Voice Lessons

“A new song for a new day rises up in me…” Psalm 40:3

Years ago I shared the story of how I lost my singing voice to steroids when I was young (and dumb). It was this self-inflicted wound that scarred me with depression, anxiety and loss of identity for years. And it was this same deep wound that would draw me into a deeper relationship with my Savior and ultimately be healed– not by human standards- but by a loving Heavenly Father who would whisper my true name and call me into his healing light.

Now I see the beauty in the pain and I can tell my story without sadness, but gratitude.

One way I know he has healed my heart is that music is JOY again. It speaks to me, it moves through me, and it has been regifted to me through my children who love music. I sing all time by myself, in the car, and at home with my family.

My voice is not the same. I cannot sing the same songs I used to. But lately I’ve wondered if that is the point: to grow and change and evolve and sing a new song entirely from when you began.

Amera started voice lessons this year, and it’s been surreal listening and observing. She has a beautiful singing voice. About a month ago her throat was hurting and so I texted her voice instructor to reschedule her lesson. And then out of nowhere, I sent another text: “Can I take Amera’s lesson?”

It was a quick response: “Absolutely!”

Then I panicked. What am I doing? I don’t sing anymore. Why would I put myself out there like that?

I emailed her instructor to share a little of my backstory. When it was time I had a major case of butterflies. I felt awkward and nervous but she was very encouraging and kind.

I told her that I had no agenda, I didn’t want to be a “singer” again, but that I was curious. Curious about this voice. My voice now. My voice that had been neglected for over 20 years because it was compared to a previous version. And held to the standard of my old songs.

I wanted to know.

And so I sang. I did warm-ups waaaaay out of my comfort zone and I apologized every time my voice cracked. (She told me to stop doing that.) And when she asked me to sing her a song, I chose Losing my Religion by Lauren Daigle and pushed play on the karaoke track…

I’ve been an actor on a stage
Playing a role I have to play
I’m getting tired to say the same
Living behind a masquerade

No more performing out of fear

I’m trying to keep my conscience clear
It all seems so insincere

I’d trade it all to meet You here

My voice cracked, but I kept going…

I’m losing my religion
I’m losing my religion…

Light a match and watch it burn
To Your heart, I will return
No one can love me like You do
No-no-no-no-no
So why would I want a substitute?

I’m losing my religion
I’m losing my religion
I’m losing my religion
I’m losing my religion
To find You

I’m losing my religion
In finding something new
‘Cause I need something different
And different looks like You

I couldn’t get through the song because the tears started falling.

Different.

Different is scary, but it’s also good. This different voice was coming from a different Bonnie than the one who sang 20 years ago. This new Bonnie had lived enough life to know who she was and who she wasn’t. She learned to sing with her whole life and wasn’t afraid of different. No, I can’t sing the old songs that I used to…but I don’t want to anymore. I have a new song. And I’m free to sing it- however it comes out.

I’ve had a few lessons now and I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to get through the songs without crying. I still have no agenda other that to feel the joy of singing again and honoring the voice I have today. And trusting that The Storyteller is still writing my story…

This week as I was looking for a family verse to draw on the chalkboard, He showed me this:

“The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come.” – Song of Solomon 2:12

Yes it has.

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