How she understands

“Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious…”
~John O’Donohue


Brandon is home for the holiday. It’s a quick visit – he’s been away on a military assignment for months and has two months left to go.

He did the planes, trains and automobiles to get home. The girls and I were to pick him up at the train station.

But Rhema was in meltdown mode. She had been tantrumming in the kitchen for nearly an hour. And now I was asking her to do something outside the normal routine. I just knew I was going to have a hard time getting her shoes and pants on and getting her to the car.

 If only I could communicate with her! If only she could understand. I could explain that we’re just going for a ride – she won’t even have to get out of the car.

“Rhema, we’re going bye-bye!”

I reached out to her and she resisted. She grew more upset and moved up the stairs to her room.

This was not going to be pretty.

“Rhema, come on. Let’s go!”

“Rhema, we’re going to go get Daddy!”

What happened next was nothing short of amazing. Her expression changed, she stopped resisting.

She was listening.

I said it again, slowly,

“We’re going to get Daddy, Rhema. We’re going to get Daddy.”

Instantly she stood up and went down the stairs and headed to the garage.

I just stood there for a moment with my mouth open, letting the realization sink in. She understands!!!

Before I could even get her pants and shoes on, she ran out the door, jumped in the car and buckled herself in.

I drove to the train station amazed and overjoyed.

(This is big, y’all, this is bigger than big!)

All of the terms that have been applied to her over the years – auditory processing disorder, “word deafness”, Landau Kleffner syndrome , ‘very little receptive language’ –  she ‘d just turned on their heads.

We’ve been getting a sense for some time that she’s understanding language more and more, but it was never so clear, so meaningful as in that moment.

The words I’d said to her were heard and understood! And now they had to come true. It was suddenly so important for to see Brandon get off that train.

Thank the Lord, he did. He went to Rhema right away, and they shared such a sweet reunion.

As they held on to each other, my heart filled. Truly, it felt like waking up. 

And I probably sounded silly but I couldn’t stop saying,

“I told you, baby. See? We got Daddy. I told you. I told you.”


34 thoughts on “How she understands

  1. Wow! I recently had a similiar incident like this with G.T., it was awesome. I always knew he understood what we were saying, but it was so rewarding to such a concrete confirmation. I’m so happy for your break through. Rhema you are amazing!

  2. I know I should have better words, but they aren’t coming through the tears here. So all I have is “YAY!!”
    and I’m so glad he’s home for you this weekend. so so so glad.

  3. Tears are in my eyes right now! Brandon is home for a bit and Rhema understands! That’s huge! Keep praying. Keep fighting. Keep working for Rhema. Never give up.

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

  4. Of course she understands. She takes it all in and processes what is meaningful to her. Daddy is a powerful force to reckon with in a little girl’s heart…autism or no. So thankful your husband is home to fill your heart and ease your load if only for a few days. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend full of celebration of all that is good and wonderful. And, thank you, Brandon, for your service.

  5. So glad Brandon is home for the holiday and hope the next couple of months fly fast so he can be home for a while.
    Yay for Rhema, I’m sure she processes and understand so much, but I love that she showed it so clearly with something so powerful as her love and longing for daddy.

  6. The only words that I can think of after I just read this are: “Joyful, Joyful, we adore you, God of Glory Lord of Love”……Yes, miracles do happen!!!
    I am so happy for all of you!!! Enjoy this time together.
    I am also do the happy dance for you guys too!!!

  7. I know what it is like to wonder how much your child is understanding….
    It is so hard to describe to another parent who has not been there.

    EVERY time I see evidence that Daniel has understood….. Oh, I am left wondering just how much he knows that I don’t know he knows. Ya know??????? 😉

    Love, love, love this post!

  8. Amazing!!!!
    I hope you find more and more words that turn out to be keys like this, that unlock her like that and let her really understand what’s going on and respond to it. I believe that you will! 😀

  9. What a prescription for hope filled just when you needed it! She does understand!!!! What a miracle and a blessing!! I am celebrating with you over this victory and the power of a Father and his daughter!!

  10. Yes, this is huge! And so wonderful. The quote you wrote at the beginning of the post couldn’t be more perfect – and true. And I’m so glad you got to have some time together.

  11. My heart is full of happiness right now after reading this. Moments like this are so beautiful. I’m glad you were able to have 1 less “fight” to get her ready and out the door. Must’ve felt like a mini vacation 🙂 I know when I have easy mornings before school I feel like I can conquer the world.

  12. “And I probably sounded silly but I couldn’t stop saying,

    “I told you, baby. See? We got Daddy. I told you. I told you.” ”
    oh come on jenile do not hesitate to express yourself…..we all are happy seeing the happiness swelling in you….and keep going with good spirit rhema….glad for u guys that major is back…. 🙂


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