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Speechless

SPEECHLESS

Silence fell over the college dining hall. Everyone savored each bite of the roast beef. Back in the day, such a meal came only once a year—at final time. Usually we had to choose from one form of “mystery meat” or the salad bar. Entrees often tasted like hospital food. So roast beef was a real treat. We didn’t want to interrupt the taste sensation with casual chatter. We were speechless.

Other things which delight our senses can leave us speechless. A breathtaking sunset which could never be captured. An unmatched athletic fete which would appear impossible to duplicate. An orchestra performance which could only be rewarded by a standing ovation.

The temporary inability to speak is usually caused by strong emotions. Either good or bad. Horror can render one speechless. Like news of the death of a loved one.

Often there are no words to describe secret pain suffered. A mother watching her child struggle with mental illness (MI) doesn’t even attempt to explain what’s in her heart. The carefree smile on her child’s face has been replaced with a dark stare. The young head that used to tip backwards in bubbling giggles now hangs down like a heavy wet rag. Her child once used to be the life of a party. Now she’s an empty shell of a person. Lifeless.

No words can explain the sorrow.

Mothers aren’t the only ones left speechless in the wake of MI. Sometimes our children with MI don’t speak. Clinical depression robs them of any desire to communicate. How their parents long for happy conversations!

Refraining from speaking isn’t always a bad thing. The best response often is silence. Whenever Chris fires unprovoked anger my way, I shoot a quick prayer heavenward. Asking God to help me remain silent. Whenever Chris makes an odd statement, Howie listens without response. Withholding our anger or judgment delivers an unspoken blessing to Chris. Silence conveys our unconditional love.

Poets and leaders have written about the value of silence.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1926), the British novelist and poet observed, “That man’s silence is wonderful to listen to.”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the British politician, pointed out, “When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910), a man known for his words, touted the benefits of silence. He chose strong descriptors to convey his passion about a pause. “The Pause; that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words however so felicitous, could accomplish it.”

What about the Bible? Does it tell us anything about silence? Christ often didn’t respond. He used silence to convey a powerful message or to make a point. Sometimes His silence was coupled with a look. Peter experienced one of those.

“Peter replied, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times (Luke 22:60-61).’”

We find biblical warnings associated with talking in Proverbs. Verse nineteen in chapter ten tells us that, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

That’s what moms raising kids with MI need. Wisdom. Scripture emphasizes the importance of investing serious contemplation before speaking.

“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer (Proverbs 15:28  NKJV).”

Knowing how fragile our children are, we choose our words wisely.

Proverbs 17:27 instructs us to use words sparingly. It provides a formula for a calm spirit. Knowledge + understanding + few words = a calm spirit.

“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

As we minister to our children with MI we seek a calm spirit. For our children and for us. We not only find serenity in carefully chosen words. We find peace in God’s glory. His creation leaves us breathless and reminds us of His power. In Him we have an all-powerful King who offers unlimited hope.

Phil Wickham, in his song ‘This is Amazing Grace’ sings about how God’s glory which leaves us breathless.

“Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder

And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder

The King of Glory, the King above all kings”

Reflect on that breathless wonder as you listen to, ‘This Is Amazing Grace’ Phil Wickham    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgsbaBIaoVc

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Speechless

megaphone

Could you function without your voice? It would certainly be challenging. Especially for teachers. I know. For several months I had to teach without a voice.

Years ago, right before the start of a new school year, my cousin encouraged me to attend dirt car races.

“You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced dirt car races,” she assured me.

Upon arrival to the track, I was greeted with a set of ear plugs. Apparently, dirt cars race without mufflers. Soon I got caught up in all the excitement. Thinking it was just like any social event, I shared my thoughts and emotions. I shouted to be heard through the ear plugs and over the thunder of the cars.

Hours of screaming left my vocal cords injured. At first I thought I had a case of laryngitis.

Greeting my new second graders presented a challenge. My students needed to learn all about their new curriculum, my procedures, their schedule…

After four weeks my voice still hadn’t returned. So I visited the doctor.

“You have to stop using your voice if you want it to heal. Even a stage whisper will prolong the healing.”

My doctor’s recommendations stunned me.

How can I teach without a voice?

Out of desperation, I assigned an announcer. Each day one student was designated to proclaim any message I whispered in his ear. My seven-year-old students rose to the challenge. They loved declaring each statement.

They stood straight and tall and yelled the message. Clearly. Loudly. Slowly.

“MRS. CHANDLER SAYS, ‘PLEASE GET OUT YOUR MATH BOOKS AND TURN TO PAGE 38.’”

The students’ reactions were quite surprising. Whenever I’d whisper to them individually, they’d whisper back. So adorable! The ambiance of my classroom became calm and quiet. All day long.

Eventually my voice healed and I could speak for myself.

Sometimes people need others to speak for them. Not due to medical limitations, but because of emotional reasons. Some are too shy. Fear prevents those who feel threatened or vulnerable from sharing what they need. In some cases people don’t speak up because they know how others will react. Either they’ll be ignored or misunderstood.

Mothers who are raising children with mental illness (MI) are often reluctant to speak up. Many reasons cause us to keep our thoughts to ourselves: shame, desire to protect the dignity of their child with MI, sheer exhaustion (mental, physical, and emotional).

Moses felt overwhelmed by God’s call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He worried that the people wouldn’t believe him or listen to his voice (Exodus 4:1). Moses argued with God saying that he wasn’t eloquent (Exodus 4:10). God assured Moses that He would give him the words and provided a helper. Aaron, Moses’ brother, would be his spokesman (Exodus 4:11-16).

God faithfully provided a speaker for Moses. And recently God provided someone to be a voice for me. A fellow blogger, CeeLee, nominated this blog for the Liebster Award. I’ve been praying for others to find this blog. There are millions of moms like us raising a child with MI. Many don’t know the hope they can have in the Lord. Many need to know they are not alone. Need to have peace and joy restored.

Thanks to CeeLee, others will learn about this blog. Check out her blog Swim In The Adult Pool Adult ADHD, Parenting Feats, Family Follies. It’s filled with humor, photography, and honesty about life with ADHD. I’m grateful to CeeLee for her public recognition of this blog.

Accepting my nomination involved nominating 10 more blogs that have less than 300 followers.  Each nominee has the choice to accept or decline the nomination. If you’re a nominee and decide to accept the nomination, answer the 10 questions below (after the 10 nominees). Post your answers on YOUR blog (rather than here-a mistake I made when nominated…oops!). Check out this link to find out more information and rules for Liebster Award winners: http://booksintheburbs.com/tag/liebster-award-blog-winners/

liebster-blog-award

Here are my Liebster Award nominees:

1. Living a Blessed Life: http://livingablessedlife.blogspot.com/

Mary Jo’s Profile: I am desperately in love with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am married to my best friend, Geoff. Together we parent 6 precious children (3 in our home and 3 in our hearts.) My life has taken some interesting twists & turns, but MY GOD IS FAITHFUL!!! May you know His love and grace as well.

2. Encouragement from my heart:  http://encouragementfrommyheart.blogspot.com/

Lori’s Profile: Poems begin from deep within, from God’s heart, through my hands. Writing from my heart is passion. Writing from my soul is prayer…”I am a woman after “God’s Heart

3. Strength for Today: http://strengthfortoday.wordpress.com/

Part of Diane’s Profile: I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.

4. His ways are not our ways: http://www.hisways-isaiah558.blogspot.com/

The Mission of Paula’s Blog: I want my posts to be about God and to be about YOU…touching you in some way to enrich your life, strengthen your walk, encourage your heart, or enlighten your mind. This is a ministry for me…to write from my heart what the Lord speaks to me…to be a vessel that God uses for YOU.

5. Grain of Faith: http://grainoffaith.wordpress.com/

Part of the Blog’s Mission: The Lord has placed in my heart a desire to help or just be there for women like me.  Women who live to serve God.  Women who are hurting for whatever reason.

6. Abundant Blessings: http://www.hisabundantblessings.blogspot.com/

Shelley’s Profile: Shelley wears many hats: wife, homeschooling mom, Christian, writer, weaver, business owner, marketing director, and many more depending on the day. Here you will find a mixed blend of everything related to her writing projects, crafting , our ministry with house churches, our homeschooling, family and more.

7. Unfailingly Loved: http://unfailinglyloved.blogspot.com/

Andrea’s Profile: My passion is to encourage women to be strong and courageous in their walk with Jesus, and to trust in Him and believe in His unfailing love for them. It has been said that “out of our misery comes our ministry.” My desire is to share with you, dear reader, the truths that I know of God. My prayer for each of you is that you are strenghtened in the Lord and drawn closer to Him, as He uses these truths in your own life.

8. Bound to His Heart: http://www.boundtohisheart.blogspot.com/

Charity’s Profile: My name is Charity. My husband and I have been married since 1998. God has been faithful to us through the ups and the downs of the last decade and we fully trust that He will continue to show His faithfulness to us into our future!

We have 4 beautiful children (ages 9, 7, 6, and 4 years old). Motherhood is a job, far beyond what I expected. It’s by far harder and by far more rewarding. Being a mom gives me glimpse into the HEART of God. Often He whispers thoughts to me as I talk/interact with my kids. They are often convicting and always leave me in wonder of the way my Savior unconditionally loves me.

I started blogging and sharing my thoughts because HE urged me to…

9. In Light of the Truth: http://inlightofthetruth.blogspot.com/#uds-search-results

Sarah’s Profile: My name is Sarah. I am a Christian stay-at-home mom, facing all the normal days-to-days that come with being a mom. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart (Kevin) for seven years, and we now are blessed with our 6 yr. old son (Eli), 4yr old daughter (Hannah), and 3yr old son (Carter). My purpose of this blog is to learn from others, encourage others, and share my journey as I seek God’s will for my life.

10. LovingKindness Ministries: http://lovingkindnessministries.blogspot.ca/

Lori Dixon’s Mission: Speaking Truth in Love to Women . . . He makes beautiful things! No matter where you’re from, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, God can make something beautiful out of your life.

Questions for My Nominees:

  1. What’s your life all about?
  2. What’s your favorite Bible verse?
  3. Who inspires you and why?
  4. Why did you start your blog?
  5. What was your most fun or unusual experience?
  6. If you had an entire day to yourself, what would you do?
  7. Love this/hate that…Example-here are mine: love caramel apples/hate spiders…What are yours?
  8. Will old fashioned letter writing die?
  9. What do you do with photographs?
  10. Favorite food to grill?