That silence you miss
was never really me.
If this question from Jo Ann (http://joannfore.com/story/) had come last week my response would have been very different. It would have been a bit more of a powerful voice and yet God did not will that. Instead He has me writing from here and now. And this place is one where I am still hurting and still reeling. Still wondering at the cost of using my voice.
When silence has been the norm then your voice becomes a strange sound. For some a welcome sound and to others something they would happily miss.
Dr. Temple Grandin, an amazing woman whose voice I treasure, has explained it this way: when something becomes bad gradually we tend to adapt. To make the bad the new normal. And this is wrong. Bad is always bad, adapting for survival should be a short term strategy, not a long term life choice. For people and animals 'bad as a new normal' is always going to be bad.
Getting to a new, healthy normal takes a tremendous amount of work - prayer work, heart work, body work, soul work and mind work. It's work. Our voices are a like a muscle - they need exercise. Consider this: if a long distance runner lets their exercise program be controlled by a power lifter will they be a better runner or a poor version of a power lifter? It is the same with our voices! If we want to be heard, we can't ask those who would rather have us be silent what our voices should sound like!
My voice has gotten me into more hot water than my silence. Apparently my body language also gets me into hot water. It would be better, they said, to be quiet and still. And inside my spirit howls: WHAT! WHAT! WHAT?
I'm an advocate. I'm a humble prayer partner. I'll speak up for you when your voice isn't strong. I will not be shy about my faith. I won't be ashamed of who I call friend, and whom I love. I will ask questions. And look at you to seek your own answers. I will set boundaries, and burn bridges. I will also sing you home when you are lost. I will call your name friend when you feel alone. I will comfort you when your voice is broken.
As a child of God, the redeemed beloved of Jesus, I have a stern duty. I have a joyous task. To use my voice to help others. To encourage. To pray. To be present when all others leave. To show up. To say to the devil: NOT TODAY!
I am also an imperfect woman. I'm a sinner. I'm a failure. Sometimes I fail, and raise my voice. Sometimes I fail, and I get frustrated. Sometimes I fail, and I fail badly.
The one thing I cannot forget is that God me. He made you. Including your voice. So it might not seem loud to you, but to someone living in silence you voice can be the sweetest sound they hear! Pray. Love. Be there. And when your voice is needed - loud or quiet - speak!
It saddens me greatly when I hear sister bloggers saying they are afraid to comment on posts they personally agree with because they are afraid to voice that when their church does not share the same opinion. Jesus did not tell us to encourage one another when it suits congregational doctrine. Jesus did not tell us to be praying constantly for those who are in agreement with us.
Jesus told us to get in to the ditches and help the wounded, the dirty. Jesus told us to put down our stones and lay gentle hands upon hurting people. Jesus told us to love one another. Love one another. He did it with His hands, His voice and His blood. How can we do anything less than use the gifts He gave us? Don't be ashamed of your voice, He gave it to you!
As a survivor of abuse nothing is more soothing than the voice of someone who knows healing is a journey, the voice of someone who recognizes and respects our scars, the voice of someone who rejects judgment and embraces the empathy of a loving advocate.
When they tell it is more 'comfortable' for you to be silent and still - JUMP UP AND SING! DANCE! PRAY!!
Stretch your voice and share with us at the link up! http://joannfore.com/story/
Be blessed by hearing other voices by reading the blogs by the courageous women who are sharing there. Be sure to leave some love. And pray for one another. Encourage our sisters, and brothers, to use their voices!
Check out Jo Ann's book here:
and join us for the free book study which begins November 18th!!