It was rather frightening as I stood at the keyboard playing and squeaking out a few notes the best I could.
I could feel the blockage in my voice. I had low tones. A little gravely, but lower than ever, which scared me a bit.
I had high tones, too. A bit thin and weak, but then – I couldn’t expect much since I hadn’t been using them much.
It was the mid tones that scared me the most. I could sing some notes, but not others. My voice was uncontrollable, squeaky, and tight. I had tried working it out, warming it up, resting it – but I could even feel the problems while speaking. Singing only compounded the problem. And after a few songs I had all but lost my voice.
I wondered if I’d ever sing normally again.
2 years of very severe allergies combined with the extreme acid reflux I’d had while pregnant had pretty much fried everything.
Anticipating more acid reflux with this baby, I decided to wait this pregnancy out before putting myself on vocal rest, followed by some intense vocal therapy. I just couldn’t imagine not being able sing. For me it would be like losing my sight, or my legs, or my hearing…singing is as natural as living to me!
Well, there I stood – practically helpless, but knowing that “the show had to go on”. Okay, it wasn’t a show – it was worship and I was leading – but it had to go on, nonetheless.
While others may disagree with me, I know what I’m capable of and I know what I sounded like – and honestly…..it was bad. Really bad. A disaster, actually. I actually had to cut things short because I literally couldn’t sing another note by the end. And I knew I had 2 1/2 more months of leading before my sister returned from the States to resume her position as worship leader.
2 1/2 months of torturing my voice and wearing myself out using every gimmick I knew to produce a semi-normal sounding voice. In just that one half-hour I had used up every gimmick I knew and was completely exhausted. Discouraged. Sad. Frightened. Embarrassed. I felt all those things.
A couple of days later I was sitting at my desk going over song ideas for Sunday and I silently prayed, “God, you know I have 2 more months of leading worship before Bonnie gets back. I know what’s wrong with me. I know what I need to do to begin trying to improve things, and I know that I don’t have time right now to even start. But I also know that for You nothing is impossible. Please help me….somehow.”
The prayer more of a plea for mercy than anything else.
And to be downright honest, I went about the rest of my week and completely forgot about it.
There I stood Sunday afternoon at the keyboard – once again. Realizing that my voice wasn’t very reliable, I had chosen fairly easy songs that Sunday. The drums clicked off and the bass, electric guitar and I started the intro….
…I opened my mouth and what came out astounded me! My voice: strong, clear, easy….I hadn’t sung like that in over a year! I stopped and said, “Guys! I can only explain what’s happened here with one word – miracle. I know what was wrong with me and what it would take to get to this point. And all I can tell you is – professionally speaking – it is impossible for me to have gone from what I sounded like last week to what I sound like now in one week!!”
Since then I have led worship a handful of times more and each week my voice is stronger, clearer, and singing comes easier each time.
This was a huge lesson for me (not that I shouldn’t have already learned it by now). I was against a brick wall and had no other alternative than to call out to God. But I did what I should have done to begin with – pray about it and believe for the impossible. We are so quick to turn to professionals, to rely on human reasoning and wisdom. I had diagnosed myself, hoping with everything I had that I hadn’t developed those dreaded nodes. That I wouldn’t need surgery to fix my voice. Yes, my imagination explored every possibility. But, somehow, it never seemed to meander its way to “pray about it!” until I was faced with an insurmountable task. Isn’t that just like humans, though?
So, I am tucking this story away in the forefront of my mind, to remind myself that the next time I am faced with a problem, I will first turn to the God of all wisdom and rely on Him first! Because He can do what no man can do!
By the way, I highly recommend this program for vocal training:
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