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Tag Archives: stuttering

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

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The Will to Move On

When I was sixteen, a doctor told me I would never run again.  After tearing all the tendons in my left ankle, the bone twisted 90 degrees in the wrong direction.  The best case scenario given to me prior to my operation was that I would walk with a limp after placing a screw to hold this bone in place.  Despite the obstacles I faced, the prayers of the saints gave me the faith to move on.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; Mark 16:17.

By the time I reached my 21st birthday, stuttering was the next trial standing in my way of expressing myself verbally.  Attacks would come out of no where, causing me to lose my breath and confidence to speak.  One evening, a college roommate named Mike had a vision as I walked into our apartment.  Hanging out with a few believers from church, a circle engulfed me as these men began to lay hands on me.  The prayers proclaimed pleaded with God to free me permanently from stuttering.  Subsequently, God gave me the will to persevere.

“While you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus,” Acts 4:30.

My latest dilemma may be my greatest to date, a bout with glaucoma.  Once again, the odds are not on my side nor is science in my favor.  Yet, I serve a God who has raised the dead, cured the sick and given sight to the blind.  The mystery of the unknown will be tough to handle.  Nonetheless, I trust in a living God who has performed miracles in the past.  Therefore, I stand in awe, leaning on God’s grace who provides the will to move on.

by Jay Mankus

 

Feelings Only Tell Half the Story

Emotion, passion and sentiment is not always visible within individuals.  While some people may wear their feelings on their sleeves like an intense roller coaster ride, others remain reserved, hiding pain on the inside.  During my sophomore year of high school, a friend from cross country punched me in the arm, near my shoulder blade every time I saw him.  This reaction only told half the story.  This gesture released the frustration inside his heart as he helplessly watched his mother lose a year long battle with cancer.  After her funeral, Carl became my best friend at Concord High.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

This friendship coincided with my own decision to trust Jesus as my Savior.  Following this decision on December 4th, 1984, I began to break out of my own depression due to a losing battle with stuttering.  My transformation wasn’t immediately, but as I began to attend monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ meetings, I discovered I wasn’t alone in facing demons from my past.  No matter who you are and where you live, there will always be cycles of ups and downs.  Yet, faith stabilizes broken and weary souls and when you enter into accountability relationships, this strengthens one’s ability to develop a firm foundation.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.

As I reflect upon the past 30 plus years, feelings tend to reveal a part of my past that I haven’t fully let go of, hoping to still remain in control.  Depending upon the year or in some cases decade, its easy to regress, slipping back into former habits of the flesh.  This is where the power of testimonies take faith to the next level.  God has given me opportunities to share my faith from time to time.  Unfortunately, many of these chances were neglected, overlooked or wasted.  Nonetheless, I’m thankful for the few I made the most of, especially during a church service in Friendship, Maryland when I gave my first ever sermon.  Don’t let troubles in life rain on the open doors that the Lord provides.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Heroes Journey

In 1949, the concept of the Heroes Journey was introduced by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  While this narrative pattern commonly appears in films, this outline can also be found in mythology, psychology and religion.  Campbell’s outline involves 12 stages which takes a character from the ordinary world to the special world and back.

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things, Hebrews 13:8.

The reason why people watch the same movies year after year is that the heroes journey enables individuals to identify with certain actors and actresses.  As fictional characters reveal their flaws, imperfections and weaknesses, people can relate to similar trials in their own life.  Subsequently, deep down inside viewers root for their favorites to reach to top of the mountain after facing adversity.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness, Romans 12:6-8.

For someone who struggled with stuttering the first 20 years of my life, I always knew what I wanted to say, but rarely expressed what was in my heart and mind.  As an amateur screen writer, the Heroes Journey provides a valuable resource to make my aspirations come true.  However, before I proceed, I must study these 12 stages like trying to ace a test.  Once I fully grasp the Heroes Journey, I can begin to craft films that may one day end up on your favorites list.  Until then, I need to keep plugging away with an unyielding resolve to make my dreams come true.

by Jay Mankus

 

Speechless

The 2010 film the King’s Speech is based upon a true story.  As Hitler’s popularity grew during World War II, King George VI struggled to find his voice.  Battling with stuttering throughout his life, this movie details the king’s progress with a speech therapist.  When England needed a voice, this once speechless king overcame his fears to lead a nation.

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone, Acts 9:7.

Individuals blessed with the gift of conversation probably can’t relate to those inflicted with speech impediments.   On the other hand, people who tend to be shy do not possess the desire and energy to speak for an extended period of time.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, there will be moments of silence.  Times when even the most outgoing individuals become speechless.

For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything, Acts 9:9.

Looking back at my own life, I find that trials usually shut me down for a while.   Whether its confusion, shock or uncertainty, it may take some time to sort things out.  The sooner I can make sense of turmoil, the quicker my life returns to normal.  Yet, life isn’t always fair, presenting difficulties that may push you beyond reason.  Thus, as you battle periods of depression in life, hold on to a God who has a track record of transforming lives.

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

 

Strangely Wrapped Gifts

My first gift in life was a severe speech impediment.  Whether you want to call it stammering or stuttering, either way I had a difficult time communicating.  Each time I opened my mouth, I never knew if hot air or words would come out.  Despite the frustration and pain, when I opened this box, inside I discovered an ability to express myself through writing.

At the pinnacle of my athletic career, the second strange present arrived in the form of reconstructive surgery.  Although a state championship in cross country was in my reach, God had other plans.  Watching from the sidelines on crutches, my team fell a few points short, stealing my only chance for a title.  Beyond this disappointment, an likely blessing came my way, standing on a podium of praise following a 3rd place finish in the 200 Individual Medley Relay.

The final gift came in waves, as a series of broken relationships.  I’m not sure if I was to blame or if fate had another destiny.  Regardless of the circumstances, this lack of connection brought me to my knees.  Humility, loneliness and spiritual isolation wasn’t a pleasant thing to unwrap.  Nonetheless, all these things occurred for a reason, 1 Peter 1:6–7.  Today, strangely wrapped gifts come in many shapes and sizes.  However, these life events are necessary to fulfill the words of Romans 8:38-39, developing a close bond to an unseen God and Savior.

by Jay Mankus