Her stutter was a lightning rod for abuse. Could church be the answer to her prayers?
I sat in church, the pastor’s words a blur of sound. I knew I should be listening, but instead I wondered what was waiting for me at home. Sunday dinner was the one meal all week when my family sat down together, and that meant facing my father. He’d usually get drunk, and that meant a whole meal of him humiliating me. Especially because of my stutter. I was ten years old, and had done nothing to deserve my father’s scorn.
Even trying to keep my sentences short, I always got caught up on the first few syllables as I tried to get out the words. My mother and older sister stayed quiet during our father’s outbursts. They were afraid themselves of inviting his ridicule.
The Methodist church wasn’t far from our house. I had walked there alone, hoping that Heavenly Father could help. Was there really some way God could protect me? At least give me a way to avoid my father’s ridicule?
I’d sat through the entire service, but still hadn’t found any answers. Then we rose for the closing hymn.
The people around me began to sing. I looked in my hymnal, and began to sing along too. I heard my voice emerge loud and clear from my lips, seeming to rise above the voices around me. All at once, a thought hit me like a thunderbolt: You don’t stutter when you sing.
Walking home, I practiced speaking aloud, while I imagined a melody to go with each sentence. Sure enough, the words came out, crisp and clear.
At dinner that evening, I summoned the courage to speak. “It was such a pretty day today,” I said to my mother, no stutter at all.
Never again did I stutter at the dinner table. I’ve moved on from my difficult childhood, and all these years later, I’m still singing words of praise for the Lord that helped me do it.