Want to have some fun for a moment? Compare the voices of your family and friends…just think about the differences in the way people sound. Do you think your voice matches your personality? I know, I’m wierd and I have these random thoughts. Recently, in a Wednesday evening service at church, my pastor, Dr. Rick Finley, talked about “How to speak at home.” I totally won’t do the sermon justice but some of his main points were as follows: learn when it’s best not to speak at all, how to speak to someone who is angry (Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath; but a grievous word stirs up anger.”), speak respectfully – no leader (parent, boss, teacher) ever has the right to verbally abuse their followers, be careful about your writing voice and that what you put in writing conveys the message, passion, and purpose that you intended, etc. It was one of those sermons that really makes you stop and say, “hmm, how do I need to apply this in my everyday Christian life, not just my Sunday, dress up for church life? And, there is a difference between those two. Lots of people are saved and secure in their salvation, but to live every day as a Christian (which is to be Christ-like), well, that’s another thing altogether.
Anyway, somehow that sermon got me to thinking about my physical voice and my writing voice. Adding loving insult to injury, a dear friend of mine, who is a fellow writer, just spoke with me about the development of a writers voice. I love God! He is so funny! He manages to get our attention through a variety of ways if we are aware of His voice in our lives. When one person mentions something…we think, hmm, that was wierd. When two people mention the same thing…we think, perhaps, but nah. When the same thing comes up over and over it just might be that God is saying….can you hear Me now?
Well, all of this got me to thinking about my physical voice. I’ve never been able to claim a smooth, soft, svelte voice that matches my smooth, calm, soft, kind, and gentle personality! Okay, after you recover from the belly laugh you’re enjoying right now, come on back and finish reading please! My voice has always been deep for a female. My dear uncle Marlous, whom I love dearly, tells stories of waking me up when I was a baby just to hear me cry because my voice was so deep. Can you believe someone would do that to a baby? That’s what happened to my brain development….not enough restful REM sleep. Lots of people have said that my brother, David and I sound the same on the phone…oh, that makes me feel real feminine! If that’s not enough, three years ago, my thyroid was removed because of a cancer scare and that dropped my voice range even lower. It’s even worse in the morning hours or when I’m tired. It’s really hilarious at the drive-thru restaurants when they repeat your order and say, “pull around to the window, sir.” My family thinks that’s great!
Back to God and His working in my life. I thought about the times when He has allowed me to have no voice or a very soft voice. When I was 21 years old, I had a cyst growing in my neck. They removed my tonsils to get to the cyst. It was my first surgery and I was terrified. After the surgery, I had no voice for seven days. Michael loved that! I wrote notes to communicate. When my thyroid was removed, the doctors told me to whisper for a couple of days, and then try to begin speaking again. It was 10 months before I could sing in the choir again and I lip synched for weeks after that. The first few weeks following the surgery were terrifying because I thought I had lost my ability to speak at all. Music has always been a huge part of my life. I play piano and have loved to sing since I was a little girl. Losing the ability to sing was the most dreaded part of the surgery. The surgeon had told me that my voice range would change some but I was in no way prepared for the results. Not only is my voice range not what it used to be, but my voice stamina is weak. After I talk for a while, or when I’m tired, my voice just doesn’t hold up in clarity. For many weeks after the surgery I met one-on-one with the surgeon because my voice quality was so bad. We talked about going to a speech therapist, voice coach, etc. It was a very dark time in my life. Other times, through loss of my children and other life tragedies, I have lost my will to speak. Tonight, I’m pondering that and wondering why God has chosen for me to be silent at different periods in my life.
My favorite verse in the Bible is Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” I’ve been still many times in my life….many times not by choice. I want to be aware of God’s voice in my life. Sometimes He has to speak loudly to be heard over the clamour of our days. Many times He speaks quietly on purpose to see if we are listening. I want to have a soft voice like that of the Holy Spirit. I want me voice to permeate the hearts of those around me with kindness, gentleness, encouragement and love. I don’t want to have to scream to get attention…not that I’ve been one of those people who yell…it’s just too physically painful for me. But we can all be harsh and hasty with our words, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want my words to encourage my husband, affirm my children, embrace my friends, and challenge others for the Lord.
So, Lord, thank you for my deep, harsh, and sometimes crackily physical voice. Thank you for the times when you have taken it away. May I always use my voice to bring honor to my God and Saviour.