I think I’m learning something about identity, which weaves into calling which then becomes our legacy.

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I was supposed to lead worship  tonight at an event called Catalyst. It’s a conference for leaders about 3,500 strong in Southern California. Due to my voice I wasn’t able to make it. They asked me to write a letter to share what’s been happening to my voice and in my heart. Here it is….

-Phil

Let me start by saying how truly honored I am to have been asked to be a part of this gathering of leaders. My heart was full at the thought of lifting up a song of worship with you all, and having to bow out has been very frustrating to say the least.

While leading worship last weekend on a tour through New England, my vocal chords hit a wall. I felt a drastic change in my voice, and I knew something wasn’t right. It was like a guitar with broken strings. I knew where the notes should be, but they just weren’t there. We cancelled the following shows, and I had to wait several days until I could see a doctor and get some answers.

In the unknown of what was to come my reaction was one I wouldn’t have expected. I would have guessed fear, or frustration. Maybe even desperation. But it wasn’t those things. I felt lost.

I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice. My worth as a provider. My worth as a leader. My worth as a person. Though now it sounds a bit melodramatic, I sat silent alone in my hotel room that night wondering, “What am I worth without a voice?” “Who am I without it?”

After seeing a specialist this morning we found out there is an irregularity on my left vocal chord that was most likely caused from overuse. Thankfully, they believe we caught this early on enough that it can most likely be reversed without surgery. The only way to reverse it is total silence. No singing. No talking. The silence could be two weeks, two months, or longer.

So I’ve been quiet now since Saturday, and you can imagine how the last 5 days have pretty much been just a wild series of nods, shakes, and gestures. It’s amazing how difficult it is to get the salt passed in your direction when you can’t talk.

It’s also been a lot of listening. I’m starting to feel like I haven’t been listening enough because I feel like I’m hearing a lot more lately. The Lord has been speaking to me profoundly. I feel so at peace. So loved. Moments of fear are quenched with a thought of the cross. Moments of anxiety vanish in the whispers of His grace. And I am thankful for it.

In light of the theme of this conference it seems a strange coincidence that I would lose the very thing I wrap my identity around. And since I don’t really believe in coincidence then maybe there’s something more here to be said. I think I’m learning something about identity, which weaves into calling which then becomes our legacy.

I wonder if I have been finding my identity too much in the means and not enough in the end. I am learning that our biggest and brightest identity is one that we can’t ever lose. Voices, platforms, people, buildings, beauty, skills, relationships, Life… they can come and go. But our identity as a forgiven child of God, our identity as part of the redeemed bride of Christ. This our my capitol “I” Identity. This is the one that we will always have. This is the One that will define us forever. May we not define our worth by the praises of men, or the breadth of our influence. God defines our worth by running to us as he did the prodigal son, and wrapping us in His arms. And in this worth, in this identity we find our calling: to love Him who first loved us in such a way that it spills out of our hearts, lips, hands, and feet. In living out this calling, we have certainty that our legacy will be a joyous and eternal one. Amen!

I am now literally excited, like I’m on the edge of my seat to see what God is doing and watch what HE is going to do through this time. I humbly ask for your prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers of wisdom for the doctors. Prayers for my wife, Mallory, who has been a champion among champions in this whole situation, and for my two baby girls to help them understand why daddy can’t read them any books right now.

I love you all and pray from the bottom of my heart that God fans a flame in your soul to step into your identity, chase after your calling, and leave an eternal legacy for Him. May his Spirit fall fresh and powerful upon you all. Bringing light to dark places, and water to the dry places of your souls. Grace and peace! Amen!

126 thoughts on “I think I’m learning something about identity, which weaves into calling which then becomes our legacy.

  1. Sharon

    God can use anything to teach us a lesson. Having to be quiet and listen is quite the lesson! Kudos to you for realizing this and using it for God’s glory! Prayers going up for all of you.

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  2. Dan

    Phil I want to say thank you for this awesome letter. For different reasons I have had to lay down worship leading for a season and it has been more of a struggle of pride than anything I’ve ever dealt with in my life. I think sometimes God takes away the good things we care about most to get our attention back on Him. I’m thinking of how God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I pray for complete restoration to your vocal chords and that you would be touched deeply by this season of silence before the Lord. I

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  3. Marc Newton

    Phil we will keep you in prayer, haven’t seen you since Thrive. My new favorite song is Amazing Grace. Our God is our healer and he ‘s got your back! We will be at Joyce Meyers and it sounds like that could be a maybe for you. Be healed in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Newton’s, Marc and Pam

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  4. Charley

    As a 22 year old singer songwriter I have questioned and doubted that I am doing the right thing (that being on a stage and sharing my songs). The hardest thing a writer can go through is losing their voice. Till we realize God’s voice was trying to speak the entire time, even if we’re reading the bible everyday, we drown ourselves out

    I always come back to the story of Jesus asking Simon Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” Reading your blog just reminded me of this story again. Just about to release my EP next Saturday, scared of not succeeding, scared of not fulfilling my calling and what God wants me to do, I’m reminded that my identity doesn’t depend on my success or if people will sing along to my songs but it’s in Jesus’ success and leading listeners to Him. It’s a continual reevaluation of my heart. Do I love Jesus more? Yes. I do. It’s not about me, and like you said, “God defines our worth by running to us as he did the prodigal son, and wrapping us in His arms.”

    Thank you for encouraging me and for inspiring me to write for Jesus.
    -Charley

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  5. Silvia

    Amazing, amazing letter. Praying for your voice and just continual growth in your relationship with God!

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  6. J. Adkins

    Sounds very similar to what John Mayer went through. He pulled through. The difference, of course, is you literally house the Creator of vocal chords, and the healer of all diseases (Psalm 103:3).

    Awesome to see your heart and perspective even in trial. God will use the season I’m sure (the “meantime”), but you will be totally set free in Jesus’ name. Praying for you! God bless.

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  7. Cesar Lopez

    So blessed by your testimony Phil, I love what Christ is doing through you and it inspires me. Just wanted to share a little story. Before I got saved which was about 4 years ago, I used to listen to some of your songs, back then I had no interest in knowing who God was but I would always go back and play your CD!, It took me about 2 months to finally come to realize that I needed more than just a song to feel in peace, I needed Jesus!. To make my story a bit short, I started going to Church and my hunger to know More of God grew as the years passed. I walked into Church one time not too long ago and you were leading worship which brought so much joy on to my life!, you see, I always wanted to know what it felt like to worship God with you who spoke freedom to my life 4 years ago!. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!. Hope you get to read my letter personally and if you did, thank you for your time !.

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  8. Xiomara

    I am praying for with you tonight- for healing and for answers and of course for your family as well……. Trusting with you and praising God for already providing you that wise counselor that leads you to green pastures and into rest and peace in Him who is faithful. I praise Him that in fear you are able to turn to him and in doing so you encourage others who might be going through some dark valleys as well. You are a testimony and truly leaving a legacy.

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  9. MarySue

    Phil, Thank you for letting us know how to pray for you. Praying that God will reveal his will in your life at this time and that you will know what to LISTEN for as he speaks to you. Peace, comfort, and God’ strength to you In Christ’s name Amen.

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  10. Frances Flores

    Prayers going…some awesome songs will come from this season Phil… ….God be the Glory..Amen…

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  11. Rebecca Melody

    Phil,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! Prayers go out to you and your family as you journey through this difficult time. I am reminded of this scripture….”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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  12. Jean Amico

    There are some great augmentative communication apps for the ipad that will talk for you!! Welcome to the 20% of Americans who live with a disability. Praying for healing!

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  13. Raymond Torres

    Phil, thank you for being real to your supporters and God’s prayer warriors. How special a time when God requests your silence that He may lavish you with His voice. How effective the constant silent prayers for the church, the nations and your loved ones.

    May The Lord shake the nations and do miracles in the body of Christ and bring your whole family to Salvation and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    May The Lord bless you, keep you, comfort you and come alive in you even to your vocal cords in Jesus’ Name! I love you brother can’t wait to hear the new songs you’ll sing to The Lord.

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  14. Kelsey

    Thank you, so much.
    Right before I read this, I had been listening to Carry my Soul for…days. Haha.
    I’m a high school senior who just got rejected from my dream college — the college I’ve looked to for that determination to stay up one more hour to study, the college whom sweatshirt I wore to sleep, secretly hoping that would do a magic trick or something.
    So I’ve been struggling with my identity these last couple of days, and though i know that God is near and He is here, and that He loves me and all of this…the extent of this love, the infinite extent of this love, I had forgotten.
    But your words, “This is the one that we will always have. This is the One that will define us forever. May we not define our worth by the praises of men, or the breadth of our influence.” hit home.
    Thank you for your beautiful words. They make me cry.

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  15. Stevi

    Wow-in all seriousness your letter is so profound. So often it is easy to forget our true Identity (capital I) :] I will pray for you & your family-thank you for sharing so honestly. “So the Christian answer to suffering is acceptance. Through acceptance suffering bear spiritual fruit and even psychical and physical fruit as well. Resignation is passive. Acceptance is active. Resignation abandons the struggle against suffering. Acceptance strives without backsliding that also without rebellion. There is no greater testimony to the power of Christ than that which shines from the bed of a sick person who miraculously accepts suffering. There is no attitude more impossible for man–without being miraculous intervention of Christ–than the acceptance of suffering” -Paul Tournie

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  16. Erin

    Wow. I went through such a similar set of circumstances (beside the fact that, you know, I’m not a famous singer) while studying music therapy in college. It was extremely rough and I can only imagine the intensity of this trial for you right now. God faithful promised me full healing and is following through on His promise daily, and although I would never wish this upon anyone–as I’m sure you understand–it was profoundly powerful in shaping who I am, in showing me God’s abundant faithfulness and grace, and in teaching me to listen to Him as the only voice I need. Thank you so much for your words; they rock me to the core. They represent such an amazing truth to be woven so deeply into who we are. I’m in need of this message daily. Your excitement for how God will use this is not only encouraging but is absolutely warranted; I am positive that God will use this in an amazing way in your life for His glory and His purposes. Your life will be abundantly sweeter because of it. Praying for you! Your music blesses me daily and I know that God will never cease using the giftings He has given you.

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  17. TANN

    …honored to be able to join countless others in praying for you tonight at Catalyst! What a gift you are. Remember what I said. He’s the same healer today as he was yesterday. Hang in there and know you will get through it because he carries us every step of the way!:)

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  18. jane

    How very familiar your story is. My daughter went through the vocal nodes singing ban for 9 months. She did not have to be silent, but always quiet (which is why it took longer). She found that her image of herself was wrapped in what she did, and when she could not sing, she was separated from her friends, her hobby, and basically the life she knew. What a difficult time it was until a young lady in a singing group gave this same testamony in our church. What a blessing it was for my daughter to know others felt the same. She humbled herself and gave her voice to God- to take away or to bless. God has since lead my daughter to pursuit a career in worship ministry and her voice is stronger and fuller than before! PTL!

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  19. ruben

    hang in there Phil. God may heal you, he may not . . . but either way he’s got a plan. Mark Stuart from Audio Adrenaline lost his voice to spasmotic disphonia but God used him to head up and be a “voice” of the Hands and Feet Project an orphanage in haiti and produce music and several other things. hang on God’s got a plan.

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  20. Aaron

    May God touch your voice and bring healing and restoration. May He use this time of waiting to grow your faith and trust in Him.

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  21. Giovanni

    Sometimes as worshipers we ourselves also need to have quiet times to hear God louder than anything else. But the way you described it…it was beautiful !!! We pray that you recover quicker than any doctor has thought of. Jesus Blood still heals and I thank you for proclaiming this, not just with your songs, but with your life. There’s not a lot of worshipers who do that now days ! Thank You :)

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  22. mathew

    Mark 4:19
    “but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

    this in no way condemns, this shines a light on what is being choked spiritually. bind this ailment in the name of Jesus Christ and believe in the power of Jesus and his finished work, receive His word. satan comes to steal through the doorway of vanity, reject it and use the word of of God for healing and for sustanence

    when you pray, rebuke it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ

    “man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” praise the Lord Jesus Christ , and be healed

    Jesus Christ has redeemed you,remember that and walk in the power of knowing you are sealed in Him .God blessed you, and will continue

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  23. Maegan

    this was so encouraging to hear! definatly praying for you & your family. God is using this to bless you & other people in many ways. (: God bless you!

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  24. Jocelyn Groff

    Praying that you consider it all joy during this trial, and that endurance will have its perfect result in you. Also for healing (of course!) and for patience, strength, understanding for your wife and two little girls.

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  25. Elizabeth

    Continuing to pray….comfort and healing for you, support for the family, and an ever deepening revelation of HIS grace. May your voice return renewed, strengthened, and more intimately tuned to his divine plan…. After a similar episode with my voice last year, it returned better than ever with fresh perspective on worship in song.
    Keeping you in prayer,
    Elizabeth

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  26. Joan

    The most important thing about worship is our hearts. If your heart has been so captured by the Lord that you allow the Holy Spirit’s power and love to overflow, then that’s true worship. Our voice is an instrument of praise but what matters most is the One who receives our praise.

    Everything happens for a reason and I know the Lord has a purpose why He allowed this to happen to you. Just remain in faith. God bless you!

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  27. Edwin Mills

    Thank you for sharing!

    After recently reading your testimony sent by your web team, I discovered I’m going through very similar things. You’re a blessing to many and certainly and icon to me. Sometimes silence is needed to go to a level only silence can bring.

    Praying for you, family included,and your ministry all the way from Cape Town, South Africa

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  28. Chris Beaudoin

    Phil I am praying for you brother! I am a worship leader and have had the fear many times that I over-extended my vocal abilities in the midst of passionate worship. It’s a scary and frustrating situation. We sometimes take our voices for granted. I am praying for a quick recovery for you, and am also praying that you are able to go to deep places with the Lord that you have never been before. God bless you!

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  29. Kevin Jackson

    Phil, You, your family, ministry are all in my prayers… So thankful for you, your ministry and how the Lord is using you and your gifts to lead people to the throne…. Now, he is making you even stronger… I’m excited to see the outcome, He’s doing an incredible work in you my brother… These words will be flowing out loud from you soon to our Father again… I just know “There is no one like our God we will Praise You Praise You, There is no one like out God we will sing, we will sing… Yahweh Yahweh!! We love to Shout Your name Oh Lord!!
    Take Care and thank you for this encouraging letter….

    Kevin

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  30. Claude Prémont

    I think it’s human to believe that we are someone because of our job, our gifts, our voice, our money, etc. As you said, we often find our identity (and worth) through what we think is worthy. Wtih this trial, Mr. Wickham, you said you have found your true worth (and identify) through the work of Jesus Christ : He loved us so much that he died for us. In fact, for Him, it was worth it.
    Still praying for you
    Claude

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  31. Paula

    It is also no confidence my devotions have been dealing with the need to “Be still”
    And recognizing Jehovah Rapha – the Lod who heals you. Thank you for reminding us that it’s not about us. We are here to fulfill His purposes- to point others to Him. God is doing great things in you! Praying that He continue His work in you. <3
    Prayers also for your family.

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  32. Lisa

    My family and I just worshiped with you for the first time ever, earlier this year at Lee University in Tennessee. Our son is on staff with the “Conn Crew” there, so he worked set-up and take-down, and ran the stage for your event. He is about to be 22 and is singer/songwriter/worship leader/producer/keys guy (hey, when it’s in the blood, you can’t just stop at one, right?). Our other son is 15 and also leads worship here for his youth group, and believes God is calling him to be a youth worship leader or pastor. What amazed us most as parents was how literal your lyrics were with regard to rightly speaking the Word of God. God says that His Word never returns to Him void. Your words were His that night for us. We are singers — well, hubby plays the guitar. Jesus saved me through calling me back to Him by way of music. My husband was called back to Jesus in the 60s during the Navy of all things, by the lure of the Jesus movement in California and the music that came out of that. Generations precede us on my side of the family where music was used for entertainment – but now, through me, my husband and our sons, the music is for the glory of God, as it should be. We understand how y ou must feel, and we praise Jesus that you’re looking straight to Him with anticipation for the resolution. Personally, I just went through a year and a half of a “refining period”. When I tell people about it, I can’t even use the word “sick”; like you, I never once felt like I was under attack. I never felt frightened but one smidgeon of an instant. I knew that God was in it all the time. It began with a shroud falling over me at choir practice one night. He just plainly said “stop”. “STOP: What are you representing? Me, or a “program”? STOP: hours and hours you’re spending in here perfecting for a performance — I just want your worship. OUTSIDE is where I want you; OUTSIDE there are people who will never come INSIDE these walls.” I fasted and prayed for the first time in my life. Shortly thereafter, I was stricken with the inability to eat for about a year and a half. Severe pain occurred whenever I put anything in my body at all. Because of the pain, it was hard to participate in anything above simply walking and living. This, along with my “wandering Outside” and my music gone, reduced me to a form of humility I, too, had never experienced. It made me feel at first JUST LIKE YOU SAID, and made me realize that my total worth was wrapped up in my voice — it was the one good thing I felt i had. Yet, God showed me a love like I had never known. God never left my side. When the doctors tried to “shoo” it away as some “stress-related” disease and turned their collective, educated heads, God reminded me that He was using the things of the foolish to confound the wise. In the end, the problem was discovered, corrected with sugery (it was a one-in-a-million distortion of my small intestine), and i had lost 185 pounds during the “refining period” without even blinking an eye toward trying to do so. I didn’t really see anyone for that period of time, either, so when I was done and healthy enough to atend functions, people would ask me “Wow! What did you do?”, I could honestly say, “God did it.” That’s what He wants. It will be something over which we have no control, and we will honestly be able to give Him the glory! So everything you are doing is spot-on. We can’t wait to hear the worship that results from your extended quiet time with the Lord. Your voice is being prepared to carry His Word to the nations for the times to come. We will be praying. Just remember: when we can’t even pray, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans only the Father can understand. (Romans 8:26-27). God bless!

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  33. Andrew Greer

    This is what makes true leaders, the ability to lead even when you really don’t feel that strong. You have been a blessing in the lives of many and an inspiration to worship leaders everywhere. Take heart for you are supported and prayed for by many. You worth is in your heart, we see that so clearly now.

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  34. Tadd Mencer

    Sometimes God strips away everything you cherish so that He can remake you. He’ll empty you, so He can fill you back up.

    I will keep you in my prayers, Mr. Wickham.

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  35. Sophia Loux

    It’s crazy reading this right now. For the last 2 1/2 days I’ve had to be on vocal rest because of some throat/voice issues. I’m supposed to play Maria in my highschool’s dinner theatre “Sound of Music” next weekend, and I can’t talk (let alone sing) without it hurting, so I’m not talking at all. When reading your post, the part about the Lord speaking to you profoundly really stuck out to me because I just wrote something last night about what the Lord is doing in me through this. I thought I’d just share it :)

    “For the last two days, because of my throat issues, I’ve been on vocal rest (Pretty much not speaking at all). Because I’ve not been able to participate in nearly any conversation I’ve come across, I have experienced a lot of silence. In those quiet moments though, the Lord nudged at my weak human heart and we started to talk. All alone. In my head. Him and me. And I’ve had some of the most raw and deep conversations I’ve had with Him in my life. It’s been so incredibly beautiful. I walked out of my Microsoft Office class today so full of the joy of the Lord, knowing His love for me, feeling His delight in me, and thinking about all the things we’ll do together in Heaven someday, and so excited about them I felt I could burst. And that’s who Jesus is. He’ll come to you when your all alone in the tiny computer lab at school, doing the mundane, physically hurting, and He’ll radically change your heart posture and fill you with new strength and joy. It is absolutely incredible! So it might hurt, and I’m still praying for it to leave, but today I’m choosing to thank Jesus for this soar throat and silenced voice of mine. Thank you Jesus! Thank you that you use suffering for your glory! You are teaching me more about yourself and changing who I am. I want that. So I’m trusting You, and going along for this crazy ride called life:) (P.S. I’m kind of crazy about the driver ;) )”

    I will be praying for you Phil!! And trusting the Lord to carry out His perfect plan for your life! God bless :)

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  36. Diane Carter

    Your music has touched my heart in ways I cannot explain. The Lord has just moved in ways to comfort me, encourage me and set me on fire through the words He has given you. I believe Matthew West went through something very similar to what you are going through and came through to write songs afterwards that were very profound. You are such a blessing to so many and you will be on our prayer list at our church also. I pray healing for you and blessings for you and your family through this difficult time. “Be still and know that I am God”.

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  37. Bill Walden

    Thanks for sharing this. You will look back on this as one of the best seasons of your life. Re-defining. Painful but wonderful. May God’s grace shower down upon you. Thanks to God and to you for the great songs over the years.

    Blessings in Jesus…

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  38. Josh Ardis

    This applies to how we see each other, too. Do I see a singer, and then judge you based on skill level and my own personal taste, or do I see what Jesus sees — a man full of faults, forgiven and blessed as am I by His grace. Thank God for times to step back, thank God for the Fountain that never runs dry. Be refreshed, Phil! Be blessed abundantly brother!!! May God minister to your whole person and make you whole in Jesus awesome and mighty name! We love you. Thankyou (sincerely) for sharing your giftings with us.
    Come refining, come. Let us look more like Him on the other side…

    Josh

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  39. Barbara Daines

    Praying for complete healing. Our daughter is studying vocal performance at Belmont University. She had to have surgery on her vocal cords due to a polyp. We discovered a great “text to speech” app. It even has different accents!

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  40. allen

    Prayed and will be praying for you. Still you were able to bless others despite being in the midst of uncertainty. God bless you

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  41. Meef

    Phil in your downtime here is a good read “Seeing what is sacred” by Ken Gire
    It will help you see the great value in this journey you are on.
    Praying….

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  42. Trish

    Praying for the work God is doing in you and through you. I once told Him I didn’t know how to pray except through song, and He removed my ability to sing for a season and taught me to pray. That was many years ago following which He used this humble vessel for HIs purposes and to reach others with His wonderful grace, freedom and joy. Even, and especially, in the difficult times, He draws us to Himself and teaches us with His wisdom. Thank you for your beautiful honesty.

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  43. Neyna Cardenas

    I know you didn’t share your story expecting applause, but I do applaud you for the courage to share and be so transparent! It is a humbling reminder that it’s not what we do that makes us who we are, but when we find our true self and worth through and in Christ Jesus! Praying that the Lord just reveal even more to you through this time and give just a sweet peace to you and your family.

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  44. Kacie Campbell

    Phil – This was so beautiful. Sorry you are going through this and know that so many of us are praying for you. Your music has blessed me and my family so much. I am praying especially for your wife and kiddos. I can’t imagine not being able to talk to my kids and know that has to be hard for you. Many blessing to you and your family!

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  45. Mani

    Phil,

    What you’ve mentioned is something He’s communicating with me this week in many many ways… I’ve been sending this to as many folks as I can… pretty impactful stuff… Pray for His anointing during and after this process :-)

    brother,
    Mani

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  46. Grant

    Phil, thank you so much for writing this. Oddly enough, the same day you posted the Instagram picture asking for prayer, I had to ask for a backup to lead a few services I was scheduled to lead because of vocal issues. That alone came as a bit of peace to me. Like you, I have admittadely put my worth in how well I can sing, write, and perform. So for me to not be able to sing was humiliating in a way. Anyway, you posting the picture helped me. Your music has shaped the way I worship, lead worship, and write. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me for a long time. Keep doing what your doing. God has a plan that sometimes we don’t really comprehend, but I know though that there are many people who love you and are there for you. Praying for you.

    Grant

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  47. Joe

    What an awesome letter Brother Phil. Thank you so much not only for the encouragement that your music brings to so many of us, but for your courage, and sharing that courage and faith in this time!! God Bless you, comfort you, and HEAL you quickly!!!

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  48. Quanah

    I know a man who went through the exact same thing only it was bad enough that he couldn’t talk. He was a youth minister, and felt completely lost without his voice. Just like you, he did a whole lot of listening, and talking to God, because He was pretty much the only one he could talk to.
    Today he can talk, though he’s a little hard to listen to, and is a director at TeenPact leadership schools. Every kid that hears him can see how deeply connected with the Lord, and he is one of the best teachers I know. It’s a struggle for him, but God has worked wonders through him that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
    Praying that you make a full recovery! I know that you will be an even stronger leader and singer when this is over. You’re music has encouraged so many, and even in your pain, your story is touching lives.

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  49. DJ

    Dear Phil,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I will be praying for you. I have a testimony you might find interesting. I’ll try to make this long story short. I, too, was a singer that wrapped my identity in my voice. It was the one thing that made me truly unique from anyone else I knew. Rather than pursue a singing career, my husband and I started a family. We had 5 children. I would occasionally sing at friends’ weddings and various other events, though. When my youngest was 2 years old, and one year after joining our church worship team, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had surgery to remove my thyroid gland, which damaged my laryngeal nerve leaving me with a paralyzed vocal cord – I had to voice, no vibration! I went through the same emotions as you. It was nearly impossible to merely communicate, as all I had was a whisper. Needless to say, I was very frustrated, to say the least. This season brought me much revelation and began to usher in my identity in Christ. Praise God, seven weeks to the day of my surgery, my voice was restored and I thought the battle had ended. Something unfamiliar began to happen with my voice, though. I was losing control, range, strength and flexibility. This went on for some time until I finally realized it was acid reflux, but it was so severe I had some tests done. I was told that I had gastric paresis – my stomach was paralyzed and my food would stay in my stomach for hours, thus allowing stomach acid and food to creep up my esophagus, damaging my vocal chords. I did everything I could to alleviate the symptoms, from drastically changing my diet, to taking anti-acid meds, to sleeping in a recliner for 6 years – all to save my voice. All told, the # of years I could not lift up my voice to the heavens (the way I wanted to) was 12 years. During this time I cried out to God for healing. Family prayed for me. Church prayed for me. In the meantime, I learned keys and have been the keyboard player on our worship team for many years now! I will worship my God one way or another and He has anointed my hands, too. I’ve also written many worship songs/psalms. I’m so grateful for the gifts He gives. Two years ago, my stomach randomly began to ‘work’. Since then I have been retraining my voice. The muscles had atrophied. The flexibility and range are coming back, I’m working on the strength, and the control is becoming more effortless. I am a different person through it all. I know who I am with and without my ability to sing AND, most importantly, I know God more than ever and I know how much He loves me and wants GOOD things for me. I am currently learning to play the guitar and I know I will implement all of the gifts that God has given me to use for His glory very soon and I can’t wait to glorify HIM through song with a totally new and restored worshipful voice! I don’t know why all this happened or why it took so long for my voice to be restored to me. All I know is that I learned to trust my heavenly Father in ALL things and that His timing is perfect. Your gift will continue to make room for you! You will be back praising Him with a new testimony in no time! There will be revelation that God will give you that you wouldn’t have understood if you didn’t have to walk through this. Your message and your new songs will be powerful! And God will receive ALL the glory! God bless you, Phil!

    Reply
  50. Marina Bromley

    Wow. Lovely testimony.
    He might enjoy reading Jennifer Dukes Lee new book Love Idol, about things we substitute for God’s unconditional Pre-approval. Also listen to a short testimony of DaySpring co-founder Roy Lessin’s experience when a medical condition changed his voice, and how God used it for good… And for God! (http://meetmeinthemeadow.com)
    Prayers to Phil and his family and medical team…

    Reply
  51. Deb

    Wow! Thank you for your honesty and willingness to show your vulnerability. So often I believe we’re tempted to hide that side of ourselves. Be tough and like we have it all together. I love the paragraph where you talk about having to listen more and hearing God well. My prayers are with you! Thank you for telling your story as you walk through this trial. God is with you :)

    Reply
  52. John Zacchio

    “Therefore we do not lose heart, Though our outward man is perishing, our inward man is being renewed day by day, and our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    Reply
  53. Charlene

    Phil W, I understand and know exactly where you are. I was born with a radio in my head. I was born to sing. I was born to worship. I play guitar and sing, have for many years. On Feb. 21, 2000 , I woke up without a voice, I suffered a stroke while I slept. That was 14 years ago, the frustration, anger and depression that ensued. You need to know that I was a beleiver in Christ but I was a prodigal, running from God. I wasn’t walking with Him, didn’t know how He could ever forgive me. The stroke left me devestated, not able to talk right, play guitar or even sing. Yet looking back now, I know God was in it all. He brought me to that place where He knew I needed to be, to hear Him, to stop running from Him and run to Him, to listen to Him, and to grow in Him!! But God was not finished with me….because 6 years ago I was diagnosed with an AVM in my brain that I’d had since birth. While removing it they discovered a brain anuerysm “ready to burst”, Praise God!! they were both successfully removed via craniotomy!! Since the surgery the gifts God has blessed me with have returned, with an even greater longing to bring Him glory….to bring Him praise. God has enabled me to teach others to play worship songs, and to worship Him. He has helped me be part of my worship team at my church. I LOVE to sing for my Savior!! I’m so very thankful to have the privledge and pleasure to do so!!!! To Him be ALL glory!!!! Praying you’ll be restored to your service unto Jesus soon : )

    Reply
  54. Andrea

    Powerful. Thank you so much for sharing God’s ‘beauty from ashes’. Praying for your full recovery and a continued, ongoing awakening in your soul…that your trust be without borders and that you find yourself in the center of His will moment by moment. Blessings to you and your family!

    Reply
  55. Cheryl

    Amen! Thank you for your encouragement even in your time of suffering. I truly believe God is using this opportunity to draw you even closer to Him. I’ve kept you and your family in my prayers, and will continue to do so. God bless.

    Reply
  56. Shiloh

    Phil,
    I just wanted to say that you have one of the most beautiful, angelic voices I have ever heard. Your voice greatly touches my heart every time I hear it, but you are worth SO much more than that! Your voice doesn’t define who you are. It’s a big part of who you are, but it doesn’t stop there. You are such a godly man, with a beautiful heart and such love for God. You are a beautiful person, so kind and loving to your family, and most importantly to God. I look up to you so much… you don’t even know how much I look up to you as an example of a godly person! I really hope you see this, and I hope it encourages you. Trust God. We are all praying for you, and we love you.

    Reply
  57. Pingback: In Phil Wickham’s Silence God Speaks. | ERIK THIEN

  58. Sid Bose

    I really find those words of your songs encouraging and wonderful. May the blessings and healing touch of the Lord be with you brother in Jesus’ name, Amen!

    Reply
  59. Jason

    Phil,

    Thanks so much for sharing this letter. I will join so many others in praying for you and your family during this time of healing and faith.

    I have been a worship leader for a number of years now. I have been blessed with many great opportunities to travel and sing with my band leading others in worship. The last few years I have began to have a lot of problems with my throat and vocals. After seeing a Dr. they suggested that I look into surgery but said it would probably not help my vocals but actually make it even more difficult for me to continue. I also felt the same feelings and even asked the same questions of who am I with out my voice? But after accepting the fact that someday I may loose my singing voice and not be able to lead worship God began to do great things in my life. I’m trusting him more and seeing his powerful grace at work in my life. So I want to sing until my voice won’t let me sing anymore.

    As you said in you letter I don’t believe anything happens by coincidence either. One month ago God called my family and I to a new church to be the Student Pastors. This Sunday morning I will be helping lead worship at my church. This will be the first time I have ever lead at this church as well as the first time for me to sing in while. I share all of this to say that the song I will be leading is “This is Amazing Grace”.

    Thank you for being faithful to God and for leading without even having to say a word.

    Jason

    Reply
  60. Soraya Abreu

    Praying that this trial will accomplish the purpose of God in your life… You will come out leaning on your beloved . With much love and respect of your work, for the kingdom of God on this earth. Amem

    Reply
  61. Debby Amos

    Your praise to our LORD by way of your voice is part of my deliverance from cancer. Praying for the LORD to restore your voice even stronger than before.

    Reply
  62. AMY & TRACY

    WHAT A TESTIMONY OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS!!! THANK YOU FOR DOING WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO, ALL FOR HIS GLORY AND TOUCHING LIVES ALL OVER THIS WORLD FOR ETERNITY!!! WE KNOW GOD WILL CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU BEYOND MEASURE AS YOU SO FAITHFULLY SEEK HIS WILL!!! IN OUT THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!!! GOD BLESS!!!
    +PHILIPPIANS 1:2-6
    +PSALM 91:11
    +MATTHEW 11:28-30
    +MATTHEW 5:14-16
    +ACTS 20:24

    Reply
  63. Wanda Murray

    Phil
    I was heartsick to see what you are going through, but our Father will use it for your good! He can show you things through this experience you may not have seen if you were still busy with your music . You recently had breakfast with my grandson Joe Memmel in Nashville , and he told me that you were very much an inspiration to him. I had mentioned a song to him and he said it was yours and that he had talked to you. So God will use you even as you reach out to others in silence ,in prayer! I have prayed that God will give you complete healing and He will use this time in your life to bring honor to Himself! Blessings ,brother!

    Reply
  64. Jenn

    I agree that God has a plan and a purpose for this quiet time in your life, Paul. I am praying for the restoration and healing of your voice. I know how important music is in ministry and touching the lives of others with His message through music. Trust in God’s wisdom and grace. Your sister in Christ Jesus.

    Reply
  65. Renee Fisher

    Phil, Wow. I am going through a very similar season right now. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for saying you feel lost. I, too have felt lost. Even through our identity crisis, God pulls back the curtain and shows us who we are in Him and that is enough. More than enough.

    Reply
  66. Kevin Haglund

    I feel your pain, bro! I’ve been in full-time church worship ministry for almost 20 years and hit the same type of wall this past October. I have been diagnosed with a vocal polyp on my left vocal fold. I have been seeing a speech pathologist at the University of Michigan’s Professional Voice Center (one of only 4 in the country) since November. It has helped some, but I’ve been told that I’ve pretty much hit the ceiling of what speech pathology can do. I’m meeting with the ENT Vocal Specialist again on April 9th to discuss surgery. I’m sure I’ll have quite a few days of silence ahead of me after surgery!

    I know first hand the struggles of identity that can come to mind in your scenario. Fortunately for me, about 6 years ago, I had an incredible experience with God where I felt like He was telling me He wanted to do big things through me but I had to be willing to surrender everything to Him. In the quietness of that moment, I did just that. I surrendered everything I could think of to him including my voice. I literally said, “God, if you don’t want me to sing another note, I’m OK with that.” My wife took issue with that one! Over the past 5-6 years, nearly everything I surrendered to Him that night, He has taken away except my family. Most recently, my voice. But, He has given me such peace and fulfillment as I pursue a new role in His Kingdom. Through all of this He has taught me that my identity is in Him not in my voice, my family, what I have or where I live.

    I’m asking God to heal me so that when I see my ENT on April 9th that the polyp is gone. I believe God still heals today. I’ll pray for complete healing for you as well so we can both continue in our ministries!

    P.S. If you want a second opinion from one of the top Professional Vocal Health Centers in the country, check out http://www.med.umich.edu/vocalheathcenter. I highly recommend them!

    Reply
  67. Trieste

    Wow… The insight He’s given you in just a few days is a foreshadowing of more wisdom to come…
    Thank you for writing and sharing what you have. This is a message I needed to hear today – but even beyond that, I’m praying for deeper relationship between you and Him, as well as you and your family. It makes me think of Martin Smith’s song “Back to the start.” May He lead you from the simplicity of silence back to the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3).
    Blessings of grace & peace to all of you.

    Reply
  68. hannahf

    Wow, I love what God is doing in this time. The way He writes our story is so beautiful. My prayers are with you phil. Many more blessings are on their way. :)

    Reply
  69. Brooke

    This brought me to tears… I’m also a worship leader and songwriter. Recently, I’ve been struggling with intense anxiety. The kind that is not only physical, but emotional, mental, and spiritual also. When it hits, I feel helpless and completely broken. But, I truly feel that this not a spiritual attack, but something that God is allowing in my life for a reason. To show me something new and change my heart. But, that doesn’t make the pain any less difficult. Just this morning, I met with a girl that I’ve mentored for almost a year, and felt like I had nothing to give. Nothing to say. Nothing to encourage her with. I just felt empty and anxious. And that’s not who I am, or at least who I’ve thought myself to be. I’ve always been the leader; the person who says “yes” to every request and serves whole-heartedly in it. I’ve always been strong. I’ve always been confident. But, today, and for the past month or so, I have not been feeling that way. I’ve felt weak. I’ve felt empty. I’ve felt useless. Everything I’ve ever known to be true about myself no longer defines me. So, then the question I’m faced with is, “Who am I?” If I’m no longer a bold, courageous leader, am I not myself? Or is “myself” something different? Your words hit home. I’m the daughter of Christ. In my weakness, His strength is perfect. Thank you for that very timely reminder. And thank you for your honesty. God bless.

    Reply
  70. Tim Molter

    Wow! What amazing insight into finding our true identity in Jesus Christ. Thank you Phil for being so transparent and for sharing your heart. We pray God would bless you in this season and thank Him for using you to spread the Gospel! Stay blessed friend!

    Reply
  71. Jeff Jones

    Dear Phil,
    You know I have known you your whole life. You dad taught me worship leading way back in 1977 when I was 17 years old, and I regularly visited your mom and dad’s apt. on Juniper St. Here we are 35 years later and you have been born and raised in such a great home, AND NOW You have inspired an entire generation by the grace of God. There is a calling upon you. You are being tested and tried that your faith might be strengthened for a greater purpose later on. Youth and vocal chords are fleeting. I know. But to Jesus, you are Philip. You are the apple of His eye. You are His Son. He will not let you fall nor will He forsake you. He will provide for you in this time of uncertainty for you, but certainty for Him. We LOVE you and our whole church is praying you Phil! Keep your chin up! Better days are ahead. GREAT days! Promise. (P.S.) Can’t wait to hear the new songs that will be
    born out of this time. Songs that were not sung now, but will have weight and depth when you are delivered! :)

    Reply
  72. Joshua

    Phil, I am not normally someone who posts comments on things but I had to this time. First I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you and second that I identify with many of the things you wrote. I met you years ago in Orlando at a Cracker Barrel at 7am, which was funny. Anyway, I have been in ministry for 9 years now and this last month I got a very severe case of Mono and then the doctors found Lymes Disease. For the last 4 weeks all I have literally done is sleep, eat, sleep, use the bathroom, sleep and more sleep, you get the picture. I haven’t been able to work at my church or even attend church for 4 weeks. I haven’t been able to help my wife take care of our kids or even do much at all with my kids. It’s been very frustrating at times but it’s also brought me closer to God in fresh ways. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be “out of commission” either but I know God has a plan for both of us. Thank you for sharing your struggle, your insights, and your faith! This season has given me new motivation to pray daily for others that I know who are struggling with long-term health issues and now you are on the list friend! ;)

    Reply
  73. Michelle

    Phil,
    I have heard your worship since the early days at Maranatha Chapel with your father. Please know that God is with you. There is nothing like a medical trial to truly shake you to your core. There are always lessons to be learned with each trial and character to be gained. I too am going through a major medical trial where the treatment could potentially be life altering. We must always remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And like Job, we can still praise HIM through it all. Although scary we can be encouraged that God is holding you and will carry you through this. I hope you know how much you are loved and cared for and that during this time of rest and cradling you can know that you have a purpose outside of your voice, an identity not wrapped in what you do, but in just ‘who you are’, Fearfully and Wonderfully made.
    InHisGrip,
    Michelle

    Reply
  74. Jess

    I only wish I had that kind of acceptance and grace when I lost mine. Singing is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember – church plays, praise team, musicals, and choirs. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer during my junior year of college. At this point, I was a first soprano in my college choir. I remember sitting in my director’s office, explaining and crying about how I had cancer and I didn’t know how surgery was going to affect my voice or even if I’d be able to sing at all.

    After surgery, I had three weeks of recovery before going back to school. I don’t remember much of it (removing your thyroid puts your body in zombie mode until you adjust to living off medication), but I was angry and scared that I didn’t know what my voice would sound like. However, I was able to sing with my choir just three weeks later – not as strong as before, but I could still sing!! I was back to (almost) full voice by the start of my senior year and was able to sing in two friends’s recitals as well as perform a solo in our Messiah concert.
    A little over two years post surgery, I’m a year and 9 months cancer-free and singing like crazy. I did lose my lower range, which is something I’m struggling to accept. I’m really struggling with a lot of things…a lot of my life changed in just a couple years – being diagnosed and treated for cancer, being cancer-free and figuring out what that means now, graduating college, moving back home, job hunting… – and I’m just trying to keep my head above the water. I’m still trying to learn the lesson God’s teaching me.

    Reply
  75. Sue Olson

    Phil – Thank you for your thoughts here. It’s amazing how other people’s words can touch us so deeply, and yours have truly touched my heart. Although hard to understand things sometimes in our lives, how good to know that ALL THINGS work together for good, and that in our silence, He is able to speak volumes into us…our hearts and our lives. And, as we worship him in silent praise, he can touch us in the depths of our souls. I was listening to the song today by Terry Clark, “I Am Yours”, as I was sitting at my desk at work. I was overcome with God’s presence right there in my cubicle, and I was weeping in silent thankfulness that I AM HIS! You, Phil, are a blessing to so many people, with your music, and with your words, and it looks like now is the time to let the Lord and others surround you and bless you, so that you will be overcome and overwhelmed with the silent presence of God and His love renewing and refreshing you. I will be praying for your and your sweet family.

    Reply
  76. Orlando

    I was at Catalyst last night and was one of the many that prayed for you. You have blessed us with your ministry and it was humbling to be able to pray for you find peace, restoration, and comfort. May God bless you as you look forward and know that He has your life, identity, and voice in His hands. You are not alone for He is always with us.

    Reply
  77. Jennifer

    Phil, the words I have won’t do my emotions justice. I have never been a professional vocalist. No one has ever counted on me to lead the worshipers to the throne of God any more than from the background. I won’t pretend to know some of the value and worth struggles at the level you might experience them.
    I *do* know my primary way of worshiping (and most favorite thing ever) is musically. Songs have tremendously impacted my heart and my relationship with God for years. There was a time I lost my voice, and I know the loss and the lost feeling. In my case, I wept for weeks while I listed to everyone else do what I couldn’t and desperately wanted to do.

    That was when God taught me about my identity, too. And compassion for those with deep, personal losses that broke their hearts. And real worship—the “in Spirit and truth” kind. My expression of worship was radically different while I waited. Those were difficult days, but I see them as precious now.

    What a blessing when the church worship team set aside time to pray for me after I missed another audition cycle. By then, I was pretty humbled. And it was then He saw fit to answer those prayers. (So I will always pray with anticipation, knowing He just may choose that moment and that request.) I pray the very best for you, even more than the blessing I received: a refreshed, strengthened, new voice—along with a new heart and deep love for my heavenly Father.

    Be blessed! Praying you will be able to continue to bless others through the ministry He has established in, with, and through you soon. I’m thankful for what He’s already accomplished and what He’s doing in you now. What a testimony of faith! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  78. Doug

    Phil,

    As a person who has lost one ability, my hearing, I know how it can feel as if you lost an identity. I now use my knowledge of what it was like to hear to lead deaf people in worship and song. I pray for your health and to continue with your method of bringing people back to God, and I know that even if this was not the path He had planned that you would continue doing this. Once a soldier of God, always a soldier! Keep up the healing and inspiring of others.

    Reply
  79. Steve

    Phil,

    I had heard about this a few days ago and couldnt believe it. Thank you for your heart and testamony. I`m not a singer or anything like that I`m a carpenter, Been for 30 years, 15 of it buliding for the Lord. As the years have gone on it has talen a toll on me and now It is really hard for me to serve and work in this capacity anymore.
    Ive neve thought about my Idenity in the field and passion I have had but now as I really need to consider sometning different I do realize that for many years my Identity was in being that carpenter for the Lord.
    I`vve had some time lately to just sit and listen to him …… not as much as I think he really wants me to but after reading your letter I know that this is just where he wants us, Eyes on only him or Identity in Only Him ……

    Thanks Phill for sharing, you may not be able to sing for awhile but you can still minister to us all, Stay close to the Lord and I`ll be praying for you and your family.

    God Bless!

    Reply
  80. Jason Caine

    Phil,

    I’m certainly praying for you and thank you for this amazing post. Your impact on my family’s life is far reaching and I wanted to personally let you know that we truly appreciate it. A few years ago I heard your song “messiah/beautiful” and it drastically changed my taste in music. The words of that song were so rich and helped me better relate with Christ. May God bless you and may you never never experience such sickness again.

    Reply
  81. Billy

    Phil, I too was there last night to pray for you, your healing, and God’s hand over you during this time. I was especially moved to see you (over my shoulder, to the left) worshiping God deeply in a moment of your own quietness and tears. And yet voiceless, you cried out along with the rest of us to the song God gave you that has blessed so many of us. What a privilege to see that and be in that moment with you.
    Your songs have blessed me for years. May God bring healing to your voice in His perfect timing. In the meanwhile, may you be still, and listen, and rest. And certainly pen what you cannot now sing! You are more than your songs. More than your voice. But God has certainly made you for leading God’s people. May He use you in the days ahead to bring Him glorify in ways that are unexpected. Bless you, brother.

    Reply
  82. Chris Ray

    Truth always overcomes reality and for us the finished work of Christ is our reality. Cheer up bro, and believe you are healed already cuz Christ offered his body for your health. I bless you in Jesus name, after this you’ll be able to sing even better.

    Reply
  83. Mary K

    Phil,
    Your letter is beautiful! We all n r journey of life
    Experience trials, and knowing Gods hand is on u
    Really helps. Stay strong n The Lord for he
    Knows the plans he has for ur life. God is good.
    I’m praying for healing!
    I hope ur sharpening ur pencil and writing
    New songs

    Reply
  84. Eduardo

    Phil, I want thank you for sharing your letter. I felt that I needed share something with you too.

    I am deaf and hard of hearing. For many years I would ask God for a miracle to heal my ears. I have seen others received miracle, but I never did. But until I turned 18, I finally accepted my identity – of who I am. Some years later, I realized that miracles are never for ourselves, but for others. I learned that God uses miracles to bring others to Christ. That’s how people keep coming to Jesus when He performed miracles. So, therefore, I decided to trust God and His plan by using me through playing piano since the age of 12. But then later, I kindly asked God that if there was ever one thing I could ask of Him, it would be a beautiful voice to sing. The reason is because I wanted to pour out my heart to Him. I felt like playing on the piano was limited. I can worship Him through sign language, playing on the piano, and with my life. But I always felt like I wanted to sing. And in that, I will testify of this to many so they can know God. THAT would be my miracle.

    But when I read your letter, I quickly got humbled and reminded of a very important thing: my identity is not found in any gift, talent, work, nor any miracle. Not even my testimony can gives me identity. It is Christ alone in me. He gave me life. I exist because of Him. I am just reminded by God through your experience and letter that I am worthy in Christ no matter what. No matter if I can sing or not. No matter if I can play piano or not. No matter if I can dance and sign. I knew this already inside somewhere inside of me, but I didn’t fully grasp it. But now I do.

    Thank you, Phil. For sharing. For trusting in God. For showing us Christ as our Creator and Identifier. For identifying Him in us.

    I just prayed for you, your family, and your ministry. May God uses you continuously. Blessings.

    Reply
  85. Kendra

    Phil, this is so AWESOME! We all need to come to this place…of “God-discovery”. I too have been in that place, and the results will be life-changing! Hold your little girls and let them “learn to listen” also…to your heartbeat and Father’s heartbeat…we don’t want to drown Him out. He didn’t choose you for how you could perform publicly for Him, He chose you for who you are to Him…& you’re discovering what that is. Many will be lifting you up in prayer, child of God!

    Reply
  86. Mick Bouschor

    Praying for you and your family through this difficult time. I know that the Lord has a major upgrade for you on the other side of this, but you also have access to the full measure of His joy in the meantime. It is inspiring how you are standing strong through the uncertainty. I am confident that you will receive full healing. God – in his mercy – lets us experience stuff like this so that our hearts can come to fuller repentance and intimacy with Him. He is so faithful to you – He wants your whole heart. Thank Him for using this situation to call you closer. Be blessed and be encouraged. -M-

    Reply
  87. Mark

    Happy Birthday Phil, Thanks you for that openness and honesty of your letter, you have touched people in a new way that even your songs can not.
    I pray that you will be healed fully, I know what it is like to face the possibility of no longer working at a job you love. 4 years ago I awoke and knew I had a stroke during the night and recognized the loss of all the left side of my vision in both eyes with numbness to the left side of the body
    The blessing of that event was a rearrangement of my life to leaning closer to God and family than I ever could have. Sounds strange to say, but that event was a blessing for me. I thank God I was able to return to work and pray you will also be thanking Him for that first concert you will be doing soon
    The night alone in the hospital when I also wondered if I ever would work, walk, or what could I do, I sunk into a despair that was scary. In my prayer, cry of despair to God, I was blessed with His presence, holy spirit, I don’t know what, but a sense of peace and a voice that let me know that no matter what would happen in the future it was all right because God was nearby. My anxiety went away, and the sense of joy I felt at being in Gods presence was complete contentment.
    So, I pray for God to wrap his arms around you, that you feel His presence and love , and give you a sense of peace and contentment that it will be all right, no matter what the end result.
    I would also like to share that you are not only gifted at singing and song writing, but you have a gift of writing also.
    Blessings to you, your family, and may you sing many songs again in the future.

    Reply
  88. lyon

    Mr.wickham I am one of your Chinese fans,Because my English is not very good, so can only use the translator to translate the past,Read your letter I feel very sad, but… Uh… Come on!I know you because your song This is amazing grace.Couldn’t hear you at the thought of the new voice I feel very sad, so come on!You’ll be fine, and happy birthday!

    Reply
  89. Pingback: God Beyond the Suffering: a look at Psalm 22 | SHINE516

  90. Trevor

    Phil, my wife and I had the pleasure of hearing you sing about a month ago in Cambridge Ontario at Heritage Bible College. Your voice was perfect pitch all night for a great show, we were so blessed.
    Now to hear of your voice issues was a surprise and saddened us because you are gifted.
    We are praying for you and COMPLETE healing from God.
    May your dear family also be blessed and comforted. One day at a time brother, rest easy, God is in control.
    Philippians 4:13 ” I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me STRENGTH”
    Trevor & Nicole
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

    Reply
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  92. Natalie

    Phil, you are certainly being lifted up in prayer. Our worship leader went through the exact same thing you are going through and God revealed so much to her. I believe we have to go through times of silence in order to truly hear what God wants to say to us. I’m praying for you!!!!

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  93. Vicki Miller

    This post reminded me of a special quote from Charles Spurgeon I have tucked away in my computer file. I am reminded of it from time to time. Given your present circumstances, may you be blessed by it too.
    “Priceless as the gift of utterance may be, the practice of silence in some aspects far excels it. Do not think me a Quaker. Well, be it so. Herein I follow George Fox most lovingly; for I am persuaded that most of us think too much of speech, which after all is but the shell of thought. Quiet contemplation, still worship, unuttered rapture, these are mine when my best jewels are before me. Brethren, rob not your heart of the deep sea joys; miss not the far-down life, by for ever babbling among the broken shells and foaming surges of the shore.” (Charles Spurgeon-Lectures to My Students, 51).

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  95. Jolonda Sibbitt

    Even though I have never gone through what you are physically, spiritually I know exactly how you have been feeling. It is so easy to get caught up in the gifts God has given us, and not God himself, without even realizing it. Our identity is solely in Him and never changes. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love your heart. Definitely been praying for you and your family.

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  96. Kelly

    When I heard this news, I completely understood, the frustration, pain and time of silence.
    I to last year, had difficulty with my voice and noticed right away something was wrong. I was told for a whole year I had a vocal nodule only to find out after surgery it was a cyst. (misdiagnosed)
    I had a cyst removed from my left vocal cord, from overuse. I too, am a worship leader. I believe for complete healing for Phil W, and his vocal folds. I pray Lord you would continue to help him hear your voice even during this silent time, of no singing or talking. I pray you would give him new songs. I pray for complete healing in Jesus name!
    Kelly Warner

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    1. Caleb

      Phil really enjoyed your testimony ,I just had surgery on my toe and realize sitting here that my worth is in what I can do physically & exercise move move move and now I can’t . I hope I can hear what God wants me to learn at this time,praying for your healing.

      Reply
  97. Christin

    Praying for you, knowing God has a purpose for this. Love you, Phil. You are more to all of us than just a voice. Trust in His grace.

    Reply
  98. Marilyn

    Phil, I’m praying for you! Your post is the most authentic and inspiring writing I’ve come across in a long time. Our gracious Lord is using both your “singing voice” and your “writing voice” to change hearts and lives for Him. Hallelujah, amen!

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  99. Marilyn

    Phil, I’m praying for you! Your post is one of the most authentic, surrendered, and inspiring I’ve come across. Our gracious Lord is using both your “singing voice” and your “writing voice” to stir and turn many hearts and lives toward Him. Hallelujah, amen!

    Reply
  100. Rachel

    Dear Phil,
    let me start off first by saying that you are an amazing singer/song writer and I have been blessed by your music and beautiful voice. I listen to it all the time. literally. I pray that your voice will heal soon and God will use you to bless many more hundreds and thousands of people. and in this time of silence I pray that you will see how special you are even without your voice. because I love you, my brother in Christ, even now when you are only listening. and I hope you can hear the wonderful music tied into God’s creation. because it’s like you said “….when my world just falls apart, Lord you put me back together and lift me up to where You are.” and I truly believe that He will do so. even if it’s not in the way we expected.
    may God bless you and be with you.
    sincerely,
    Rachel
    P.S. learning sign language would be a great way to communicate with your family if this ever happens again. :)

    Reply
  101. Barry Moll

    I believe the Lord has anyone that follows him in class. I know the Lord will lift you up through this challenge in your life. I believe you are healed, whole and hearty in the name of Jesus! A few years ago I asked a Christian mentor of mine how to grow closer to God and hear His voice, he said “Shut up” It worked!!! Phil I know the Lord will be speaking to you through this, I am looking forward to hearing what he tells you, as I know it will come out in your music. God bless you.

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  102. Erika

    God has always a porpuse for those who serve Him. God has a porpuse for you Phil, remember you are God’s servant and GOD will never close a door unless He has the next one open. You are a messenger throughout the Music God gives you, and That silence is a Moment with GOD that you need in order for GOD to prepare you for the NEXT LEVEL in your Career as a Servant of The Lord … GOD BLESS you … You are a blessing to so many people …

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  103. Mylene Collins

    Dearest Phil,

    I listened to to you sing I Will Wait For You almost every night for the last three years….I had been deeply distressed and my heart had never hurt so bad waiting for my prodigol daughters to come home. Honestly, I held to my faith by the end of finger tips. God used your talent and that song to remind me to wait on Him. My daughters came home…I could have never imagined then what God had stored for me and my daughters who truly love God…both turned away from drugs and one became a missionary. I pray and trust that God will heal your vocal chords. He set you apart a long time and the work he began in you is not complete. I share in your excitement of things to come…I know that his plans for our lives are much bigger than we can even understand, much less imagine. Be still, wait on God to heal you and I look forward to singing with you in Ohio.

    Your sister in Christ!

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  104. NATALIE

    Phil, I just received a similar diagnosis on Monday. I stand in prayer with you friend.
    Psalm 27:13-14
    13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
    14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

    Reply
  105. Sue

    Phil,
    What God keeps laying on my heart about this is that this isn’t so much about what lies in your past as it is about what lies in your future. Two questions that have come up a lot lately for me are, “Is anything too hard for God?” and “Would you love God for nothing?”. Whatever your answers to those questions are, He loves you unconditionally, He is especially fond of you, and He will do what is best for you – always. I do pray for you that God’s Will is done and that He brings you His Healing in the area(s) that it is needed. I pray this in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!

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  108. TANN

    hi Phil! Wooo whoooo for you and Evan! gotta share something that happened. Last night, while rehearsing for an event in Georgia, I was told by the chef, for the evening, while we were rehearsing “THIS IS AMAZING GRACE”, one of the hired staffers, who is an Athiest, was running around the building with his hands up dancin and enjoying the music when the chef said to him “See, he gave his life for you too”! The man stopped and realized he was reacting to the spirit of the music and said “wait, whoa..i’m not suppose to be reacting this way”, but DID! LOOK AT GOD!! he used you, through that song to get to that man..who knows what’s gonna happen next, but the seed was PLANTED, BABY!! In my Flava Flave voice, “YEA, BOYEEEEEEEEE!!” hahahaha Don’t mess with Jesus or he’ll git all up in ya beez wax..so happy for him! So happy the chef shared it with me. Thanking GOD for that man and his salvation right now. The chef said “There’s salvation in music”..OH YES THERE IS!!! Continued prayers for you…..GOD woke me up nudging me to share this with you, so I am being obedient. Only as a reference, I am one of those who prayed for you on stage recently at Catalyst Orange County and am soooo excited to see the restoration, as we lift up your brother, Evan and your family, as well! TANN

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  109. Alicia

    Phil,
    Prayers of healing, direction and peace during this season of your life. Your transparency hits home to many that define their identity in their job. Thank you for being so obedient in sharing your situation. Even though you must be silent, your voice is still LOUDER than ever. I am excited to hear the amazing music that will come out of this experience. Blessings to you and your family.

    Reply
  110. Niki Dallio

    Phil,
    I am not sure that you will even read this but at any rate Just had to let you know that in less than 24 hours I will be going into surgery for my left vocal cord. My dad is a pastor and I lead worship at our church. As tradition, my sister, dad and I sing O Holy Night every year for our congregation. We have 4 services on a weekend and at service 3 my throat felt very strange as I was singing. I try to explain it to others but nothing makes more sense than how you described it above…a broken guitar string. Every single word, sentence and phrase that I just read from your heart was to a “T” how I feel. I can’t tell you the times I have sat in my house feeling so useless because I can’t sing and barely even talk. I just remember to take every thought captive that the enemy may try to throw at me telling me “I’m done” and I cling to the words my dad has said to me since this all began… “Niki, God wouldn’t give you such an amazing gift just to steal it away from you.” So, I must believe that God is just polishing my gift right now. He is so faithful and worthy of all my praise even if I never get to sing another day of my life. Through this I have learned that too many times I have allowed to let my praise be dictated by how I feel. I have been sad to say the least and God reminds me that He is my joy and SO DESERVING of my praise every second there is a breath in my body. So I will praise Him on the bad days//Praise Him on the great days// And praise Him during this upcoming 2 weeks of silence. Phil-the Bible says that Jesus cares about us and what we are going through because He has been where we are. Sometimes we pray for people but just can’t quite truly understand how they are feeling. I understand how you are feeling and I will be praying for you. And if you happen to see this, I know you will understand how I am feeling and would greatly appreciate your prayers :) Be blessed!

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