Life On A Canvas
A Blog by Dorila Balsamo

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Called to Speak


When you think about the word speak, it can be thought of in many different ways. Speak as when you learn to speak, naturally speak or have to speak. But when you're traumatized, you are then called to speak. Called as in "cry out".


It was the summer before my daughter started ninth grade. She had her summer reading to do and had to choose a couple of books. Being the careful mom I am in making sure she's reading good material, I looked through her options. I had picked one that seemed like a good read. The book was called "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. It was about a high school girl named Melinda who was ostracized by her peers which led her to stop speaking until she found her voice to express the pain she endured. I checked the book out from the library and left it on the table for my daughter. As I sat there, I just happen to pick up the book, turned it to the back cover and read it. What I read shocked me! It left me feeling very emotional and I found myself saying... "I will not let her read this!" I shared it with my hubby John which then he read it and asked, "Why won't you let her read this?" My response was because this girl was raped, and I didn't like that. Then he said, "What is bothering you?" and I didn't know. John spoke to me about praying and asking God if He wants me to read this book. So, I did.


I realized this all happened because God was leading me to read this book even though I didn't completely understand but I knew what I had to do. You must understand I was not eager to pick up this book in excitement, I picked up this book knowing it was time. As I read through the pages, it started to bring to surface feelings I had buried and ignored for so long. I cried a lot and allowed God to speak to my heart during that time. The girl in the story took an art class and I was able to relate because I too took art. I know what it is to express yourself through what you created. I came across this portion of the book which read.... Mr. Freeman (art teacher who was speaking to Melinda): "You are getting better at this but it's not good enough. This looks like a tree, but it is an average, ordinary, everyday boring tree. Breathe life into it. Make it bend---trees are flexible, so they don't snap. Scar it, give it a twisted branch---perfect trees don't exist. Nothing is perfect. Flaws are interesting. Be the tree."


At that moment I knew God was speaking to me through the character of the art teacher because the words penetrated the very place I was hurting. During that time the Lord had already spoken to me about "breathing life" into those dead areas of my life. You see, years ago I was dating a guy who took me out one evening to a night club. The weird thing about it, it was early and no one was there except the bartender, but at the moment I didn't think nothing of it. He gave me a drink in which I had three. I drank that much before and never had a problem. The strange thing was I began to not feel well, not as in sick but not being able to function. I got into his car and that's all I remember. When I woke up, I knew what had happened was wrong but didn't know what to do. I just got dressed and left. After that night I stopped drinking and broke up with the guy. I buried it so deep which it became a "dead area" in my life until God dug it up through this story to "breathe life" into it.


This story took me back to the incident. I was able to relate to Melinda in so many ways which I knew God did it that way in order to bring to surface the emotions I had buried so deep. When you been hurt so much for so long you become callous to emotions. I taught myself not to feel in order to survive and God was making me feel through this story. The final thing I read which overflowed my heart with His love was.... "Melinda," Mr. Freeman says. "You're a good kid. I think you have a lot to say. I'd like to hear it." It was something I needed to hear that I was a good girl and it wasn't my fault. Only God knew how to awaken my deaden emotions so I can finally feel and release the pain. I was called to speak, and I finally spoke. It happened to be in front of my hubby John. I shared the whole thing with him and finally cried over it all. What a painful moment, but a necessary one.


Throughout my life I’ve dealt with deep sorrow not knowing why and there came a point when I was overwhelmed by it. Then God said something that changed the course of my life. I felt Him say “There’s nothing that Jesus didn’t die for to set you free from.” So, whatever long held hurt I had, Jesus died for that very thing to set me free of it. You see no one knows you better than Jesus Himself. He knows your deepest thoughts and buried pain. He knows how to get to those places you've buried and how to pull you out of them. Jesus is "a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand" (Isaiah 53:3 MSG) and He knows your sorrow and He's greater than your pain.


“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Psalms 34:18 NLT


Song: I Know by Big Daddy Weave

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