I watch a young girl walk the aisle and join her father a few rows up from us in church. She leans over and says something to him, and they both chuckle. When the congregation stands to sing, she turns the pages in the hymnal and sings along. She is fascinating to me – with just the right dose of maturity and animation.
Several times she glances back at us curiously as Rhema’s babbling and humming pierces the quiet sanctuary. That’s when I realize they are about the same age, and for a moment it takes my breath away. Often I’m at a loss for what is age appropriate.
Oh yes, this is what it looks like, neurotypical eight.
The easy conversation. The independence. The eyes, the focused, available eyes. The sky-is-the-limit possibilities. The ability. The ability to read, do after-school sports, go potty on your own, have rich friendships.
I want it so bad. How I want it for Rhema, for me. I try hard to guard against discontentment, but it has a way of creeping in and catching me by the throat.
I close my eyes. Maybe this has all been a long, wild dream. And maybe God has shown me amazing things, taught me so much through this dream, and I am forever changed and so grateful for the lessons. But when I open my eyes the dream will be over, I’ll have my heart’s desire, I’ll know my Rhema girl with no disabilities…
But if not now. If not here. Lord, one day. I know one glorious day we will be disability-free, pain-free, sin-and-sadness-free. As my friend L wrote: ‘i cried when i imagined Rhema, who doesn’t necessarily respond at all when you call her name, rising up at Jesus’ voice calling her. i pictured her hearing him and responding, unhindered by autism. autism and epilepsy will be non-factors.’ She’ll lift her head and dance upon gold-paved streets. She will open her mouth and sing praises to her Lord forever.
I open my eyes and can almost imagine her smiling and leaning over to whisper a joke. But no, her head is bowed. She’s still happy-humming, still perfectly Rhema, and I still can’t believe I get to be her mama. And she’s still autistic.
And He is sufficient.