I caught what my girls had, and I was down with a fever, and then a cough and body aches.
And I lost my voice.
It became a scratchy, raspy whisper.
When I lost my voice . . .
- I couldn't teach my class at church.
- I couldn't sing "Baby Mine" to Grace or read to the children at night.
- I couldn't carry on after-school conversations around the kitchen table.
- I couldn't talk on the phone with my mom. (She used to be able to carry the conversation, but she's been in a bit of a fog lately, and she can't remember what to say.)
- I couldn't cheer Ethan on at his basketball game. (I just kept pointing to the little photo button of him that I was wearing and giving him double thumbs up.)
- I had to cancel our Power of Moms Radio show for the week.
- And a tele-class I was supposed to record for another parenting website.
- And a podcast with the lovely Katrina Kenison (who I'm so excited to interview).
- I couldn't return voice mails or answer the phone when the Kindergarten teacher called to tell me Spencer had a big bump on his head (he was fine).
- I couldn't go to lunch with a new friend.
But then last night, I hit a low when I started looking at all the balls I've been dropping since I got sick. (SO sorry if you were involved with one of those balls.)
Emails are stacking up in my inbox.
A bunch of projects are at a standstill.
Our children haven't been on top of all their responsibilities since they've been sick, too, and I haven't set consequences in place well enough to really make sure they do all their jobs, so they know I'll usually pick up the slack, but since I'm sick, I haven't been able to, and SO many things are being left undone, and my husband is feeling a little frustrated, as well. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)
I consider myself to be a pretty strong person, but by the end of last night, I was ready to call it quits.
I was coughing deeply, retching into the sink and dizzily walking back and forth in my bedroom, with crazy hair and mismatched pajamas, trying not to collapse in tears.
Eric had no idea what was going on in my head, and I tried to explain it to him, but all that came out was, "I'm just trying to do too much. I can't do everything. Would it really matter if I just stopped doing all this? I'm just tired of trying to do so many things that might not even make that big of a difference, and sometimes I just want to stop."
He held me and talked me through this low point--saying all the right things and getting me to settle into a steady breathing pattern.
And then a soft voice came into my mind, reminding me of something I already knew about the adversary--or something I should have known.
April, he wants you to lose your voice.
"But I already have lost my voice," I thought.
And then it clicked.
We weren't talking about my literal voice. We were talking about my other voice . . . my real voice.
And this is a war in which every single one of us is a part.
We've each been given an ability to express ourselves, to lift others, to offer encouragement, to extend support, to stand up for what we feel is right. And each person uses his or her voice in a unique way.
It happens through music, through quiet conversations, through genuine smiles, through writing, and sometimes just by "being there."
But the grand plan of the adversary is to convince us all to deliberately lose our voices.
Because then he thinks he wins.
I sat on my bed for a long time and thought about that.
And then I apologized to God for letting myself act like such a quitter.
Of course there's no need to overdo it, and I need to seriously adjust my expectations when I'm sick, but giving up my voice can no longer be an option.
This blog is my safest and easiest place to share my voice. I like that it's small and kind of out-of-the-way. I like that the people who read and comment are my friends who have a lot of great advice and solid perspectives on the world.
And today I would really like to hear what you do when you feel like I do.
How do you keep using your voice, even when it's hard?
How do you make sure you'll never lose it?
I appreciate the strength you give to me.