As I write this, I can feel a bit of anxiety come creeping up in my lungs. However, I'm going to write it anyways. Over the past few months, since my dad has passed, I have had absolutely crippling anxiety & sadness. Some days, it is hard to get out of bed. Hard to have positivity and not be sucked down into an empty feeling. One thing I did not realize it would do, in addition to affect my nervous system & mind, is affect my voice. For the past few months I have had a LOT of trouble vocalizing, I know my vocal cords are in distress. Many times I would go to sing and there would be nothing. What was once the sole stamp of my identity, and what I believed my only strength and redeeming quality, I couldn't even get to work. It is literally like my anxiety would just grab my larynx and twist it and render it useless, whenever I would try to sing. Not to mention, I have been fighting just a creative drought, so it's been hard to write and be motivated to get my music out there. When you look suffering in the face - it is really hard to have any response at all. Hard to imagine how my puny words & thoughts could hold a candle to something so strong - to something that is literally a black hole in my understanding and perception of life. And you expect death to take away your joy, but never your voice. And I really never expected, with all the strength I thought I had, that I would be completely obliterated, leveled low with the dirty ground. However, I believe that I am slowly finding my voice again. And slowly shedding the layers of anxiety & sadness that have covered over my soul. Over the past couple of months, God has really had incredible grace on my life, in allowing me to work out my grief and suffering in a safe place - to be surrounded by people who truly care for me and my soul. This has been a long & arduous journey that is surely not over - but I am beginning to see the light. Beginning to have a little more hope & positivity each day. Beginning to feel a little more loved & valued for reasons other than my talent. I believe that one day I will have my voice back fully functioning and better than before (please keep praying!). But, for now, I wanted to share a bit of what I have with you. This is the first time I have tried to record ANYTHING for more than a year and a half probably, at least. And all this week, as I have been experiencing what feels like a ton of personal growth, I have been feeling something in my spirit moving me to sing, to get out my gear that’s been sitting my shelves for so long, and record something. This is nothing fancy: just a half decent mic & a half decent vocal preset. And I’m pretty sure some of the words are wrong.. haha.
I say this not for pity’s sake, and not even to get a bunch of, "Good job! I love your voice. You're so great!" That's not nearly the point. I share this because this is victory for me. I'm not concerned about opinion; I'm battling death & darkness with what I have been given. I share this to be candid and real about suffering and God’s grace toward me in my suffering - and to ask for you to keep praying for my family and I. As Jesus says in John, "Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen.” I only share what I know, and what I have seen in these past few months. It is important to testify of what we see and have experienced. It is in sharing our experiences & perspectives with one another that we grow and our hope is renewed and strengthened. May the hope I share with you expand your OWN horizon, and cause you to see the world with greater significance, light, and levity. It is important to remember that though we feel silenced, we DO indeed have a voice. And using that voice is not simply an option - it is our duty! Our response to suffering IS our voices. It IS the song of our OWN hearts. We defeat negativity by having something to say about it and then SAYING it!
So, once again, I would just like to thank those who have been in my corner - holding me up. Thank you for showing me what it means to truly be a friend and hold each other up. Thank you to friends who have been open about their journeys with sorrow, to friends that have suffered and used music in positive ways to process their pain and come out the other side. You are such examples to me! And I am grateful for you in more ways than you realize. And to God - just for his infinite grace in nursing back to health the weak, defenseless, and broken.
This song is called “Ashes & Flames”by John Mark McMillan. In this song, John talks a lot about the bad being “just not as real”as the good. And this is what I really have been learning and reflecting on. Death is very real. Sadness is very real. Pain, all of those things. The feelings of anxiety I have are very real. BUT - those things are just not AS real as life. As real as joy. As real as love - love that transcends death. And for all we don’t understand - may we be able to know and "have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”
So, please enjoy, friends.