Our Family as Pioneers in Nauvoo:)The regular children's music leader stayed home with sick children this past Sunday, so I had the opportunity to do singing time with all of the beautiful children at church. Oh I had so much fun! They sang with pure joy in their faces and voices. I sang louder and louder, and they did too!! We giggled together and sang praises together. I was overjoyed that my voice was actually letting me sing with them without straining at all. The quality of my voice comes and goes, but it is definitely improving from what it used to be. As I sang, I was reminded of my precious Nauvoo miracle from this Summer.
Our family was chosen to go to Nauvoo, IL at the end of July to be a part of the Nauvoo Pageant for 2 weeks. The 1st week we were in charge of teaching the guests how to play the pioneer games before the show, and we sang on stage only at the finale. The 2nd week, we had the opportunity to be in the entire show-singing, dancing, and performing as a family! Even our baby was in my arms as I danced on stage! We dressed in pioneer clothes the entire time and shared our testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with all who would listen. Our entire family was thrilled for this opportunity and tried hard to prepare ourselves both spiritually and physically.
The Bishop of our church gave each member of our family a blessing before we left and a "setting apart" to serve as official representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Each blessing was very special. My children said they felt a warm burning in their hearts while receiving their blessings. Then he got to mine....
In my blessing, he said I would sing in the Nauvoo Pageant. I was shocked!! I hadn't sang in 3 years, and my voice was worse than it had ever been!
Me? Sing? I had damaged my voice while teaching gymnastics to 75 children out of my home and coaching basketball. Along with homeschooling my 6 children and speaking all day long, my voice was continually strained, and it never got a chance to heal.
I hadn't been able to sing to my children on their birthdays, in church, or at bedtime for years. When we had our Family Home Evenings, which is a special time for us to sing, learn, and play together as a family, I could only smile while all the others sang. I missed singing with them so much. I wanted this miracle so badly; but I had been raspy for so long, I didn't know how it would be possible.
Worried about my continually raspy voice, my ENT took a biopsy on my vocal chords to check for cancer, and he also did a surgical procedure to remove some pretty large growths at the same time. My sister had died of cancer in the general area, so I was worried. The test results returned. There was no cancer present, but my vocal chords were very damaged from the surgery. I couldn't speak a word for several days and only with a lot of strain and weakness after that.
After such a recent surgery so traumatizing to my vocal chords, I couldn't believe my Bishop was saying that I would sing again so soon.
I told a couple of people when we arrived at Nauvoo about my promise to be able to sing; but up to that point, I could hardly squeak out a note. The whole 1st week passed, and we were on our way to our official dress rehearsal to perform in front of an actual audience. One of the people I had talked to about my Bishop's blessing asked me if I had been able to sing yet. Disappointed, I told her I still couldn't sing, but that I would continue to mouth the words while everyone else sang. I missed pouring my heart out in voice, but I tried to still be positive.
We went on stage just as we had rehearsed, and I couldn't believe it!! I started to sing, and my voice broke through clearly. I was singing!!! Was that really me? Was that really my voice? I looked over at my husband who was also singing beside me. I smiled the biggest, cheesiest smile in the world; he just smiled back just as cheesy. I thought he heard me, and that he was just as overjoyed as I was. Apparently, because everyone was singing so loud around us, he couldn't hear my voice, he just thought I was giving him the signal to smile more.:):) So there we were, the two pioneers with the biggest smiles on stage, but only I knew why my smile was extra exuberant.
After the show, I was still in awe. Had I really just sang? Did I imagine it? Would the gift go away once I left the stage? I found a quiet spot outside backstage. My children were chatting with each other and had their chairs in a circle a few feet away from me. I quietly began to sing my favorite children's song, "I am a Child of God." I hadn't been able to sing that song in 3 years, and I was actually singing it. My children, who had been praying constantly for my voice to return, stopped chatting immediately. So sweetly and quickly they turned to me and said, "Mommy, you're voice is so beautiful. You're singing!!!!"
Then, they all rushed over to me and hugged me. They had waited for this moment just as I had waited.
I couldn't believe God had just given me such a clear, perfect miracle!! One moment I couldn't sing, and the next moment I could- just as our Bishop had promised. I had even lost faith for just a moment that it would happen, but God blessed me anyway because HIS love for us is just that great.