What I Did When I Lost My Voice in the Wilderness

Over the past several months, I’ve posted short articles I wrote during my year as a reader-columnist for my local newspaper’s faith section. Writing those 450-word columns rekindled my love for a perfectly turned phrase, and it also paved the way for what would become my next project: this blog. The following post is the last of these columns; it originally appeared in the Kansas City Star.

yellow flowers

Four hundred fifty words.

That’s how long this column is supposed to be. It doesn’t sound like much, not for someone who once made her living as a newspaper reporter.

Writing has always come naturally to me. Besides influencing my career choices, it’s how I best express my faith and articulate God’s presence in my life.

No, 450 words has never been much to me—except when I couldn’t write at all.

Somewhere, in the midst of my hormonally challenged mid-30s, I lost my voice, literarily. For about seven years, I felt like I was wandering around in a wilderness, unable to focus on any kind of writing except an occasional press release for my church. I’d always planned to revise a book I had written about infertility for a broader audience. But every time I thought about starting this project, I could barely breathe.

Although I tried to be OK with this long drought of the soul, I often wondered when it would end and if I would ever write anything meaningful again. Through this time, one thing that kept me going was my desperate conviction that I would be able to write about what I was experiencing some day, and that it would be of help to someone else.

That, and prayer.

Day after day, I talked to God via computer keyboard. I have countless files of rambling prayers nobody will ever read, probably not even me. But through that dry time, they were my oxygen.

I didn’t do this every day, and there were stretches of time when I didn’t do it at all. But after awhile, I was always drawn back to the computer, the one place where I could pour out my heart and know my heavenly Father was listening.

I’d sit down at my desk, exhausted, anxious, overwhelmed. I’d cast my burdens on him, one by one. I’d remind him, over and over, that apart from him I can do nothing. I clung tightly to the promise of Psalm 138:8, that the Lord would fulfill his purpose for me, even if I had no idea what that purpose might be.

Now, thankfully, the fog has lifted. For maybe the first time ever, I’m actually finding joy in writing. These 450-word columns are flowing rather easily, and that book I planned to revise? I’m working on it now, but it looks much different than I originally imagined.

My heart has changed, and, with it, my writing voice. I’m far less confident in my own abilities, and far more dependent on the One who gave me those abilities. That, I hope, will make for a much more useful story, however long it turns out to be.

Lois Flowers

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Katie Reid at #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.

14 Responses to What I Did When I Lost My Voice in the Wilderness

  1. Samantha says:

    It takes tremendous talent to describe faith so succinctly. And like many others have said before, in so glad you have found your voice. Blessed to be your neighbor from #TellHisStory.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks so much, Samantha. I suppose it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way since college, when I had to write a 10-page paper for my Bible doctrines class and turned in 17 pages instead! So glad you stopped by today!

  2. Thrilled you have found your sweet spot with God and the work He has for you. The wilderness is ugly when we’re in it, but I have found the best words are the ones we fight for, the ones that come after the dark. Thank you for bringing your story into the light. Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Christina, I totally agree. The words that have come since that season passed are some of the most transparent I’ve ever written, which I guess is why they are bringing such joy to my heart! I’m so glad you stopped by today …

  3. Christi Gee says:

    Lois, I signed up so I would get your words in my inbox and then I kept “taking” and never getting back over her to “give” and let you know how blessed I am by you.

    And this. Girlfriend. I know this route called the Wilderness well and words through it? Non-existent for a while!

    “I’m far less confident in my own abilities, and far more dependent on the One who gave me those abilities.” ~ Yes, praise, Jesus! On the other side, that’s where I am also. We resonate with each other for a reason and I am so incredibly blessed by you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Christi, I’ve been meaning to comment on various posts of yours for weeks but the busyness of summer keeps interfering with my thought processes! (That, and the weather. I actually starting writing a comment once… I think it was about your daughter Makenna’s blog… when a thunderstorm knocked out the power and it stayed off for five or six hours.) Anyway, I was delighted to see your name and read your sweet words here. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has ever lost my words in the wilderness. Looking back, I can see it was by God’s design. But that’s another story for another blog post! Have a wonderful day!

  4. Joyce Godwin says:

    Beautiful, Lois! I’m so pleased we’re back in contact!

  5. What a sweet way to pour out your heart to God – even though no one else will ever read it, I bet there are some great words there between Him and you. Thanks for sharing your journey and I’m so glad that you found your voice – and that you share it with us. Blessings, Lois – cheering you on from the #raralinkup

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thank you for your sweet words, Tiffany. During those wilderness prayer times, I would often find myself starting out with heavy burdens and ending with a joyful heart. That’s part of the beauty of prayer, don’t you think?

  6. Linda Stoll says:

    I love that you’ve found your voice again, Lois. And that somehow I was able to meet you in recent months.

    Beautiful words here.

  7. Hi Lois- Thank you for sharing your voice here and for linking this post up with the #RaRaLinkup. Yes, this, “I’m far less confident in my own abilities, and far more dependent on the One who gave me those abilities.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *