If you’ve read my novel, Words, and also read the reader letter included in the book, then you know many of the emotions portrayed by my characters were my own. I come from a history of childhood sexual abuse, and like Kaylee, I lost my voice–not literally–but almost.

My ability to speak truth, my ability to speak up for myself, and my ability to speak confidently were robbed from me. I was shamed into silence. I hid the truth as a means of protecting myself, and those around me. Of course, my silence only served to further the childhood abuse and contributed to emotional abuse in my adult years.

My words were so stunted that I even found praying with words difficult. Instead, I learned to sit in silence before God and simply open my mind and heart to Him. I didn’t speak. I didn’t pray silent prayers. I hoped God would search my mind and heart and know my needs and the needs of those I cared about.

Oddly, without conversing with God, I still felt we had a deep and intimate relationship. The type of intimacy that comes, perhaps, with sitting in silence with someone you love.

Then one Sunday, during the annual Palm Sunday service I attend each year in the middle of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, I bowed my head and sat in silence with God. The organ moaned in the background as communion trays were passed from one conferee to another.

And I wondered… Lord, is it okay that I don’t use words when I pray?

His response was swift and sure. You’re okay.

I’m okay? His response stunned me. And tears flowed… I’m okay?

He answered an unasked question. He’d searched my mind and heart and without me saying so, He knew what I needed.

I needed to know that in His eyes, I was okay, just as I was.

Just as I am.

You’re okay are the most tender words He’s spoken into my life. Words of acceptance. Words of forgiveness. Words of unconditional love.

In God’s eyes, you’re okay too. Do you know that?