Rhema Word

Rhema’s name (pronounced RAY-MAH) means “the spoken word.”  In the Bible, the Greek translation for rhema is “God’s Word revealed.”  One of our favorite Bible verses that contains the “rhema word” is Romans 10:8,9.  I quote this verse every night to our daughter when I tuck her in to bed:

“..The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

We named our daughter Rhema with a vision that she would always speak and share the wonderful Truth about salvation in Christ.  We hold on to that vision, and for us, her name is a promise.

Rhema was diagnosed with autism at age 2 in 2006.  Months later she received a diagnosis of a seizure disorder and a feeding disorder.  The seizure activity is continuous in the regions of her brain that govern speech and language comprehension.  At age four, Rhema is still nonverbal.  But we continue to hope that Rhema will one day be able to communicate in spoken language.

This video can also be viewed on the Five For Fighting website where money is being raised for Autism Speaks.


*****An update to this page. In September 2009, I posted the following:

So here’s a recap,
Rhema is a 5 ½ years old with autism, aphasia, and a seizure disorder – all of which make it extremely difficult… no, nearly impossible for her to speak and understand language.

When last tested, Rhema had the expressive and receptive language of a 12-month old.

For years I wondered how/why God would give us a daughter named Rhema – a name that means the “spoken word” – that could not, would not speak. Now I know that it was, as my twin would say, the perfect setup. The perfect setup for God to do something amazing with The Word.

Readers of this blog know that I have quoted a verse to Rhema every night since she was a baby. It never seemed like she was listening. But she was. Recently she began saying parts of the verse on her own. Of all the countless hours of language-based therapy she has received, no one taught her this…

This Word is in her heart, and now, it’s in her mouth.

Over the past year of blogging I have been blessed and surprised at the care and interest people have shown toward Rhema and our family. Many have cheered the ups and endured the downs with us for over a year now. Many have prayed for Rhema.

Come and listen to what the Lord has done.

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:8,9)

I want to tell everyone I know that God is the Speech Maker. He alone can heal… and give words to the one with no voice. With Him, nothing is impossible.

If you can spare a quiet 3 minutes and 40 seconds:

44 thoughts on “Rhema Word

  1. Pingback: Sense of Self « Autism In a Word

    • Hi 🙂 I was referred here by a lady I met at a training I attended tonight and I just wanted to say that you are doing a wonderful job! 2 years ago we were told that my 4 (then 2 year old) would never walk or talk in her life). She has over a dozen words and can walk across any room. I think it’s awesome that you not only talk about (seems that all of what most special needs blogs are, a lot of talk about the joy, without going out and living it) but it seems (like going to the pumpkin patch) that you live it and embrace the brave new world we’re in. We try to do that every day.

  2. My niece, Mary Helene, sent me this link. This was the most beautiful video I have seen. You have a precious daughter. And my prayers will be that all your dreams will come true for Rhema and your family.

  3. Pingback: In Her Heart « Autism In a Word

  4. I am so touched by this website…I have a little one age 4 who is also nonverbal, and has experienced many of the same issues.

    I am also encouraged with how you’ve stuck in there spiritually….something I can say I haven’t done so well. I have one other special needs child and another typical child, and I have to say I’ve had times of high hopes, unbelievable anger, complete exhaustion, joy….feeling totally alone, scared, with feeling like I had/have no support around me. Well, I could go on and on, but it’s wonderful to have found this website.

  5. I never fail to catch up on your blog while I work night shift! You have a way of giving each challenge humor and hope. Have a Great Mother’s Day!

  6. I have heard God’s word through Rehma. The gift of speech is not the only gift used to spread his message. I am halfway across the country and I doubt I would never have been introduced to you if it was not for your beautiful daughter. When I read your posts I am reminded that God is still listening, God loves all of his children, and God did not send me to endure this trial alone, there are others that have felt my pain. Thank You for helping me to become closer to a God that loves me as I am. I pray that you will hear Rehma’s voice in all of its heavenly glory, but if you never do know that she is spreading God’s word through her personal trials and triumphs.

  7. Pingback: And I Am Helped « Autism In a Word

  8. Pingback: Come and Listen « Autism In a Word

  9. As I watched the video of your beautiful, complex little girl, I thought to myself, “What potential!” I believe with allmy heart that she has the potential to get better and better.

    Her situation so mirrors that of my 5 year old son, Nathan. The looks on her face, the rountines and relays…the things others may not think have a purpose, yet they do.

    Our children are amazingly complex and simple, both. So brilliant and blank, so full and empty. We, because of them, are growing in our knowledge, our patience, our strength, our faith, our hope…..and absolutely, our LOVE.

    I admire the way in which you honor your daughter. Your love is apparent, your faith resonates through your journals and it bears witness to all who have the fortune of sharing in these expressions with you.

    As a fellow “ASD mom” with a full heart, I feel that I know you; Somehow, in you, I simply recognize “me”. I think, more than “know” you, I truly “feel” you….

    If ever you wonder if I may, too, be a reflection of you, please read through some of my postings on http://www.hopechestkeepsakes.com. I have a feeling you will “feel” me, too. God bless each and every one of you.

    Vicki in Cincinnati

  10. This video made me cry, so touching. I have been on my own journey with my daughter….and it IS a journey. She has blossomed this past year, continuing to make progress, I will keep you and your family in my prayers, you have a beautiful daughter 🙂

  11. Thank you for sharing this video of Rhema and your family. She has a beautiful spirit and her laugh is contagious! As an OT, I meet so many amazing children and families! I am blessed that they open up their world to me and allow me to share in the joy of their accomplishments. May this New Year be filled with blessings for your beautiful family!

  12. Pingback: Learning to Speak « Autism In a Word

  13. Just saw your video for the first time, still have tears. Your daughters are beautiful (I know what you mean about the “work schedule”, but wish I didn’t). Loving thoughts to you & your family, from another mom in the neighborhood.

  14. I was wondering…Could you help me win a grant for our autism program? The more voters the better. Feel free to email me and I can tell you more. It would be amazing if you could post it on your website. The grant is from the Clorox website (Power a Brighter Future) and voting began today (Oct. 24). My school is in Evans, GA, though we are trying to win the grant for our entire county. Email me if you can help!

  15. Hi. I came across your blog while searching for sources that provide support for families dealing with autism. The description of your daughter Rhema’s name was beautifully written and explained and I found myself engulfed in your website.

    The reason I was searching for sources regarding autism is because I am a student journalist at Stony Brook University working on my capstone project for graduation. For my project, which will result in a full blown website including video and photos, I want to focus on how autism affects an entire family–including other siblings, the marriage, finances, etc.

    I was wondering if you would possibly be interested in talking to me about your own experience. If you are, please do contact me at rachelchinapen@gmail.com.

    Best wishes,
    Rachel Chinapen

  16. HI, know you are not alone in your journey. There are many of us out there that have walked down your path. Stay strong for Rhema as you will have to fight and insist to get the best for her from whatever “system” you are in, i.e. school, state, county etc.
    My son with Autism is now 21 and about to exit his program with the school system. You are your child’s best advocate. She will learn. “They” said my son would never write. He now has the most beautiful handwriting of anyone I know.
    Stay strong, you have a beautiful family.
    Jenny Traverso

  17. Pingback: Hanging on to every Word « Autism In a Word

  18. Pingback: On the understanding « Autism In a Word

  19. I have a son named Titus, that has austim. After Titus was tested, I cried out to God in pray and the Lord spoke to my spirit and told me he will perfect that which concerns me: Psalms 138:8, he would perfect that which concerns me. Shortly after Titus was tested, I noticed him saying The Lords Prayer, that he heard his other siblings saying in the morning before school. I prayed and said, Lord surely if that baby can learn your word, he will do fine in school and make a difference in the life of orthers. When he started kindergarten, and sometimes he would upset, I would have him say, iI can do all things through Christ who strenghts me. Titus is just about to complete 2nd grade, he is in a mainstrem classroom, he has resource. He has all As and one C in handwriting. We pray every night before we do homework.

    I am sharing this with you, to encourage you not to get weary in well doing. Please know that Lord has Rhema, and when he brings her completely forth, the world will for ever be changed. Gods word can not return void. Continue to plant the word of God in her, that is the best thing you could ever do!!!

    Thank you for sharing your story with

  20. Hi My name is Elaine and I’m raising money for Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. They have ‘Walk Now’ events in different American cities throughout the year. The 2013 Walk Now for Autism Speaks is coming up next month in Chicago.
    As a mother of autistic children and a famous blogger on the topic of autism, I guess my project might be something of your interest (Please check out https://www.u-wish.com/wishdetails?w_id=272).
    U-wish is a start-up crowd-funding website, not for profit. We want to create more charitable projects on our platform. All pledges are tax deductible and will be sent to the Autism Speaks Foundation after the fund raising goal is met. Funds will be used to help educate people about autism, continue research into the cause and cure of autism, and help families cope with autism in their family. I’d appreciate if you would like to pledge or simply spread the word. Thanks for your attention and help!

  21. hi dose she use sign langue that langue im fluent in asl i have autism an ld an some of my other family members do to .she may speak but asl s speaking to .,i was more severe when younger .im hfa now i still struggle at times but im ok i have friends like me anb we do stuff .you can be happy if your family is happy with u .i was self abuive but on meds helps pluse my langue being better helps to .it hard when u cant tell anyone what wtong like when your sick an stuff

  22. We have a 3.5 year old daughter named Selah and are awaiting to hear her first words too 🙂 Holding fast to the confession of our hope for He who has promised is faithful. Love hearing Rhema speaking His Word 🙂 What a beautiful family you all are!

  23. I hope this book will give you the hope that one day Rhema will have a normal life.
    Memoir of an Unlikely Savior by Peter VanDenBeemt.If you have a look at my blog there you can see more about it.

    All the best to you and kisses for little Rhema

  24. God bless you all. I came across this website while searching for babynames. Your story’s inspired me alot. Thank you.

  25. Pingback: Let’s review |

  26. I give God all the glory cos He is a Great God indeed He does things when we list expect it. He is a miracle working God. He has started He good work on Rehma He will finish it and His word will not depart from you Rehma baby, you are blessed in all things in the mighty name of Jesus Amen. i love you Rehma.

  27. Hi. I Thot I would share this with you. About 3 years ago, i felt The Lord leading me to take communion with a man that was struggling with seizures. I visited him and we took communion and declared the promises of the cross. He was having at least 2 seizures per day. After we took communion it stopped completely and was back at wk 3 weeks later. Your faith is very encouraging. Blessings

  28. “Readers of this blog know that I have quoted a verse to Rhema every night since she was a baby. It never seemed like she was listening. But she was. Recently she began saying parts of the verse on her own. Of all the countless hours of language-based therapy she has received, no one taught her this…”

    I am reminded that indeed…

    “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…”
    Hebrews 4:12

  29. Pingback: Help you speak |

  30. Praise the Lord. The Lord will continue to strenghten your family. Rhema will advance in speaking the word by His grace.

  31. What a beautiful child, Thank you for sharing this precious Word, Rhema. You will continue us to see, Rhema manifested in God’s purpose.I also have a child who did not talk, and was diagnosed with autism tendencies. He started using sentences at 12 years old. Now, at 38 years old he talks.He has his own way of communicating using statements, gestures, different sounds, movements. He sounds different than others, but he does mean what he says, does not lie, an requires the truth from others. He is a blessing to know, Unfortunately, because of his difference, people ignore what he is saying and will not allow him a voice nor will they acknowledge him as a man with choice. So he has to live incarcerated in someone else’s limited choice for him, someone that do not care to even get to know him or regard him as a person. When people continue to lock him into their life, and refuse him a life, he eventually trys to break loose. But God has blessed him to talk and will cause people to listen. He is named after the disciple that Jesus loved.

  32. Hello! I just want to say that you are doing a WONDERFUL job as Rhema’s mother and number one supporter! God see’s your hard work and your unwavering faith and it will not go in vain. Keep it up! Even when things seem to be moving slow or not at all, God is with you! Do not be defeated, hold on tight to his word; (Rhema), for in it, lies the truth! And remember, when we let go, He takes control! I am delighted to see that God has given her speech. And it will only get better as time passes. Rhema will be restored soon and will be a living, speaking testimony in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen!
    I’m sending you my love and prayers! 🙂

  33. My husband and I will be in agreement with you that Rhema will be completely and totally healed by our Lord and Saviour Jesus. God is the divine healer the Great Physican. We are expecting great things for her and we know that satan will do anything to try and stop or steal God’s word from our heart but the bible also says we can take authority over Satan but there’s something we have to do also and that is what you are doing,BELIEVING GOD’S WORD IS TRUE. Manifestation is coming and God gets all the glory. God is love and love never fails.

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