Thursday, November 11, 2010

in His image

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. -Genesis 1:27

i remember sitting on my bedroom floor, rubbing my fingers between the carpet fibers – the soft, short threads somehow comforting me as i listened to my parents speak. we are going to enroll you in speech therapy, i heard my mother say. i remember looking up at my dad, his weak smile obviously forced, tears brimming in his eyes, threatening to cascade at any moment. because he shared in my struggle and knew the road ahead. thus, at eight years old, i began my struggle, which would eventually morph into a beautiful relationship, with communication. i am a stutterer. daily, i fight the battle of expression. saying my name, reciting a drive-through order, answering the phone, are all menial tasks i approach from a perspective different than most.

after that initial conversation with my parents, i entered into five years of speech therapy. i learned tricks that ranged from the simple—a rubber band around the wrist will remind you to speak slowly, to extreme—talking with marbles in your mouth for a week will help structure your tongue placement. i spent hours in the evenings thinking up fiction to tell my friends about where i went for the hour every day i was in speech class. communication, then, was a hindrance—something i had to do to survive, but the very act of which was utterly humiliating. writing became my hiding place. by the time i was 12, i had filled notebook after notebook with short stories, poems and songs. if i couldn’t express myself verbally the way i wanted, i could at least write it down. i finally realized the irony of this when i won a school-wide writing contest in middle school. the soon-to-be envy of my peers, i won the coveted prize of a trip to the local theme park, as well as a limousine ride. however, along with the prize, i had to read my paper over the intercom. i bowed out of the contest, gave the prize to the runner up, and told no one of my achievement. writing, i learned, may be a fantastic form of communication, but it cannot be a crutch. i was missing out by trying to avoid interaction. life is beautifully loud, and is not meant to be lived in silence, as much as i hoped it could.
           
i understand now what i could never be taught. for all her efforts, my speech teacher could never explain to me what i had to learn myself—that proper communication is vital to ensuring strong relationships, scholastic achievements, and work-related ventures. i majored in english and journalism as an undergraduate, stammering my way through speeches until they became second nature. for a part-time job in college, i threw myself into a job in corporate communications, volunteering to answer phones, plan events, and conduct phone interviews. overall, i embraced what i had once feared, and what i found was life changing. no one laughed at me when i took a little longer before starting a presentation. i was not taunted at restaurants when I requested sp-sp-sp-sp spaghetti instead of spaghetti. people are inherently good and worthy of being communicated with. in addition, my speech vastly improved when the element of apprehension was removed. i start grad school this spring at johns hopkins university. i'm majoring in commuication.
   
genesis 1:27 tells me i am made in the image of my Father. My holy, perfect awesome Father created me. flaws and all. that alone is enough for acceptance. i can embrace who i am because my Creator made me this way. but this battle also links me to my earthly father, who shares my struggle. daily he fights through it, just as i do. and if my stutter makes me like him, i couldn't be more proud.

dancing with dad at my wedding

11 comments:

Christi said...

What a wonderful post, Courtney. Thank you for sharing your struggle -- and all the beauty you've come to learn through battling it -- with us.

Tunes & Spoons said...

Wow. I just cried tonight as I have read this. You are truly and inspiring woman. I am so proud of you for how you took your struggle and turned it in to something truly beautiful. I am so impressed with your story and I hope you know that your writing is such a beautiful talent. I am thankful tonight for having read this. You were such a beautiful bride and you look completely elated in the arms of your father. I think God has a great purpose for you with writing and sharing your story. Thank you for this.

Peaches said...

Oh my goodness this is an inspiring and uplifting post. Thanks for sharing your journey. I think you are a great writer. You seem like such a beautiful person, good luck with grad school.

vintch said...

thank you, friends. this post was bathed in prayer and certainly came from a higher voice than mine. your encouragement is priceless:)

Emily said...

Love your blog! Great to see someones who's not ashamed of their faith!

http://fashionjerseygirl.blogspot.com/

Ana* said...

What a wonderful inspiring story!!!
I am going to email this to some of my friends, a story like yours is worth telling...

vintch said...

thank you, ana, for your sweet encouragement. and please, share on! i hoped my story could inspire someone, and i am thankful for the chance to tell it on here.;)

Signe said...

aaw, what an amazing and inspiring story, I got the chills reading it!
and I love that image of you and your dad, it is fantastic :)

charla beth said...

i loved this so much. your transparency is beautiful.

and "flaws" can be such a beautiful thing, especially if they help us draw near to the One who loves us the most :)

Jennifer Rod said...

beautiful. and although you may have struggle speaking, God made up for it by giving you an amazing gift of communicating in writing... thank you for all the inspiration you pour to your readers.

katie [the bright life] said...

Okay, I'm near-crying at my desk at work! This post is so wonderful. I love how God can bring us through our fears in a way that we never thought possible. What an awesome story. Xo, Katie

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