My voice was gone, like a puff of smoke. It vanished. I felt like I was screaming silently, unable to stand up for my self. I felt that my voice meant nothing, was nothing. And then, I sit in the chair and she asks “Where do you feel pain?” I answer, “Right here”, and I clutch my throat. She pauses and says,“That is interesting, because most people feel pain in their stomach, not in their voice”.
It will not be until years later that I feel that God has given me back my voice. It comes through small things, like writing a note to someone. It comes through speaking up in a group of peers. From being told that I do matter and that my opinion counts. Most importantly, my voice begins to be restored to me when I choose to believe that God can restore it. God did not take my voice away. He is the Restorer, and he promises to restore all things. I choose to believe Him instead of the lies of the enemy.
I started to believe God again when I started to believe that He personally wanted to speak to me through His Word . For the first time I truly let myself believe He was still alive and active in this world, that His words were not just meant as a rule book. His words were living and breathing. When I started believing Him, I started feeling alive. I started speaking up. I stopped quieting the Spirit inside of me that urged me to talk and to give voice to my opinion. I could feel it welling up inside me, this desire to speak. I had to fight though, I had to fight every minute to speak. I had to force the words out, but my friends were kind and would listen. I shared my story and I wasn’t laughed at or judged.
I felt though, that I still had more to say. I had more to do in this world. I wanted to make a difference. I believed that God could give me back my voice, but still, I was scared and afraid.
I am still scared and afraid. Quite frankly, I am not sure I will ever conquer my fear totally. Every time I offer my words to the world, it is like I send a piece of my heart out to be rejected. It is scary. It is vulnerable. It sometimes seems easier but then it becomes daunting again. But I believe that God has given me a voice. I believe it, because he says He has chosen me and not rejected me.
I believe God has given everyone a voice, so I must choose to believe He has given me one too. I so desperately want others to know that they have a voice to be used too. That everyone’s voice matters. You have a voice, and that voice may be advocating to the poor in a country that I can’t reach, or for someone who can no longer speak for themselves. It is to speak for anyone and everyone whose voice has been silenced and they need you to speak up and speak out. It is to speak the truth that God lives and He loves you! You have a voice to speak the words of truth, that bring healing, hope and light to all of us that so desperately need it. I want so much for everyone to know that their voice matters.
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come to give us a full life. The enemy wants to steal your voice. He wants to silence it. He wants you to believe that what you have to say does not matter. Do not believe him. Keep pressing on. Keep fighting, and do not stop fighting. He will do anything and everything to stop your voice.
Never stop fighting. There are children out their who are suffering who need your voice to advocate for them. There are old souls that need protection because they cannot voice themselves. There are people who need to know that God loves them and can bind their wounded heart. Let your voice ring out. Let it not be silenced. This life is too short for our voices to be quieted. We need to share what God is teaching us. We have to use our voices to offer protection, comfort, and encouragement. We need voices that speak to the pain of abuse, and set it free.
I read this poem as a child. It has stayed with me for all of these years, in the back of my mind. My dream. Whether you use your voice at home, at school, in the office, at church, in the counselors chair, or with your pen, this is what we are all called to do:
Make me poet laureate…..
For those too weak to argue
For those who have no tongue
For those too old to matter
In a world which loves the young
Not for presidents and queens
Who are overwhelmed with choice
But for those whose mouths are stopped-
Those who can’t afford a voice.
Lord God, may we use our voices for the good and not for the bad, may we proclaim freedom for the poor and suffering, for those that are chained not only outwardly, but inwardly in the soul. God may you set our voices free to speak life. May we breathe you in and breathe out your words. Let our words be used for healing. May you set our voices free. Let us use them boldly in a world that needs hope.
In Jesus your name most precious,
Bible Reference: Isaiah 61:1-4, John 10:10, Hebrews 4:12, I Thessalonians 1:8
Excerpts from Poet Laureate by Steve Turner