Faith In Her

Rhema started at a new school in January, and we are absolutely thrilled. She received after-school therapy there for years, and the teachers and staff know and love her well. They get her, and just have an amazing way of helping Rhema growing and learn. Her transition to a full day student has been seamless.

The past month a number of assessments have been performed. From previous experience I know that these tests tend to knock me off my feet. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for a while not to get upset or discouraged by the results.

I had a meeting with Rhema’s team last week. Sometimes these meetings leave me in a strange, emotional place. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I now attend so many of these meetings without Brandon. Perhaps it’s because I never imagined that I would be at one of these meetings – ballet, violin, gifted and talented – sure, but not this.

We went over some of the assessments. Everything was tested from Eating to Safety to Imitation. The results were presented in charts with particular skills listed along the bottom and then the percent independence (from 0 to 100) along the side. As expected, her numbers were low in many areas. For example, “Eye contact in response to name” was 15%. We all chuckled when we got to the Gross Motor chart – she scored 100% in “Exercise.”

Then we got to the chart on Expressive Language. There was nothing on it – no bars or lines or anything.

I flipped the chart vertically. I turned it over. Just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

“I’m afraid it’s not a typo,” Mr. Tim said gently.

Blank page. Goose egg. Zero percent. No expressive ID of objects. No expressive ID of pictures. No expressive ID of familiar people. No expressive ID of objects in the environment.

Not a shocker. But a shock, nonetheless, to see it there (or not there) in black and white.

As I stared at the page, memories from the past few years filled my head. The countless hours of speech therapy on weekdays and weekends, the doctors in Boston and New York, the non-conventional therapies, the diets, the supplements – from methylB-12 shots in the rear end to a smelly foot cream. And oh, the prayers and prayers for speech, our only biggest request of all time.

And here we are, she’s almost 6 years old, and there’s not a single, solitary 1 percent of expressive language on the chart.

I felt the silence of the long, unanswered prayer. I sat with it for a minute in that meeting room. And did my best to smile.

I felt like David the psalmist. How long, O Lord? And why??? Why would you not give us what we ask?

I remembered the reflections of Ann Voskamp. And God’s words to Abram in his many years of pain and waiting for the promise, and said, “I am God Almighty, El Shaddai.” Meaning “I am God Almighty who is all sufficient, the God who is More Than Enough.”

More than enough. Meeting after meeting, day by day, moment by moment.

“But it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency…. Is it so? When I do not have what I would ask for—peace, certainty, painless days, settled nights — when I don’t have all that my soul cries for, it is then I stumble into the mysterious, buoying truth: He is enough.

In the midst of these hard, tiring days, and unanswered prayers, He says, “I am enough. Come and know me, the all-sufficient God.”  God, there’s no way I can do this life on my own. May we find Him to be El Shaddai, our more than enough.


The meeting ended. Mr. Tim looked at me and said simply,

“I have faith in her.”

I thought of my crazy, curly-haired girl. I thought of her speaking words from her verse.

Yes. Faith in her, faith in Him.

27 thoughts on “Faith In Her

  1. Our girls are SO similar. Our tests would have much the same results.

    Faith in Rhema… faith in God’s word revealed…

    Faith in Joy, too.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. Dear Jenielle, Thank you for sharing your faith, your fears, your tears and smiles. May God continue to bless you THROUGH all of the above and also through those beautiful daughters of yours.

  3. Have faith and keep fighting for Rhema! Bring a friend to lend emotional support at the next meeting. They can’t deny them being there. I dislike going to those alone myself.

  4. I pray for Rhema…she has touched my heart without me ever meeting her.

    I may have mentioned this in an e-mail, but my younger brother (grown now with severe autism) was not expected to ever talk. We were sitting in the car one day and he was 12 and he started singing “Happy Birthday.” Just out of the blue. My mom started crying. He has developed many other words and sentences since that day.

    God is faithful. And there is always hope. God bless you…

  5. The more than enough quote has informed so much of the last few years, Neally. It and this post are incredibly powerful. Hard to express exactly how much. Thanks!!

  6. There’s a beautiful girl at Nashoba … Her chart was blank too .. until she turned 12. She’s talking up a storm now.

    I know it’s hard. I do. Don’t give up. Mr. Tim is right. He who began a good work in Rhema will be faithful to complete it.

    Love you. How about a girls night out soon? Or we could bring girls night to you if that’s easier.

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