Friday, April 17, 2015

The Gift of Words

I came into this world with an intense desire to be heard. When I was born, the nurses in the hospital nursery nicknamed me “Stormy”.  In the second grade, I sat next to my teacher on a permanent basis due to my inability to stay quiet in class. It was so humiliating that by ninth grade my English teacher called me “the quiet one in the back.”

Words are a gift, allowing incredible adventures to unfold in the pages of a book. You can be anyone and do anything without ever leaving home. As a kid I read encyclopedias, dictionaries, even the back of a cereal box at breakfast. It’s possible to unload the dishwasher, sort laundry, brush teeth, or make a bed with a book in one hand or on the counter. Words express our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows, reaching across boundaries of culture, age, language, and time.

The day I woke up without the ability to make a sound, I was terrified. For two months I resorted to blowing a whistle for my children. My husband and I worked out a system of one beep for “no” and two beeps for “yes” for telephone calls, but eventually my speech returned.

A few years later, it happened again. Four and a half months of writing notes, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office—at the bank, never knowing if I would speak again.

A speech therapist at the University of New Mexico assured me that I would speak again, and that day I made the first sound in months. Muscle Tension Dysphonia was defeated by simple exercises, and I could speak normally once again. The nuances of speech should not be underestimated. I will never take words for granted after my experiences without a voice.

However, the written word has a power to communicate what we cannot always speak. It enables us to write love letters, and advocate for political, moral, and spiritual change. There is a reason that Scripture identifies Jesus as the Word. He is the method God chose to speak to the world.

There is power in words. Use them well. Use them for good. Use them for the Lord. Make yourself heard. It is a gift.

© Copyright October 2014, Norma Gail Thurston Holtman

About the author:
Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico released in April 2014. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 19 years. Her devotionals, poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.

Contact Norma:

Book Links:


  1. Thanks for your post and the reminder about the gift of words. How terrifying it must have been to lose your voice and not know when it would return.

  2. Beautiful but scary post and a wonderful reminder to never take any of abilities for granted. TG for restoration!

    1. Yes, I thank God frequently for the gift of speech! Thanks for commenting!

  3. wow not being able to talk. I have had laryngitis a couple of times and found that to be frustrating even though my family liked it lol. Cannot even fathom longer than a couple of days. I loved the recovery.

  4. That must have been scary! I had my jaws wired after a surgery and couldn't speak for a while. I learned the power of simple affection as a communication tool.