Christian artist Phil Wickham had surgery on his vocal cords on April 28, and has been following doctor's orders to not speak or sing since then. Only thirty years of age, the husband and father of two has released more than six albums of Christian worship music and is nominated for the 2014 K-Love Fan Awards Song of the Year for "This is Amazing Grace."
God has gifted Phil Wickham with an incredible voice; while on a tour through New England earlier this spring, however, Wickham says his voice began to change dramatically - "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," he says.
Upon realizing that something was wrong, Wickham had to cancel his upcoming tour dates and asked his brothers and sisters in Christ for prayer. The widely popular singer and songwriter says he also began to struggle with his identity at that point. "I felt lost. I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice," he says - "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?'"
Wickham's doctor discovered a polyp on his left vocal cord, which had likely developed from overuse. It was rubbing against his right vocal cord, causing light bleeding. Wickham was advised not to speak for two weeks to see if the nodule would go down on its own.
While waiting in silence, Wickham had ample time to reflect on the Lord. He pondered what it truly means to trust the Lord - not to simply trust in His ability to do anything, but to trust deeply in His character. "Trust is an essential building block in any healthy relationship," he wrote in a blog post; when he remembered God's love demonstrated in the cross of Christ, his heart was calmed. "Moments of fear are quenched with a thought of the cross," he wrote.
Wickham says he is learning that a Christian's true identity is that which Christ has given us - "Our identity as a forgiven child of God, our identity as part of the redeemed bride of Christ," he writes. It is an identity that we can never lose as His people.
After two weeks of silence, the polyp was still there. As Wickham prepared for surgery, he released a video blog update for all of those who had been praying for him. "I just want to first say a big 'Thank You' to everybody ... We feel through the powers of [your] prayers, we've felt such a massive peace through all this even though it's an unknown, shaky time," said the singer - "We're learning in a whole new way what this idea of peace that surpasses all understanding is that we have in God."
Wickham had surgery on April 28, and has been unable to speak or sing since then. Thankfully, Wickham's post-surgery checkup seems to have gone well, and the singer is cleared to begin rehabilitation for his voice on Monday after almost a full month of silence. He hopes to be able to speak normally by the end of May, and to begin to sing again in June.
"I can't help but have questions," Wickham says - "Will I sound different? Will it feel different? There are stories on both ends of the spectrum. Some have underwent this procedure, and equate the results to a retired football player getting his high school knees back. On the other hand there are the horror stories ... Whatever the outcome, I am thankful for the great amount of peace that God has given to me and my family through this. I very much trust that He is in control."
Wickham posted a video about his K-Love Fan Awards nomination for "This is Amazing Grace," and encourages fans to vote for their favorite Christian artists at KLove.com.
"Needless to say, I cannot wait to get my voice back," writes Wickham - "To have a conversation with my wife. To read stories to my girls. To actually say 'I love you' back to them instead of just signing it with my hand. To write and sing songs. I can't wait."