The Joyful Sound

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound…” ~Psalm 85:15


I have such a soft spot for the voices of children with autism. Some have only just begun to talk; some never seemed to have trouble speaking at all. Some script, some have poor articulation, some are monotone and echolalic.

But to hear their voices, it just gets me. They charm me with their glorious sounds, and honestly, there are times I could dance. I know, I know what a miracle it is.

A few of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard:

Joy. I dare you to hear her and not smile; no words necessary, her joy is catching:


Brooke. I’ve listened to a bajillion renditions of Amazing Grace in my time, never one as beautiful as this:


BoyWonder. He lives up to his name and this is the sound that reminds me anything is possible:


Reid. Reid wrote and sang this song at his baptism years ago. It’s a powerful, beautiful statement of faith that still brings on the tears and goosebumps. (Scroll down to the 2nd youtube clip),


And always on the list is the sound of Rhema speaking words of her Bible verse, the one I have said to her every night since she was a baby. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard those words, but we believe they’re there in her heart, and we will hear them again.

Today we were blessed with another sound, a new song. We were all sitting in the living room having what we call “family devotion time.” Brandon prayed, Rhema began to hum softly. Anyone who reads this blog knows that Rhema hums constantly. This time was vastly different because for the first time in almost eight years we recognized a tune. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!!!

B stopped praying, no one moved and we held our breath as Rhema’s soft song filled the air. She seemed to notice that we’d all gone silent and she stopped humming. B’s voice was thick with emotion as he said,

“We hear you, Rhema.”

And then, just for us, she hummed the song again.
Just a little nursery rhyme, but there are no words to describe the beauty of it. We are amazed as she shares with us little by little all that’s inside her, all that she knows and understands. Thank you, Lord, for ears to hear Rhema’s song.

For the rest of the day we hummed and sang the tune, begging her to do it again. While I bathed her, I was able to catch a bit of it on my cell phone. It doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a taste (yeah, pump up the volume). Can you hear the joyful sound?

19 thoughts on “The Joyful Sound

  1. Love that girl’s sweet voice! Aaron is here and he said “too bad she lives far. If she was my neighbor and wanted to visit she could hum and I could play the piano and we could make music together.” So, take that as your official invitation if you ever come to Delaware. 🙂

  2. Oh, what a joyful sound!!!

    Olivia’s world is wrapped in song. But, for as much as she “sings” to the tune of so many songs, she still can only speak a couple of words to communicate her wants/needs. This summer it was “winning” for “swimming.”

    And starting last week, it is “COO-KIE.” Clear as a bell. She wheels herself into the pantry, parks herself in front of the snack shelf, and says it over and over again. Coo-kie. Our girl has had a lot of cookies… for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack…

    All because it’s our way of saying, “Sweet girl, we hear you!!!”
    Such joyful, joyful sounds.

  3. Glorious! 🙂 I never tire of hearing Nik’s sing-songy humming even when it’s (seemingly) nonsensical. There is something about the connection to music which transcends thought and speaks right to his heart and mine. BTW, Kelly doesn’t live far from me…we could make a delightful occasion of it!

  4. Pingback: Humble heart « Autism In a Word

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