Stuttering may affect how I speak sometimes, but I am slowly learning that it never has to affect how I love. My struggles with speech have forced me to learn how to love with my actions more, especially when words completely fail. This very personal side of stuttering that affects my relationships and interactions with others is by far one of the most difficult things to cope with. Sometimes even the best speaking techniques do not help. In those situations, I often think to myself, “How can I still consistently show Christ-like love to others, without necessarily using words?”
This is a question that I do not believe I would be asking myself today if I did not stutter. Stuttering has turned my view of love inside-out and upside-down; and I am very grateful for that.
I am learning that love is not limited to what we say; love is also evidenced in what we do and in how we carry ourselves. Love in action may take on so many different forms~a smile, a hug, a kind look, simple acts of courtesy, and the list goes on and on. As children of God, our countenance alone can exude the love of Christ and shine a light on a dark world. Despite what we may see in the movies, love is not just about saying “I love you.” Love is more about showing someone that you love them with your actions. Love without action is not love at all.
On the days when my words cannot fully express my heart, I am left searching for some other way to make my voice heard. Imagine struggling to say something as simple as “Thank you for dinner” when someone pays for your meal. It is in these simple, everyday moments that I struggle most to express my love or gratitude to someone. In those moments, I try my best to say what I need to say; but if the words just won’t pass my lips, I turn to actions. Other times, I wait as long as needed until I am able to say it. I find some way to let that person know just how much I appreciate them and what they did for me.
It brings so much comfort to my heart to know that no matter how much I may stumble over my words sometimes, I can still love in action. I am determined to not let my stutter define how I love the people in my life. In fact, I am praying that God would help me use my stutter to love people even more.
Of course, my stutter shouldn’t keep me from loving in word either. I must remember that even if my message is delivered a little differently, God can still use that message. The truth is, my desire to love needs to exceed my fear of stuttering. With God’s strength, I want to live fearlessly, never missing a single opportunity to show love.
Although it can be extremely frustrating living with a stutter, what it has taught me about love is a precious gift that I praise God for every single day. When words fail, all that I have left is action; and that is often an unexpected blessing.
much love, makenzie