Identity theft is not a joke.
Seriously, though, it’s not! Like I mentioned in Part 1 (if you haven’t read it yet, this blog won’t make much sense. So pause and read before moving forward: A Voice Like Fergie and Jesus - Pt 1), my identity and worth is found in God, not in what I have or possess, or what I’m good at. And, for all of us, the cunning evil one knows that, twists the truth, and tries to steal our true identity as sons or daughters of God.
What’s really unbelievable about this soul-searching, identity-finding, faith-questioning journey I was on? God was preparing me for something I couldn’t have dreamed up if I tried.
Guys. Miracles EXIST!
But before I get to the miracle I experienced, there are a few important points to make.
As my faith grew, my singing voice weakened. As my voice weakened, my desire to sing skyrocketed.
Soooo, that was fun.
I’ve noticed that sometimes God increases certain desires I have while simultaneously giving me the grace to surrender and detach myself from the very thing I’m desiring. I want something, and yet I’m okay if that thing doesn’t happen. It’s a wild feeling to say, at the end of the day, that I’m not putting that desired thing above God. And also, so I can say “I trust in you, God. No matter what I do or do not have, I trust in you.”
About five years after my first trip to the doctor, I decided to go to another specialist because, at this point, it hurt to talk. The doc told me I had “Laryngo” “Pharyngeal” “Reflux” “Disease,” which honestly sounds like something he made up on the spot, amirite?
He gave me medication (which I forgot about most days) and put me in vocal therapy (where I looked and sounded like a total fool for 45 minutes a session). The worst part: he put me on a special diet, which I succeeded at for approximately 15 hours.
It didn’t last long mostly because a) lack of discipline and b) “portion control” is a phrase said by no Italian ever. SO EVEN IF I WANTED to abide by the stupid diet, the ol’ famiglia made it super difficult. I mean, I’m pretty sure I have an entire loaf of bread lodged in one of my intestines from a lifetime of “mangia mangia” AFTER my second plate of pasta and block of cheese had already been consumed.
I noticed improvements here and there, but I was still in pain. Whenever I sang, or even spoke too much, it felt like a little elf was branding my vocal pipes with a blazing hot iron he had warmed up over the campfire that lived in my throat.
I wanted relief. People would tell me to pray for healing, but I just thought that was for the people that existed 2 000 years ago, not me.
I always felt so unworthy of something so amazing… like, why would God care to heal me? What would be the point of healing me? Doesn’t He have bigger fish to fry?
Through a random series of events, I found myself at a retreat called the Unbound Conference. It was there that I heard testimonies galore about God healing people physically, emotionally, and psychologically, through a unique prayer method called, “The Five Keys.”
This prayer method could result in healing aka MIRACLES, you guys. Modern day versions of Jesus’ healings in the New Testament, like when He heals a leper, a paralytic, some blind guys.
Now for their free endorsement:
UNBOUND Ministry is an approach to deliverance and healing prayer developed by Neal Lozano. It’s an incredible resource for healing prayer. For more information: http://www.heartofthefather.com
I figured okay - if God still heals people, I want in.
So I signed up to be prayed over and asked for the healing of my throat. I’m putting it in plain terms for you now - I guess it wasn’t so easy to just ask a few strangers for what I thought to be an absurd request…
”Uh, hey, yea can you pray that I’m healed of this obscure still-unsure-if-it’s-made-up-or-not throat disease? Great. Thanks.”
But I wanted it and I was willing to put myself out there to get it. And there was no denying that I was struck to the heart by the miraculous stories of healing I’d been hearing.
The prayer time was not what I was expecting. It was better.
We all carry deeply personal wounds. We’re all in a desperate search for relief from the pain of those wounds.
What happens when you’re wounded? The gut reaction is to cover the injury up, to protect it. But just like a physical wound that goes untreated, when emotional or psychological wounds get covered up and ignored, bigger problems emerge.
Some of the hurts I experienced in my past had physical ramifications. In this case it manifested in my vocal chords. There was a lot of hurt in my past from people making me feel stupid, telling me my opinion never mattered, ingraining in me this belief that I wasn't worthy of sharing my thoughts with the world. I began to believe my opinions were dumb - pointless, even - and no one would want to hear what I had to say. These instances inflicted wounds that left me believing I was stupid, unworthy of sharing my thoughts, and that my opinions were pointless or dumb.
So I shut up.
And as a result, I had a weird disease that resulted in no voice. Literally.
The Unbound Conference gently led me to that root cause. I named what the wounds were and I forgave the people that had inflicted that pain and instilled those lies into my everyday thinking.
I gave the dark parts of my heart to Jesus, the Healer. And for the first time ever, the lies I let identify me, were shattered.
After the prayer session was over, the team told me to go sing. Just like that? Just sing? I hadn’t been able to sing in years - what if, after asking God for healing, it still didn’t work?
I went to a chapel nearby, walked down four stone steps to the hidden and hefty door, punched the code to get in, and found a pew after making sure I was the only one in there. I knelt down, thanked God for the healing I had asked for, and went for it.
“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. It has always been one of the most authentic prayers I’ve prayed to God… so I began to sing it. Loudly.
And then I laughed. Pretty hard, actually. I remember being convinced that people walking by on the street were baffled and freaked out from the reverberating sounds of my laughter and Peter Gabriel rendition pouring out of the little chapel.
“What is going on??!!!” I thought, “Am I really singing right now?!”
My heart was astonished, overwhelmed, filled with joy and gratitude that I was able to sing. It was the first time I could sing without feeling like that elf was having a field day.
After I let go of my false identity, after the healing of my past wounds and sin, after placing my trust in God and believing that He could heal me, after almost a decade of of vocal dysfunction - I was healed.
He could have healed me in an instant many years before, but I was withholding from Him the wounds that were the very access points to His great mercy and personal love towards me. God wanted my heart. The very things that I was so frightened to show anyone, let alone God, were exactly what He needed in order to properly heal me.
It astonishes me to this day, that God would care THAT MUCH about me and my desires. He cares. He is so good. He is a Father who sees our hearts, and wants them.