by Stephanie Anna Breznau…
What would you do if you totally lost your voice? What if you could no longer sing, or even worse, no longer talk? To a singer, your voice is as dear as a pianist’s fingers or a soccer player’s legs. It’s part of our identity. What if those limbs and gifts were taken away in the blink of an eye?
In January of this year, I contracted the flu and became very sick. After the second week of being ill I transitioned toward recovery, however, I noticed my speaking voice was rough and my singing voice was essentially non-existent. Immediately I thought to myself how horrible it would be to lose my voice, yet continued to go about my day (our energetic 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter keep me hopping like a jack-rabbit).
Yet after a couple more weeks, I tried to sing and I couldn’t scratch out anything above a C-prime, and what did come out was more a croak than a pleasant note. I admit that I started to get very concerned.
However, true fear really crept in when, in February, I contracted bronchitis and became severely sick yet again. I optimistically thought the illness would go away and my voice would return. I became well at the end of February… but my voice did not bounce back.
This was not the answer I was expecting from God. I couldn’t understand why He would give me this gift and then take it away, possibly forever. As one who has sung since I was able to talk, and who has had the best vocal teachers possible, my voice is as dear to me as my hand or foot. My voice is a part of who I am – a gift given to me by Jesus. Surely He knew my heart, right?
Then I started thinking about why I was so upset. I realized I had rooted part of my identity in my ability to sing. To be honest, my ability to sing became my idol. It had become essential for living. Obviously there is nothing wrong with singing, especially for God; However, I was more than just a singer. I was a daughter of the King. I was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, etc. I was Stephanie. The most important thing is that I was who He made me to be and I needed to be ok if my voice was taken away. He gave me the gift in the first place, but was I appreciating it as I should?
Learning by Losing
I will never forget the moment that I knelt by our couch in the den and asked God to help me accept who I was in Him and to make me content in who He wanted me to be. And then I choked out the toughest words… that I would love and serve Him whether I could or could not sing at all, and either way, I would also use my voice to tell more people about Him.
I’d love to say that I stood up and sang “Rejoice Greatly,” but it has been a healing process that I am taking a day at a time. My voice is slowly returning, but I am definitely not taking it for granted anymore. I have always strived to use my talent for Him, but even more than that, I now want to do much more. I want to let the world know that not only am I singing for Him, I want Him to sing through me. My voice is His. And I’m so glad I am His. He alone is enough.
“This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long…”