Rhema was a few months shy of her 2nd birthday when she started receiving speech therapy. There was no autism diagnosis yet, but tests indicated a hearing loss due to fluid buildup in her ears. Ear tubes were quickly inserted, and we waited with baited breath for the promised language explosion.
Messages to my faithful friend Cha:
since she can hear significantly better now, the speech and language should improve. i’m praying to see major improvements very soon… like NOW.
she is starting to say some words… maybe? i still would prefer that she be quoting shakespeare by now. but there goes God teaching me patience and trust again. =) i’ve even enrolled in a speech therapy class myself – i have homework and everything! trying to do what i can to help rhema catch up…
I’m so impatient. I want her to talk, talk, talk and understand everything I teach her. She’s nowhere close to where I want her to be…
Five years and an autism and seizure diagnosis later, Rhema is still pre-verbal. Never has my desire for her to ‘talk, talk, talk’ wavered. In fact, as she grows older the longing to know her heart-thoughts — to have even just one real conversation with my girl– only intensifies.
I was thinking about a funny practice we had in my church youth group. The leader would ask if anyone had any prayer requests. Then he’d ask for “unspokens.” Those were prayers requests that you had but didn’t want to say out loud, so you just quietly raised your hand. Then we’d all pray for the “unspokens.” God heard every word, every request of the heart, even if it was unspoken.
It dawned on me that Rhema has many unspokens. Oh, how she speaks…
Her big toothy smile and giggles tell me she is so happy to be here
Her soft hums say she’s content
Her deep gaze with big brown eyes whispers ‘I know I’m safe with you’
Her spontaneous hug is the only way she knows to say thank you
Her shrieks are excitement uncontained
Her wailing usually means ‘I need cheese or a popsicle stat.’
Her very life is one beautiful, unending song: God is good!
Brandon sent the following message to a friend after Rhema’s ear tube surgery. He could not have known…:
She’s BEGINNING to talk…very little, but my estimate is that she was about 8 months behind, so I anticipate a daughter that we can’t get to stop talking in about 5 more months… You know her name means “God’s spoken word to the soul/heart” as it is used in the Bible. We always prayed that she would be a witness for Christ…and for months we were afraid that she might not even be able to hear or speak. I quietly thought that perhaps the Lord was going to use her to speak in ways that words might not be able to…that she might have a special gift of communicating or living that spoke of Jesus in speechless ways…but it was ironic that we called her that name and went thru about 1 year wondering if she would ever speak…but she won’t be silenced. Jeneil says we will always tell her of this time and the prayers we prayed…and how special her gift of speaking is…
(Smile). Sometimes God’s plans for our children are even bigger than our own.
I daresay, Rhema – and the precious ones like her – do and will speak of Him in ways that words cannot.
And I believe there will be a day (if not in this life, then in heaven) when she will hear and respond and talk and sing to her Maker forever; she will be unhindered by autism.
Until then, there is much to hear.