“Slow of speech doesn’t mean slow of mind.”
I stuttered as a child and I remember the frustration of a brain that was brimming with ideas and words, yet was burdened with a tongue that refused to obey. I would be desperately trying to share something with my mom or dad and my lips would stall. My parents patient admonition to “Slow down, sis” would force me to take a deep breath but it didn’t help the words flow any easier. The only thing that helped was to sing. It was a strange remedy…the same sounds and letters that tripped when spoken would flow like honey when sung. Songs from Annie, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music became my escape.
In my brand new novel All Through the Night, the heroine Cadence Piper has stuttered since childhood. When a phrenologist tells her father she has a mental deficiency, Cadence lives to prove to her father, and herself, that the doctor is wrong. She applies to be a nurse at the onset of the Civil War but is turned away by Dorothea Dix because of her youth and pretty face. Cadence finds another way to serve…singing to the wounded soldiers at Judiciary Square Hospital. As the demand for her singing ability grows, Cadence is slowly able to see how much of her life she has lived trying to seek her father’s approval.
Singing is a common escape for stutterers. Carly Simon, B.B. King, Emily Blunt, Chris Martin, and Elvis Presley all found freedom in music. Ironically enough, the very thing that caused them to seek a way to express themselves became the thing that brought them fame and acclaim. Take, for instance, Rowan Atkinson. This beloved comedian was bullied as a child for his stutter but discovered he could hide it by playing quirky characters on stage. Hence, his most famous character was born…the mostly silent Mr. Bean. When Mr. Bean did have dialogue, Atkinson managed his stutter by integrating it into his acting by over articulating certain sounds to overcome difficult consonants. Over time, he learned to manage most of his stuttering, but it almost completely disappears when he’s on camera.
Don’t shy away from those hard things in your life, thinking “God can’t use me because ____________.” Sometimes our greatest pain can become our greatest ministry. Our deepest weakness can become the very thing God will use to show Himself strong.
P.S. Here is a list of other famous stutterers:
James Earl Jones
Samuel L Jackson
My thanks to The Stuttering Foundation for the great information. www.stutteringhelp.org
To order All Through the Night, go to www.TaraJohnsonStories.com
With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.
Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.
Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?