Finding my Voice in the Silence

It has felt as though my voice has gone quiet, that there is just heavy silence where my soul is. Heavy, exhausted silence. Many often wonder at the silence of God. I wonder at my own silence. I am on auto-pilot. When I respond enthusiastically in a conversation or to a request, part of me is standing back, staring in awe and often shock at this person who is just continuing on with life. Or at least it’s the part of me that best knows, ostensibly, how to play this game called life. The other part of me, though, what feels like most of me, is silent.

I want to speak. I want to write. I want to have conversation. I want to laugh. I want to be silly. I miss all these things, deeply and dearly. Yet I struggle. When I do engage in them, except with my closest of people, I feel that emotional separation again. As though I’m sending a social golem out with my voice while the real me stays back in silence.

I know my voice is still here. I hear it every day. I hear it in the words I say and the encouragements that I give to my students. I hear it in my FB and IG posts and in my message to friends to check up on them, I hear it in the cards and letters that I tuck into the mailbox. Using my voice for others feels like the easy job, a performance and practice that I know well enough to make it muscle-memory, strange as that might sound. Using it myself, for what I love, for what I want…that feels infinitely harder.

How do I coax my voice back out? Not just for others but for myself? I want to get back to using my voice for me, too. Not just for God and for others, but also for myself. To ask for what I need, say what I want, speak truth without fear.

My voice can be a thing of beauty, of power, of gentleness, and abject love and grace. I want to find it and the courage to use it again. Not just for others but also for myself. Because I deserve all that, too.

How do I do that again? Am I doing it right now? I honestly don’t know. But I am going to try.


What My Voice Was Made For

I love to sing. Love to sing. I croon lullabies to soothe minds and tears. I will belt musicals in the car. I will sing Glee duets with my husband and mingle our voice as we have mingled our lives. On Sunday, though, as I stood and sang in worship service, I came to a realization: my voice was made for hymns.

I grew up in the Wesleyan Holiness Church and have sung hymns my entire life and have most of them memorized. I have sung them, played them on the piano and flute, translated them, and written about them for English assignments. My voice was made for the soaring triumphs of hymns like “I Will Praise Him”, the broken need of “Fill My Cup, Lord”, and the deep remembrance of “Man of Sorrows”. My voice was made for hymns and it makes my heart soar to sing them. It reminds me of the lessons I learned of Jesus as a young woman, of sweet moments of God’s comfort and help, moments of brokenness and revelation.

My husband says frequently that one of the things that spurred his love for me was when he took me to his home church for the first time and I knew every hymn that was sung by heart. TO him, it was a reminder that I understood his past, his upbringing, that I knew how much it meant to him. I understood his life, and knew what it would mean for me to be part of it, to share in it.

As a child, the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” was my lullaby, sung and hummed to me by my mother every night. It soothed my soul and my heart at the end of each day. It also was the first song I ever sang to my daughter, becoming her main lullaby as well. I hummed it into the tiny body that laid on my chest, murmured it through exhausted tears, sang it through smiling lips at the sight of a peacefully sleeping infant in my arms.

There are days when I find myself singing hymns while I stand at the sink washing dishes or folding clothes, and I just smile. They are what my voice was made for – for praise and blessings, for intercession and brokenness, for joy and gratitude. Of all the songs I shall ever sing, these will forever remain the closest, for they bolster my heart and my faith through every season of life.