Under the Surface

By Michael Agnew
In eLetter
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no matter how old i get

i can’t seem to loosen the grip

of fear from my lips

i used to have a stutter and a lisp

and for years my s’s would “thound like thith”

and that embarrassment runs so deep

to where even now the brief remnants of my stutter and lisp

play a much bigger emphasis on my life than i care to admit

under the surface my mind can’t seem to forget

the not too silent diss from the kids

in middle school saying

“silly Michael spit it out”

“he sounds like porky the pig with a sponge in his mouth!”

soaking up all of the S syllables with my tongue

as I stumbled over my words

until i just stopped speaking

so my stutter wouldn’t be heard

i know that may sound absurd

but i used to think i was just this little dude

whose throat swelled up in interviews

for fear that stuttering is not what winners do

But miraculously one day God said

“Michael, in your weakness my glory will shine through.”

I don’t fully know what happened

It was definitely not from any of my actions

but like a Holy Spirit chemical reaction

My fear of my stutter was overcome

So now my life is dedicated to those who think

they don’t have much to offer

Who think that God can’t use them because

they are too awkward

My poetry is for the ones who think no one notices

Whose days are filled with hopelessness

I am living proof that YOU have a purpose

And that your testimony is so much deeper

and so much more than what is on the surface

The above poem is featured in Michael's book Through the Storm, a collection of honest, conversational poems that explore the places where faith and fear meet.

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