A few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine regarding The Voice Within. I did not realize I had never really shared in detail exactly where I got The Voice Within. So, I thought why not write about how God gave me this beautiful vision and mission through my own journey. Trust me, I am still going through the process; a word I can admit makes me cringe at times but I know is necessary.
It all started with my childhood. I am not going to go into my entire childhood (that will take several blogs) but I will begin where I feel God first planted The Voice Within ministry inside me. As a young kid, I was not 100 percent accepted by my paternal grandmother. She often played favoritism amongst her grandchildren and I was not one of the “favorites”. My father also had a favorite, which was my sister who is two years older than I am. I tried telling myself it was not the case, however when you overhear adult family members confirming it, you know it definitely is the case.
I remember this day as if it were yesterday. I was in the sixth grade and I wrote my father a letter letting him know how hurt I felt. I expressed how I knew he did not want more kids after he and my mother had my sister and that I felt like he played favoritism. I said a few other things but of course, I am unable to remember. I respected and admired my father and just wanted to feel the love from him as I saw my sister receive. My letter was very respectful and from the heart. Well my father did not think so. He came, picked me up from my mother’s house, and took me to Whitaker middle school and we walked around the school track. He began to tell me that it was all in my head, none of it was true, and he was so hurt and disappointed in me that I would write him a letter and “accuse” him of such things. At that very moment, I lost my voice. I walked away feeling guilty that I hurt and disappointed my father and wondered what was wrong with me. From that point on, anytime someone did something to hurt me, instantly I felt inside as if it was my fault.
Another incident happened but this time it was at church. I was 18 years old and I went to the Assistant Pastor for counseling. Instead of the Assistant Pastor keeping our conversation confidential as I requested, he went to the individual’s parents who I was speaking with him in confidence regarding and in return the parents twisted the story and blamed me for the situation. I will add this disclosure. The counseling had nothing to do with anything life threatening or abuse. Therefore, there was no need to go and disclose what we discussed in confidence. Instantly I blamed myself for opening up and sharing my voice. This particular Pastor is no longer an Assistant Pastor of that church I was attending.
As the years went on, I encountered many instances where I felt as though I had no voice whether on my job, in relationships, in church, etc. If I would express myself about something, somehow the situation seemed to end up being my fault. I truly started to believe that my voice was not important and that no matter what I said no one wanted to listen. For years, I would internalize things and say to myself, “No one is going to listen anyway” or “It is your fault so why even say anything?” It got to a point where I took ownership for things I did as well as what others did.
The turning point came in the year of 2016 while sitting in my therapist office. Dr. Craine said to me, “Jackie, God talks to you just like He talks to everyone else. Your voice matters.” I sat there and could not stop crying because all I could think about was how I gave my voice away. The voice I had given up was the voice of Jesus Christ. A few days later, as I was praying and talking to God He gave me the scripture: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27 NKJV). I realized at that very moment I did have a voice and that voice was Jesus Christ. It all hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am reminded of the story in Exodus when Moses did not feel “qualified” to go face Pharaoh in order to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Scripture says, “Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon Your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since You have spoken to Your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:10-11 NIV). How many of you can say that Voice Within has told you to do something but you were afraid because you felt “unqualified”? How many of you can say that Voice Within has told you to go face a Pharaoh in your life but you allowed fear of not knowing what to say cause you not to trust God? How many of you can say that Voice Within has told you to step out on faith and trust Him but you were unwilling because you could not physically see it? I can say yes to all of them.
I am the first to admit there has been many times I allowed fear, anxiety, low self-esteem and other things to prevent me from doing what I knew I should be doing. God has given each of us a voice. That Voice Within is Jesus Christ. We all have some type of insecurities just as Moses did but if you think about it, God oftentimes uses that very thing we feel insecure about in order to bring about something miraculous. We might not depart a Red Sea or make water flow out of a rock; however, you can be someone’s miracle by just being you. That miracle can be you giving someone a smile, a thank you, a God bless you or even just saying hello.
Today I still struggle from time to time doing exactly what The Voice Within wants me to do. We are not perfect and we will fall short at times. You must remember not to allow anyone to take your voice from you. Whether it is on your job, your family or friends, relationships, etc. God has given you that voice for a reason. Remember, Jesus is love so The Voice Within is not about hate or tearing each other down but lifting each other up. So many of us have lost our voices and I encourage you today to tap into that voice on the inside which is Jesus Christ and never let anyone take that voice from you ever again. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV).
I am going to leave you with this. I used to pastor a church a few years back. I used to end my sermons with the words below. For those of you that have lost your voice, I encourage you to say these words to yourself until you get your voice back. We all need a reminder from time to time. It is like taking a refresher course but just do not lose your voice permanently. It is yours and it is time for the world to hear that beautiful voice.
I am somebody within the body of Christ
I hear The Voice Within
The Voice Within is Jesus Christ
No one can take that Voice from Me!