Courage to Use Our Voice


I’m dreaming again. The scenarios are different each night, otherworldly and absurd, but when I open my mouth to speak in my dream-state, the words are inevitably drowned out. In my sleep, my voice is silenced. In my waking, I feel a heaviness that won’t shift. It sits like a thick knot in my throat. In the morning, I re-imagine the knot as a bird, and I hope it will either fly away, or it will wake up and sing.

A friend once told me, if God could fashion her all over again, she wished to be born a singer. She wanted the thrill of notes strung together, words floating on nothing but air. And while I’m not a singer, I understood her desire to experience the world through song. We each need our own voice, our own unique expression, to feel past the curved edges of the earth’s sphere. The dancer’s voice is his body, the painter’s voice is her brush, the surgeon’s voice is his scalpel. The mama’s voice is her hand, speaking love with every swift move to clean or comfort or cuddle. How well I know.

For months now, I have imagined my voice coming across the page in a small project I want to create for my oldest daughter before she leaves for college in a year. I want to create a book of quotes, lyrics, scripture, and a few of my own words, carefully laid down on the pages of a journal, just for her. I want her to leave home with my words filling up the empty spaces all the other voices will fight over.

And despite my deep desire to do this, I feel paralyzed by it. Scared to begin. Worried I’ll get it wrong, or the words I find for her will be meaningless, or she’ll never understand that it is an exercise in releasing my voice as a gift to her. I want her to know that she has a voice too, and there is room for it in this world, no matter what form it takes.

Her voice will expand to fill it, if she has the courage to set it free.

I’m dreaming again. Dreaming the bird nesting in my throat will wake up and sing a song of freedom. Dreaming that my words will find the right form and take flight.


Is there an area of your life where you feel you’ve been silenced? What’s one step you can take today to rediscover the sound of your own voice?