Solitary Confinement

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.Luke 11:14

I had an epiphany today; honestly it was like I was delivered. Its funny how God works. He takes the seemingly most innocent of situations to shine the light on an area of struggle in our lives. And strangely enough, as much as I talk, as much as I encourage others, mine was silence.

Growing up and even as an adult, I have struggled to stand up for myself in some situations. It usually takes me being provoked to places of extreme stress for me to actually ‘come clean’ with how I feel about something. I would experience anxiety or feel like I was doing something wrong when I actually spoke up for myself. I would be reluctant–and people would take advantage of me or hurt me…and all the while I would suffer in silence most times.

I realize now that the lesson I learned and shared with a friend this summer was a two-fold lesson. It is okay to speak up for myself…to put my needs first…to take care of me. For years I have always put everyone but myself first. I realize now that my silence was bondage. I was bound by this voice in my head, that how I felt or my views of things was not important. I even recognize now that the roots of this reach all the way back to my childhood, where I heard constantly, a child is to be seen and not heard. So even when God would tell me things…one thing in particular I remember, I was told that my adult cousins could protect their marriages and relationships by keeping our family out of their households…more specifically out of their spousal and immediate family communications. And now as an adult, I see that the words God gave me would have benefitted them all if I had a forum to share them.

I was delivered from this curse of silence, this prison of muteness and suffering and going through things alone last night at my church’s communion service, and I realized it today how my thoughts and feelings not being validated or acknowledged locked me in my head with that pain. So I would keep everything inside until it was boiling over like a tea kettle, burning anyone that came in contact with me. Fortunately, God has not allowed that to permanently separate me from others or sever the relationships I cherish. Instead, He showed me there was power in speaking and using my voice for its intended purpose. I guess that is why I want to be a child advocate and juvenile judge–I want to give those ‘children’ the voice I never had, the courage to speak up for themselves and expose the ugly truths of their lives, something I felt I could not freely do.

Like the mute man above, Christ has freed me. Like the mute man, I was quiet and my tongue was bound. We both suffered in silence and when prodded and forced to speak, it came out in ways that did not reflect our true nature. My suffering has always been muted and it really made me angry over the years. I felt like I have always had to carry so much, including my own pain because there seemed to be no one to ever listen to me. But for some reason God allowed me to endure a difficult 5 years at my job for me to finally see that I have a voice for a reason. We all have a voice. We all have a story to tell, a word to share, and a testimony to give. I have spent so much time listening to other people’s story and I have been scared to speak my own truth because it never seemed important enough.

I am comforted now because Jesus saw fit to deliver a demon-possessed man from his earthly prison and to give him back his voice. And like him, I was released from my prison today and given back my voice to use it for Him. I thank God for being able to write, but I know now its time for me to start speaking because it is in speaking that those things we desire manifest. Speak your truth today and be freed!

The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.

Isaiah 35:6

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