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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)

TITLE: I Can Be Still And Know That He Is God
By Toni Babcock


Throw frustrating and maddening together, then shake and release them in a tremulous expulsion of human speech and what do you have? An embarrassing and exasperating case of Spasmodic Dysphonia. Spasmodic…say what? Yes, you heard it right, "Dysphonia", a word that sounds…well…phony… like a word you’d make up in a game of Scrabble. But it’s real.

Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD) is a rare neurological disorder that affects the vocal chords in two major forms; adductor, which slams the vocal chords together causing a harsh, forced, and broken tone of speech, and abductor, which inhibits the full closure of vocal chords creating a breathy, whispery tone. SD is sometimes accompanied with a vocal tremor of no known cause. SD can be treated but not entirely cured. Botox injections can improve Spasmodic Dysphonia, but must be repeated every 3 months or so. Surgery may help those who don’t respond well to Botox, but even after surgery the disorder can return. Stress worsens symptoms of SD, but the disorder is not psychological in origin. People who have accompanying vocal tremor can be more difficult to treat with success.

I have taken a rather philosophical approach to Spasmodic Dysphonia. I decided to live at peace with SD and accompanying vocal tremor, strengthened by the recognition that if I were able to speak with a perfect tongue I may not always speak so well. Those times when I choose to remain silent because of SD might be my “silence is golden” times. I can relate to David as he prayed “Set a watch oh Lord before my mouth, keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 KJV). No better way to achieve that than to be stricken with a disabling voice disorder. In another psalm he wrote, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because Thou didst it” (Psalm 39:9 KJV).

I believe my SD is a part of God’s plan to accomplish His purpose in me because “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV). The discipline God brings into my life through trial is meant for my profit, that I might be partaker of His holiness, (Hebrews 12:10). That being said, I need to embrace whatever discipline God uses to mold me into His likeness and not fight against His plan.

There were people in the Apostle Paul’s life who viewed his infirmities with contempt. They said his letters were weighty and powerful, but his physical appearance was weak and his speech contemptible, (II Corinthians 10:10). Maybe they thought Paul was a disappointing embarrassment for the cause of Christ. They wanted to glory in his flesh, but God didn’t give them that option. But what mattered most at the end of Paul’s life? Was it the opinion of others? Was it his attractive physical presence or his outstanding speaking prowess? Or was it the letters he left behind - the inspired things he wrote? I take great encouragement from the answer to that question. I can live with Spasmodic Dysphonia and allow God to deal with me as He will. I can be still and know that He is God.

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This article has been read 688 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 01/19/12
This was a very moving and touching piece. I loved how you brought meaning to it by definition of scriptures.

Beautifully written, and powerful execution of the topic. God Bless you~
annie keys01/19/12
Very well written! I wasn't even aware such a condition existed and you explained it so even a non-medical person could understand. Thank you.

My heart hopes that you continue to bless us with your "voice". Write on---
Hiram Claudio01/20/12
I am standing an applauding right now. You touched my heart.

I'm so grateful that the challenges you face with your "audible" voice have not curtailed the obvious gift with your "written" voice.

This was inspiring and a powerful message for us all!
Theresa Santy 01/20/12
Whatever SD may have done to your speech (assumming this is nonfiction), it seems to have had the opposite impact on your ability to communicate with the written word.

You write with clear, powerful, emotionaly charged style. Whatever God had planned for you, I'm certain He intends for you to write.
Noel Mitaxa 01/21/12
You may not be up there with the Apostle Paul - he's had a few years' start on you - but your writing will have an anointed effect on your readers.
God's blessings on you and through you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/21/12
This is intense and beautifully written. I felt for the MC but also so the blessing in this disorder. You did an excellent job of approaching the topic in a creative, fresh out of the box way!
Linda Goergen01/22/12
Beautiful testimony and a knowledgeable read also, as I had never heard of Spasmodic Dysphonia. Reading this was a blessing. Thank you for sharing.
Leola Ogle 01/22/12
I agree with Annie about your explanation being easy to understand about a condition I'm sure many have never heard of. I love the reference to Romans 8:28. Keep writing! God bless!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/26/12
Congratulations for ranking 10th in level three!
Jan Ackerson 03/28/12
Toni, I'm going to feature this very well-written entry on the Front Page Showcase for the week for April 2. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
Rebecca Lunn03/13/15
If your life was the Bible people read, your dynamic entry should be listed with the apostle Paul: "I am well content with weaknesses...for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Rebecca Lunn03/13/15
If your life was the Bible people read, your dynamic entry should be listed with the apostle Paul's: "I am well content with weaknesses...for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."