Come and Listen

I enjoy blogging and will probably continue, but I am convinced that this post is the culmination for Autism In A Word. I cannot imagine that there will ever be a post here as good and meaningful as this one.

So here’s a recap,
Rhema is a 5 ½ years old with autism, aphasia, and a seizure disorder – all of which make it extremely difficult… no, nearly impossible for her to speak and understand language.

When last tested, Rhema had the expressive and receptive language of a 12-month old.

For years I wondered how/why God would give us a daughter named Rhema – a name that means the “spoken word” – that could not, would not speak. Now I know that it was, as my twin would say, the perfect setup. The perfect setup for God to do something amazing with The Word.

Readers of this blog know that I have quoted a verse to Rhema every night since she was a baby. It never seemed like she was listening. But she was. Recently she began saying parts of the verse on her own. Of all the countless hours of language-based therapy she has received, no one taught her this…

This Word is in her heart, and now, it’s in her mouth.

Over the past year of blogging I have been blessed and surprised at the care and interest people have shown toward Rhema and our family. Many have cheered the ups and endured the downs with us for over a year now. Many have prayed for Rhema.

Come and listen to what the Lord has done.

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:8,9)

I want to tell everyone I know that God is the Speech Maker. He alone can heal… and give words to the one with no voice. With Him, nothing is impossible.

If you can spare a quiet 3 minutes and 40 seconds:

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72 thoughts on “Come and Listen

  1. the tears are flowing like rain .. that is the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen

    rhema will guide us all

    as her mom does

    love you, girl

    that will undoubtedly be the best birthday present brandon could ever dream of. (please wish him all our love tomorrow)

  2. you made me cry over my morning cuppa
    What a marvelous way to start the day
    Love your voice and ofcourse Rhema’s voice
    I was thinking of Natatlie Merchant’s song Wonder and the verse that goes like this
    “O, I believe
    Fate smiled and destiny
    Laughed as she came to my cradle
    Know this child will be able
    Laughed as she came to my mother
    Know this child will not suffer
    Laughed as my body she lifted
    Know this child will be gifted
    With love, with patience and with faith
    She’ll make her way”

  3. Oh this is so amazing! Jeneil, God will be honored through your faithfulness and trust in Him. This is such a testimony to Him. I will praise Him all day today, through my tears, for His allowing us to see this miracle. Thank you for sharing. What do doctors know??? ;-}
    Psalm 68 1-4

  4. “The perfect setup for God to do something amazing”

    You always take it back to where it belongs.

    God’s promises, captured on film. She’s using her words; using them to witness to others. Wow.

  5. Isaiah 55:11
    “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please , and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

    I am speechless. Glory to God.

  6. I’m a waterfall at work and don’t even care. I can’t see the words I’m typing. “Speechless.” What can I possibly say? Thank you, Jesus….

  7. Though I can’t see-nor hear it, due to some restrictions at work…I believe it! Thank you Jesus!

    I saw the scripture on her door just the other day as I was helping around the house, getting it fall nd winter ready. I was blessed then at your faithful determination-both you and Brandon. Praise God! There is more to come. To Him all the Glory! Amen.

  8. AHHHH!!!! Oh, Jeneil, did you ever hear more beautiful words in your life?! I told you “5” was the year of grace! :-D

    I loved the eye contact that accompanied those precious words, too.

    Oh, thank You Father God for Your goodness, Your faithfulness, Your love, and Your Rhema.

    “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly …” (Colossians 3:16)

    “… we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us … (Romans 5:4-5)

    (I’m not sure if I’m laughing or crying right now!)

  9. The Word is near indeed!! God is so amazing. I love how He is blessing you and filling your mouths with praise!!

    I could heartily “second” many of the above comments; the Scriptures shared are perfect!

    May God continue to bless you with sweet gifts from Him!!

  10. oh, how sweet the words! i understand how so many of your friends shed tears as they watched her. and, yet, i did not shed any, much to my surprise. instead, i just felt this tremendous joy — almost like my heart was going to leap from my chest. sorry i cannot think of better words to describe it, but how i loved to see — and hear — your beautiful Rhema.

  11. Listening to it made me cry. God indeed is the miracle worker. He gave you the name. He gave you the verse. He gave you the prayer. And then He answered. Love so Amazing!

  12. She is such a beautiful sight to see and hear. I am so happy for her that she was able to make such good eye contact and participate with you in a verse she must feel in her bones.

    Such an amazing achievement – amazing progress.

  13. Rhema, your daddy is so proud of you! You keep going…I have been praying since I left that you’d be talking when I get home from Iraq. I can’t tell you how excited I am that the Lord has started your speech with His Word. How could He start you, Rhema, on your speech with anything else?

  14. PRAISE GOD!!! Jeneil, your labor of love is not in vain. This is so powerful! Rhema is so precious! Thank you for sharing your journey so visibly to others!

  15. Thanks for the post about Rhema speaking. Praise God. You and Brandon are a demonstration of the Lord’s grace through your parenting. We understad that it has not been easy as we have had varioius struggles with our children’s health.

    Love you guys. tom

  16. Rhema your words are a light in my soul and my heart is filled with hope and joy like an eternal flame. You will never utter anything more beautiful or more powerful than the word of God. Your voice will never be any more precious than it is when you speak his truth. And all my thanks is to him. I love you little one.

    O Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

    Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

  17. All praises to Rhema’s Creator!! We are on this journey together, though strangers, you and I. Our Julia is 12 and also didn’t speak until about Rhema’s age. Now she talks incessantly – it is purely by God’s power she is doing so well! With speech has come lots of conversational OCD. I am an introvert, and so most days I am utterly spent, emotionally. And yet, God continually speaks LOUDLY to me of His CONSTANT presence (I should write a book). Oh how He loves these precious ones and is watching over them!!!! We are bystanders on this amazing ride, as we are privileged to experience the nearness of God through our Autism children. May God bless you, and continue to be your strength.

  18. This is the evidence that the Lord our God answers prayers!!!!! Hallelujah!!! All the glory belongs to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!! I am speechless, astonished and amazed at the wonders of His grace!!

  19. That is amazing! Not only was she saying the words right in time, she was looking at you and focusing and not all over the place, but was very engaged and just wonderful. To God be the glory great things HE has done.
    No one could EVER convince me that God’s word doesn’t have power! As you said, all the hours and years of language therapy, God’s Word comes fourth. If that is all Rhema gets, that word is more than enough.
    I have to give you praise Neily. Your faithfulness in giving the word to your daughter every night makes all the difference in the world. God always does miraculous things, but most of the time it’s thru people. You kept sowing the seed and now the harvest is coming. Praise the Lord for your faithfulness and not giving up on His word.
    My heart is just so filled! THANK YOU for sharing!!!! Love you!!!!!!!

  20. Thank you so much for the encouragement of the word this beautiful Sunny Sunday a.m. Jesus bless you and your family. Elaine Ray (friend of Jenee and Joel)

  21. i am late receiving this, but it is nonetheless newsworthy!! good news, miraculous speech indeed!! i love her sweet whisper voice and attentive saucer eyes:) praise God and bless you

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  26. Wow–tears again, but tears of joy. It was in her mouth because it has been instilled lovingly, faithfully into her heart.

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  28. I have a long story… but, to make it short; I have worked with children with autism for the past 6 years of my life. I recently quite my job…

    I have seen children recover in ways that were only by the hand of God. I have also seen children make minimal to no progress. I have seen families waste thousands of dollars on treatments that don’t work. I’ve seen moms fall into deep depression because they feel all alone. God broke my heart for Autism and God is calling me to change it. I don’t know what, or how, but, I’m going to let him use me to bring comfort to families and children with Autism. I’ve been praying about what this means for a long time… He just keeps telling me to pray. So, I will pray without seizing. Could you pray with me?

    I think of this verse everyday…

    “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Colossians 1:16

    If that’s true… God created autism FOR his glory. You are living proof of that. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for being an amazing woman of God. There is so much beauty in the brokeness.

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  37. I feel inspired and yet guilty at the same time for I have claimed one specific verse and spoken it to my non-verbal 7 year old every day as you have for Rhema. I do pray with him every night but I want to do as you did and whether he develops speech or not, he will know the verse and carry it in his heart and ultimately that is of the utmost importance.
    Thank you for the inspiration! You are a deep thinker and a beautiful writer!

  38. I was seaching the internet for a bible verse to get as a tattoo for my
    autistic nephew when i stumbled apon your story. I am a senior in high school and i was seaching with the extra time we had in class. I burst into tears as i read your blog. I’ll admit, i got some odd stares, but it doesn’t matter. Your story has touched my heart. Rhema and family are in my prayers. May God continue with you through life and enjoy it. :)

    Always remember little Rhema, you may be DIFFERENT BUT NEVER LESS! <3

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