RSS Feed

Tag Archives: overcoming stuttering

What Do You Remember?

A 2016 research study has shown that children exposed to trauma don’t forget it, as previously believed. In an attempt to suppress these painful experiences, these individuals engage in denial as a defense mechanism. These findings peaked my interest as I blocked out most of second grade. While writing a paper for Childhood Development in college, I had to interview my parents about my behavior as a child. As I asked my mother a series of question, I began to realize why I tried to conceal these memories. My stuttering had become so severe that even my own mother regularly couldn’t understand what I was trying to say.

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! – Psalm 25:7

When my father was transferred to Delaware a year later, this move was a blessing in disguise. The neighborhood in north Wilmington, Delaware that I called home until college was amazing. While some friends like Brad moved away a few years after I arrived, Jeanette, Steven and Richie helped make this a smooth transition. Although I still battled spouts of stammering and stuttering, this community became like an extended family. Every summer I couldn’t wait to get up so that I could play outside until dark. On rainy days, Atari and epic games of Monopoly passed the time. These interactions in North Minister fueled my love for competition and sports.

Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people, Nehemiah 5:19.

While fond memories from your past are nice to cling to, the Bible reveals what individuals should remember. The Psalmist writes a prayer for change, seeking to forget the wayward decisions of their past. Meanwhile, a servant of the king pleads that God remembers only the good that he has done. The apostle Paul reveals God’s ultimate Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Once the perfect lamb of God (Jesus) died on a cross for our sins and rose from the dead, God no longer sees our imperfections. Thus, this is what our heavenly father wants individuals to remember while residing on earth.

by Jay Mankus

A Man of Few Words

Bitterness, covetous, discontent, envy and resentment are words associated with jealousy.  A day doesn’t pass without me envious of individuals blessed with a great personality.  Some people are never at a loss with words, always knowing what to say and when.  Although I spent a decade teaching high school students, day to day conversions have never come easy for me.  While I may a desire to be the life of the party, I am normally a man of few words.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer, Psalm 19:14.

Perhaps, this loss for words goes back to my childhood, born with a severe speech impediment.  Beside being teased, the act of opening my mouth was an adventure.  I never knew when I was going to stutter, but when I started I couldn’t verbalize a coherent word.  These experiences led me to shy away from talking, afraid of another stuttering spasm that often triggered me to hyperventilate.  This embarrassing past has influenced me to become a man of few words.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, Colossians 3:17.

Yet, one man’s weakness has yielded a hidden treasure.  Instead of speaking, the Lord had another plan for my life.  With a few mentors in high school who just happened to be teachers, a seed was planted for the love of communicating.  As the years past, poetry led to short stories and song writing.  From here, doors opened to publish a monthly news letter which led to a staff writer position.  As words continued to flow from within, a man who spoke few words can’t stop thinking of new topics to write about daily.  Thus, as I post my 2700th blog today, I have come to terms with my own limitations.  It’s okay to be a man of few words as long as I Express Myself for God.

by Jay Mankus

The Shell Game

The Shell Game is symbolic of three stages in life: early childhood development, reaching your prime and going through a mid-life crisis.  As a child, a lack of confidence, fear and insecurities cause many young people to hide who they really are.  When afraid, frightened or threatened, most turtles seek shelter under their shell, disappearing and hiding underneath until its safe to come out.  Likewise, human beings possess a similar defense mechanism, withdrawing from society until assurance, confidence and hope is restored.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

In the early years, stuttering prevented me from ever expressing myself clearly as a child.  Being made fun of, mocked and teased was too much to endure.  These attacks against what I could not control led me to live a private life until my teenage years, participating in solitary play, imagining what it would be like for me to talk without stuttering.  After my dad was transferred from New Jersey to Delaware, a neighborhood of kids helped me come out of my proverbial shell.  Friends like Jeanette, Steven and Richie overlooked my stuttering, seeing a potential that no one else had prior.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

By the beginning of my senior year of high school, my faith in Christ, amazing friends and an unquenchable fire for life transformed me.  This one year served as a catalyst to do things I never imagined possible.  Despite periods of stammering, God inspired me to become a youth pastor, high school teacher and invest the prime of my life coaching, mentoring and sharing my faith with others.  During this fifteen year period, I was filled with unswerving faith that allowed me to experience the abundant life, witness miracles and experience a spiritual awakening within Columbus, Indiana.  Unfortunately, at some point in the last fifteen years, I have reverted back to playing the shell game, trying to hide the person that I have become.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

At some point in life, whether you call it a mid-life crisis or the painful reality that you’re not the same person that you use to be, this fact is hard to swallow.  Recently, I have tried to go back in time, to see where I went wrong.  When you don’t have the energy, drive or passion anymore, its hard to make progress or fix the flaws that are obviously present in my life.  What makes matters worse is seeing a shell of the person that you used to be and feel powerless to alter, change or repair the damage done.  If you reach this stage in life like me, Jesus is the only one who can mend your pain.  While restoration is a long process with bumps along the way, Jesus is like Med-Express, available at any time you need medical and spiritual attention.  As this endless shell games presses on, reach out to Jesus, who will hold your hand through the storms of life.  May this blog comfort your soul as you endure the good, the bad and the ugly in the shell game called life.

by Jay Mankus

Ephphatha: A Prayer to Heal Stuttering

Whenever I come in contact with an individual born with a speech impediment or stuttering, I cringe.  When encountering a stranger or someone I know who struggles to get words out of their mouths, I feel utterly helpless.  As a former stutterer, every condition and degree varies from person to person.  While I want everyone to be healed, I have been unable to intervene until know.

They brought to Him a man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him, Mark 7:32.

Prior to completing his gospel, John Mark a member of the apostle Paul’s ministry team either interviewed or spoke with an eyewitness to one of Jesus’ many miracles.  Known as Mark to avoid being confused with the disciple with the same name, this gospel contains a prayer spoken by Jesus.  Although the man in this passage was deaf and mute, the word Ephphatha can be used as to prayer to heal stuttering.

Jesus, taking him aside by himself, away from the crowd, put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue [with the saliva]; 34 and looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which [in Aramaic] means, “Be opened and released!” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he began speaking plainly, Mark 7:33-35.

To avoid setting desperate people up for failure, there are multiple variables that cause people to stutter.  For some its a medical condition, others stutter due to nerves or a lack of air that lead to shortness of breath.  According to the Bible, demons and unclean spirits have the power to cease or constrict one’s ability to verbalize thoughts or feelings.  Meanwhile, doubt, a lack of faith and unbelief cause many to stammer and stutter for a lifetime.

Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solenly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:21-22.

Prior to being healed of stuttering during my final full year of college, Christian friends questioned my faith whenever I stuttered.  While my roommates and a church friend laid hands on me, claiming Ephphatha, my healing was gradual, not immediate.  Even now when I stray from God, spouts of stuttering return until I draw near the Lord again.  I want to share my testimony to give the defeated a glimpse of hope for the future.  I’m not sure why God choose to heal me, but I believe faith, godly friends and the power of God to open and release tongues via the Holy Spirit can serve as a prayer to heal stuttering.

by Jay Mankus

How Relevant are You?

I spent the majority of my years as a student in obscurity, afraid my stuttering would embarrass me in some way.  It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I began to become relevant, serving on student council, volunteering to help build the class float for homecoming and reaching out to individuals throughout the school.  Whether popularity makes you relevant or not, I came into my own as a human being, with the highlight turning my parents basement into a nightclub for one Christmas evening during my freshmen year of college.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? – James 2:14

In the years that followed, inconsistency is the best term that describes my life.  I had my moments in the spot light, playing sand volleyball at Geauga Lake in its hey day, serving as a journalist for Travel Golf Media and store manager of Michael Jordan Golf at O’Hare International Airport.  However, I consider these personal accomplishments, not something that makes you relevant.  The best way to explain relevance is by quoting Larry the Cable Guy, ” get ur done!”  Yet, what if you invest your time and energy into things that are trivial?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead, James 2:17.

From an eternal perspective, my most relevant year was 1993.  I spent the first portion at a youth ministry trade school called Tentmaker’s, fine tuning my spiritual gifts.  The next three months involved applying this new found knowledge as a counselor and teacher at a boarding school for career underachieving junior high students.  The final six months of 93 were my finest, serving as a youth pastor in Columbus, Indiana.  These days were the epitome of relevance, meeting my wife to be in the final month of this year.  Yet, for now, I struggle to find relevance, distracted by the stress of life.  Although its nice to reminisce from time to time, its never to late to become relevant again.  May we all strive to find our place in this world so that our deeds, faith and work will not be done in vain.

by Jay Mankus

Spirits that Can Rob Your Speech

The paranormal was always something left for Hollywood, displayed through horror movies when I grew up.  Maybe  I was naive, but I believed the spiritual realm was simply a fantasy, too bizarre to be true.  However, the older I become, I am beginning to open my mind to the reality of a dark, invisible and sinister power working behind the scene to strip individuals of freedom.

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech, Mark 9:17.

Jesus’ disciples experienced a similar event which challenged their belief system.  After initial success in healing people in need, an evil spirit halted their ability to heal a boy.  Dumbfounded, the disciples appear to have reached out to the Pharisees to get their thoughts.  Finally, Jesus arrives onto the scene to straighten out their misconception, explaining that certain demons require prayer to be cast out.  This was the missing link for this boy to regain his speech, robbed from an early age.

“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” Mark 9:22.

Today, more than 70 million people worldwide suffer with stammering or stuttering.  Every day more than three million Americans wake up not knowing if or when they will stutter.  As someone who struggled to express myself until I was healed in college, I understand what I feels like to be robbed of your speech.  Though I’m not a doctor, I believe conditions vary, based on medical issues, a lack of confidence and spirits of doubt.  I’m not sure why God choose to heal me, yet I pray for those who are currently fighting against spirits trying to rob souls of their speech.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: