How I Lost my voice
Over the past year, I was asked dozens of times the same exact question: "Are you still pursuing music?" Though people were always asking out of genuine curiosity, unbeknownst to them, it was an issue that brought up extremely painful emotions inside of me, making it feel like a knife in the stomach every time it was asked. It didn't matter where I went, I swear to you I stumbled upon someone in the music industry at least 3-4 times a week who would end up asking me that dreadful question. Every time it would come into conversation my eyes would well up, my palms would get sweaty, and I'd create another excuse for my musical absence-- all the while not facing the truth myself. But now and again a little voice would pop up into my head telling me the answer. Oh yeah... good ole Miss Consciousness. She certainly had a way with words. Though I always knew she was trying to tell me the truth, I accused her of being wrong every time. So much so, I even started to convince myself that things were just fine and dandy. Every morning I'd put on a smile, and my "happy mask" then went about the day. I was living a lie, and getting caught up in the very own webs I created in order to stay "perfect." This method works temporarily for those who are surrounding you, but unfortunately, there is no convincing yourself when you know the truth.
And I didn't. I couldn't.
How I lost my voice: S I N. Whoah! Scary Christian word alert. I began to live my life for myself; giving less and less of a crap what God wanted me to do, and more on what Carmen wanted to do. "Pride comes before the fall" God said... and He wasn't lying, because that is exactly what happened to me, both literally and figuratively (:
Yep, I literally fell off a of horse. And I have a ripped muscle to prove it. Whoopee! I look at this image and I see a metaphor for where my life was headed. This day I was so happy to be riding again, a passion I've had and participated in since I was a little girl; however, little did I know, this horse would spook significantly, causing me to lose the reigns and a stirrup. For those who need an equestrian interpretation for what that means: I was screwed. I ended up staying on for a couple minutes until he began heading towards a nearby river that dipped down quite a bit. I knew then we were either both gonna get beat up from running into the river, or I had to jump off, and take one for the team. So I jumped. And I fell hard. My life during this time was a wreck, but I wasn't quite ready to jump off into the unknown. I was comfortable being comfortable-- and the idea of jumping into safety was to much of a risk. Well, I wish I would've woken up when I literally fell, because it took me falling several more times figuratively to actually wake up. On this day, If I hadn't jumped off this horse, I'm not sure what would have happened. What I do know, is when I jumped I was afraid; but it was necessary.
What does this have to do with my voice? Well, I believe it was an attempt on God's part to wake me up or maybe a side effect to the choices I was making during this season. Either way, I ignored it and kept living on my own agenda. All the while Miss Consciousness was screaming for help, and more importantly for me to listen. As I continued to ignore the attempts the Lord and my conscious made trying to grab my attention, my heart began to grow cold and numb-- I believe this is when I started to lose my voice. I was neglecting my feelings, family, and friends and most importantly my relationship with Jesus. Acting everyday became routine, I felt as though I was starring as the "Carmen" everyone wanted to see, not the "Carmen" they actually knew. Cause If they REALLY knew me, how could they possibly love me? I began to lose strength in my voice and couldn't hit notes I had always been capable of. My life was deteriorating right in front of me and no one had the answers as to why. However, I did, but I couldn't tell them that, for I was terrified at what they would say.
After falling deeper and deeper into the hole I dug for myself, I finally realized I couldn't go on anymore the way that I had been. It was either I take my own life or jump into the unknown in hopes of healing. So, like I did off that horse, I jumped. Not surprisingly, it was terrifying as hell. but again, it was necessary for my survival. I learned that forgiveness was the missing puzzle piece in my life; it came in three stages.
It first began with forgiveness and redemption through the Lord. The first person I immediately went to when I knew it was time to give up fending for myself, was Jesus. I fell at His feet, and He listened. I cried for months, and He was always there. He told me there is NO condemnation in Christ, so the guilt and shame I carried along in my baggage needed to be dumped out then and there. He knew this was no easy task though- not alone. He placed on my heart the next step of forgiveness and healing I needed. This would be the hardest step for me personally.
The second step was sharing all that had transpired with both my mother and father-- then asking for forgiveness from lying to their faces for years. Though this was certainly the most difficult thing I think I have ever done, it was desperately what I needed in order to move forward. The minute I told my mother and father all that had been happening, I felt as though a boulder had lifted from my shoulders. That feeling was freedom. I can't begin to express to you how wonderful it is to have complete honesty in a relationship- especially with your parents. After sharing, my mother got me into therapy where I learned the final step in my healing process.
The last step was forgiving myself. I had been forgiven by the Lord and my parents, but that didn't stop me from judging myself harshly at times for my past wrongs. In the beginning, it was difficult, because I was still incapable of singing-- Which I thought was a punishment the Lord bestowed onto me because I sinned against Him. Which He quickly countered with a whopping NOPE. It was always me holding myself back because I felt so much shame and guilt. The Lord reassured me every day that those emotions aren't from Him, there from the devil in an attempt to remind me of my imperfections. I learned that God isn't some Zeus like man sitting up on cloud demanding orders. He is a personal and gracious God, one that casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness. For years I was under the impression that the emotions after one commits a sin were from the Lord, but no-- absolutely not. They are human emotions, and unfortunately us humans are flawed (in case you haven't noticed). I was carrying around unnecessary shame that had no place in my life. Thankfully, Jesus opened my eyes to this. As soon as I allowed the Lord to love me properly again, I forgave myself. This step I have learned never quite goes away, the devil somehow maneuvers his deceitful lies and "truths" about who he thinks I am as a person now and then; but this time around I have defender who wins every time. Not today satan!
Though my story is not yet finished, I am grateful that God has given me these mature tools for navigating this life so soon. I believe we all have our own journeys following the Lord's breadcrumbs of wisdom scattered amongst our individual paths. However, it is up to YOU to pick them up! I walked right past them for years and acted out of hypocrisy to those who were close to me. I often wonder what would have happened If I had taken head to Gods wisdom and warnings sooner, but I stop myself there every time and whisper to my heart "You can't go back." The truth of the matter is, our past is exactly that: the past. It is what you do now in the future that matters. Release yourself from the burdens, guilt, and brokenness this world loves to attach you too! You have freedom in the name of Jesus. When I fell off that horse, my greatest injury was not allowing my heart to heal. After healing on the outside from that fall, I was still aching from pain in my heart- but I didn't have to. And you don't have to. Talk to the Lord, share your heart and burdens with your friends + family, then FORGIVE YOURSELF. That is all you can do! I promise the feeling of liberation from condemnation has NO equal; you're basically shoving the devil out of a window from the 80th floor. Wavvveeee byeeeeee sin and shame!!!! You have no power over my life.
This is a daily process. Some days are better than others-- that's a give in. But I believe in you. And He believes in you.
"In Him and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Ephesians 3:12
Love you all dearly,