When I was a little girl, I used to have a reoccuring dream. The dream was full of unclear images and shapes. There was NOTHING recognizable in the dream, except that it accompanied a really strange feeling in my jaws. It wasn’t pain, but a feeling that I couldn’t bite down all the way or say something I wanted to say. I never thought much about it as a child, other than that it was weird. As I entered my teen and early adult years, I never thought about it much because I no longer had the dreams. Then, somewhere around 2003-2004, I had the dream again. This time, I decided to ask God what it was all about and what that weird feeling in my jaws could be. He unfolded for me that the feeling was that I had a muzzle on. That was my first revelation that God wanted to free me from something in this area of my life. It was good to be able to put my finger on something that had been so bizarre in my mind and I thought the realization would be the end of it. I again, went many years without the dream or that feeling in my jaws. But, fast forward to 2010, and I again got that feeling in my jaws on a few random occasions (without the dream). I took it to God in prayer and asked Him what this meant and why I was having this feeling again. What He revealed to me, was that the enemy had used this dream to try to silence me. I am an introvert by nature and therefore process most things internally before ever discussing them out loud. This is just how I’m wired and that’s how God made me. What was taking place, however, was not a healthy thing or a matter of personality. It was as if something oppressive was trying to stifle me. It came in whispers that made me think I had nothing significant to say or contribute. That what I thought didn’t really matter, or that I would never really have a voice. I was insignificant. I didn’t say these things out loud, or even think about them on a conscious level, but they were in the corners of my mind, holding me back from fully becoming who God created me to be.
Last summer I went on a trip with a very dear friend who is also a fellow pastor’s wife. She passed on some insight she’d learned from other pastor’s wives, and it was so great. She said to me “you are the feminine voice of your church”. That may sound like a beautiful privilege to some, but to me, it sounded like a responsibility, a box, an impossibility. I’m an introvert afterall. I don’t like public speaking, and you can’t tell me I have to do it. (That’s not at all what she was saying, it’s just what my disfunctional brain picked up). I have a bit of a stubborn streak and I didn’t let her know it right then (remember I had to process it internally first), but I thought to myself “I am me, and I won’t be forced into some mold or role that other people expect or want from me”. Not a bad thought at all, except that it isn’t what was happening.
Sometime after I got home from my trip, I began to process in a more healthy way, what God had used her to tell me. He wasn’t telling me to become someone else, take on someone else’s gifts, or fit some preacher’s wife mold (that I have proudly steered clear of). He was setting me free to use my voice to tell others what He’s done for me, in the way that He has made me. That’s all. I’ve always believed in passing along what God gives you, not keeping it selfishly to yourself, but there was this big block in the way that was keeping me from fully experiencing all that He has for me. I am so thankful for my friend, and I am so thankful for God’s work in me. I’m a fallible woman. God has seen me at my best and my worst. He knows I’m broken, He knows I’m weak, he knows I’m a mess. Even so, He loves me, and He wants to use me to shine His glory. And He wants to use you too. My husband has a beautiful tattoo that represents this verse that represents well how I feel:
“I will run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free”. Psalm 119:32
God has done so much in my life. He has healed wounds, spoken truth, blessed me with people from whom I have learned so much. He has provided me with resources, opportunities for growth, risk, and failure. He has lovingly taught me how to have a very meaningful relationship with Him through His grace, mercy, patience, pereverance, and love. AND, He will continue to do all of this until I take my last breath. I don’t know exactly what it will all look like, but I am thankful for the truth He spoke in the quietness of my heart last August,
“Just tell them what I’ve done for you.”
Thank you for giving me a voice Jesus. May it speak truth, life and encouragement to others, as you have done for me. May it always sing your praises. May it bless and not curse, and may it always glorify you and not me. May it give others hope that what you have done for me, you can also do for them. Help me to remain pliable. That voice that you’ve given to me, I give back to you. The muzzle is off.