, but I bet...just bet, you will be glad you did....:)))
By the way, I accidently found this song while searching for another a friend had recommended, and I absolutely adore it (the bridge has become an anthem I sing at the top of my lungs on the long drive home :) "...I had to learn who I am...what I'm not...still looking up...God knows I am tough enough...we have a lot to learn...God knows we are worth it...") ~ Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up".
To Shelley....I love you, and I am so grateful to have you even a little in my life...watching you live has always been an inspiration, but watching you work to live has been life altering and I so hope I will never be the same. Prayers of love, strength, and healing to you sweet girl. :)
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)