Jo-Ann's Testimony: Finding Healing from Fears

The next guest post in my series of testimonies about God at work in everyday lives,
comes courtesy of fellow blogger Jo-Ann of simplification. Thanks for sharing, Jo-Ann!

“Before I could find my voice as a writer, I fought for my voice, period.
A voice is not a given; words don’t come easy. Both are worth fighting for.”
- Scott Hartman

Words are beautiful. I love words. They string together the little pieces of our lives and connect us with the hearts and minds of others we encounter upon our road of life. But there was a time when words didn't come easily for me. My voice was trapped inside a dark pit of gloomy despair and fear. I fought for my voice, period.

I was born into a wonderful Christian family. I don't think I could have had a more wonderful childhood. When I was two, we were joined by my only sibling, a brother. I loved being a big sister. A year later my mother went back into full-time work. My brother and I were cared for by a nanny during the day until my mother got home from work.

Shortly after my mother's return to work, I stopped talking. Not at home, there I was still a chatty toddler with an excellent vocabulary and expressive outbursts of joy and laughter. But in situations outside of home, I became extremely reserved and shy. I hated going out. I hated interacting with people. Social situations began to scare me. I developed an irrational fear of being left on my own and I became like velco to either one of my parents.

Over the following years, I was pretty much mute. I didn't speak to almost anyone outside of my immediate family. There were a few exceptions but not many. As traumatic an experience this was for me, my parents struggled deeply with my affliction. They urged me to talk, even just to say hello. I agonized with this, wanting to please my parents and wanting to be able to talk to people. But when the time came to open my mouth, fear would wrap its little tendrils around my heart and no words could come out. I feared even the possibility of someone hearing me when I could not speak to them in person and rarely uttered a sound in public.

In spite of this, I was a very happy child. I had friends, some that I spoke with and others that I didn't. When I was thirteen, we had friends who went overseas for two weeks and their children stayed with us. It was too long and too hard to be able not to talk at all and one day I just blurted something out and began to talk. They were shocked. From that moment, it became easier. There were lots of things that made it easier after a while but that was the breakthrough moment for me.

Since then, I found out that the medical explanation for this is called selective mutism. It's recognized as an anxiety disorder which occurs predominantly in the early childhood years. It's quite rare and there is no proven method of treatment.

I had always just assumed that I was the only one who had experienced this. But about a year ago, I saw a television documentary about selective mutism and as I watched it, I cried. I saw myself. The scared child who wanted so much to be able to speak freely but trapped in a hole that was too hard to dig themselves out of.

From the moment since my breakthrough, Jesus had already begun to heal me. But as those tears came, God bound up the wounds that still lay hidden in the deepest corners of my heart. The insecurities, the uncertainties, the fears, the hurts. It was like the last of the dirt was washed away from everything I had carried through the ordeal.

His healing brought purpose to my experiences. They did not define me, they were not meant to break me or be a dark shadow in my past. They were meant for good. For out of my once mute mouth, I speak of what God has done for me. It was worth the fight.


This is a guest post by Jo-Ann, who blogs at simplification. Jo-Ann is a newly graduated teacher who loves the big things in life and the small things even more. She enjoys walking her dog, finding a good book to bury her nose into, playing the ukulele and drinking tea out of lovely cups. She calls New Zealand home.


P.S. If you're interested in submitting a guest post testimony to be featured on Life Blessons, please visit the original post for details!

3 comments:

  1. What a cool story. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is such an awesome testimony. So inspired.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great story, definitely inspiring :)

    ReplyDelete

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