I experienced a miracle this week so I’m about to get very personal, letting you into some of my inner sanctum of beliefs that I only share with close friends. Remember the last time I posted, I wrote about singing the National Anthem. I had no idea what a pivotal moment that was going to be.
Shortly after that event, I became extremely sick. At the doctor’s office, I tested positive for strep, but this strep was unlike any I had ever experienced before. My throat was raw beyond belief and I struggled to not only swallow but breathe. The doctor prescribed for me an extremely strong antibiotic, trying to help me fight off not only the strep but what he thought was a sever sinus infection. After the ten days of doses, my head and throat felt so much better but my voice was gone. Every time I tried to pass air over my vocal chords to create a tone, nothing would come out. I could speak just fine, it was only when I tried to sing that I felt this weird band-like clamp around my vocal chords, keeping any sound from forming.
I had agreed at the beginning of November to sing for a special Christmas program being put on by my church for the people of my ward. When the sickness first happened I figured I still had plenty of time to heal and prepare. But by the Sunday before Christmas Sunday, I still could not sing. I had never suffered such a long dearth from my singing voice and I was scared that the sickness might have caused permanent damage in some way to my vocal chords.
Desperate, I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing. This priesthood is something worthy males in my church who are keeping their convents with God are ordained to. They must do their best to remain worthy for the power of that priesthood to take effect when blessing others. Now please don’t think of this priesthood blessing like a gumball machine. My husband can’t lay his hands on my head and just make the Lord give me the blessing of my choice. It doesn’t work like that. If it wasn’t in the Lord’s will, not even this blessing would change the plight of my voice. But I had faith that my desire for my voice wasn’t for me, but for the promise I had made to the woman who had planned the program so many months before.
After the blessing, the ratcheting stress I was feeling inside eased. Comforted, I went to bed that Sunday night only to awake and find I still couldn’t sing. Weirdly, I still felt comforted so I kept drinking warm lemon and honey water and speaking as little as possible. On Tuesday, I still couldn’t sing but I felt strongly it would still be okay.
By Wednesday, I woke up able to sing about three notes in my range. Clearly this wasn’t going to be enough to sing the song but hey it was better than the day before. I called my accompanist and told her we would hold off practicing until Friday. We were running out of time and because of my illness and subsequent issues with my voice we hadn’t practiced even once. By Friday, my voice could get through about ninety percent of the song but it was so weak it cracked several times during our short rehearsal. My pianist asked me what I wanted to do.
“We forge ahead, they are counting on us.”
Having only gone through the song twice with the pianist, I was far from prepared like I normally would be when it came to performing in front of people. And I hadn’t dared sing at all until Christmas morning, trying to preserve what voice I had until the moment I had to sing. My prayer before I left for church was short but earnest. For the first time in my life it wouldn’t be the strength of my talent that would pull this off, my talent had seemingly been taken from me. I knew I would not be able to get through this solo unless he willed it.
I gently sang a little of the opening hymn to give my voice an opportunity to warm up as far as I dared to, then I waited until it was my turn in the program to get up and walk to the microphone. I should have been shaking, but I wasn’t. Though I hadn’t been able to sing the song once without cracking so far, I had accepted my fate. This wasn’t about me anymore. If the Lord wanted the congregation to hear this song it would happen.
The music started and I opened my mouth. Shockingly, the sound that came out was completely free of the band-like squeeze I had been experiencing up until his moment. I couldn’t stop the tears from welling in my eyes, yet my tone still remined steady. I’m sure everyone there thought it was the words of the song that were bringing me to tears. Though the words were a touching tribute to the Savior, it was his miracle to me that had me tearing up.
Afterwards, the pianist marveled to me since she had witnessed how weak my voice had been only a few days before. I told her of my husband’s blessing and testified that it truly was a miracle made possible through the priesthood. This lovely woman is not a member of my faith, but I would have been remiss if I hadn’t given the full glory to my Heavenly Father in that moment. I always appreciate how willing this woman who isn’t of my faith is to come and play for me whenever I ask. I truly believe the Lord wanted her to experience this miracle with me, so we could both be strengthened. I can testify with boldness, through the Lord, all things are possible, even such small things as giving me back my voice at the exact moment I needed it.