It was the last period of the day, and I spent it mouthing the words of Mozart’s Requiem in D minor and staring out of the window while my chorus class sang, “Lacrimosa dies illa, Qua resurget ex favilla.”
I couldn’t stop the tears from filling up my eyes.
Those were the days when silence had become my song. I was sick, my rheumatologist told me, with an autoimmune disease triggered by my body attacking its own beloved self. Rheumatic fever, he called it — a rare complication of arthritis that comes from untreated strep throat.
As I sat there in chorus that day, surrounded by the sound of sopranos singing sorrow-filled songs written for dead souls, I couldn’t help but feel lifeless myself.
My endless bout with strep throat not only wreaked irrevocable havoc in my body, but it also weakened my voice which, for me, felt worse than the surging warmth that swelled within my aching wrists, hands, and knees.
Singing was the one dream that I clutched onto and held close. And it felt like God had taken it away — like He had ripped it right out of my reach, clawed it carelessly out of my hollow, Hollywood-hungry hands.
That was when it all began. That was when the words began to whisper — words that filled my head with lies, words that welcomed dark thoughts without light.
Your life is nothing, the words whispered. You’ll go nowhere. You are no one.
The words weighed heavy, pumping worry and wreckage through blood and bone. They washed me over with weariness, won my thoughts over until I believed I was a worthless mess.
Every vowel and syllable vexed me, until I vowed only to listen to the voice of truth.
Though these lying words whirled inside, I learned to listen to another echo of words that whispered within me. I learned to listen to the words that beckoned me instead of beat me down, words that with spoke reassurance to my weariness, words that breathed life into my brokenness.
At the sound of God’s words, I began to pour out my own.
Everything I felt and thought, every place in my heart that held tight to hopelessness and hurt. I took the words that whispered within me and pressed my finger pads to the piano to write songs. I wrote poems that read like prayers, and I raged through journals of empty pages.
The more I wrote, the more the whispering lies fell silent. The more the lies fell silent, the more I heard the heart of God. His words unraveled what had been entangled inside me.
And isn’t that always the way of God? That He would heal us as we hold our hearts out to Him?
Relief comes as we release our ruin to the God who restores. Hope comes as we hand our hurts to the God who hears. We arise as warriors as we write our way through the wounds that once wrecked us.
That’s why when words whisper lies, we write. In writing, we are given a safe and sure way to work ourselves away from listening to the lies and leaning into the Light.
With hands that scribble and script, we set our souls in the hands of a Savior that sees and redeems every tear we cry, every war we fight. We trust a Father whose love and care for us is so divinely and deeply sweet, that being with Him easily becomes our best dream — the one and only thing we come to really want and need.
So pen the poems that profess His promises, type up ink-less Instagram posts that point to His power. Let’s draw near to God on the page as much as we do through spoken prayer.
Let’s turn to hear and know His voice as we turn away from the voices of all others. May everything that we write — every swoop turned letter turned word turned work of art — always be for His glory, for the telling of His story.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV)