God Isn’t Finished With Your Story
When I was five, my favorite story my mother tells about time I stent with my Mama Pruden was how she would tell my mom: “Sarah talked my ear off!” Words are how I feel loved.
You see, as a lover of words, it feels funny to say I have a nonverbal daughter. I never dreamed I’d be on this path, but here I am. I’m looking around at the view and it is awe-inspiring. It sin’t easy, but any beauty cost a little, doesn’t it?
If you had told me almost three years if I thought we would still be struggling to form words, I would have been devastated. Instead I love how God has shown me His hand, and changed this word-loving-girl into someone who values communication – not just words.
You see, I’ve found words are just ONE way to communicate. Even though my daughter struggles and can’t express herself with words, she communicates. She may be nonverbal, but she is not non-communicative. I’ll never forget one day I woke her up from a nap and we had our first conversation:
First, she made the sign for butterfly
Did you dream about a butterfly? I asked.
She shook her hand, signing yes.
Was it big or small? I smiled to the sleepy child.
Small, she signed.
What color was it?
White, she said with a huge smile.
The timing of this simple conversation was a gift from God. You see, the previous night my husband and I were discussing how our girl couldn’t verbally “talk.” How we were going to parent and prepare her for the world? She can understand every word that is spoken to her, but cannot answer back. How would she navigate a world with so much emphasis on having a voice? The questions hit me as I rocked her to sleep.
What were sleepovers going to be like?
What if I’m not around?
How would they understand if they didn’t know sign language?
What if she gets hurt?
Will I ever hear the sound of her voice?
My heart ached to think she would be confined to a life without talking. The next day she and I had that simple conversation about the butterfly. A conversation to remind me – God was still writing her story. He isn’t finished yet. If she could tell me about a white butterfly, she could communicate other things as well.
Is it hard? Yes. Oh my yes. We have meltdowns weekly (used to be daily, but its getting better!) We’ve struggled with connection because she cannot verbal say “I love you…” And I thought I wouldn’t be able see deep inside her heart because she can’t tell me. So many days we play the “yes-no” game.
Do you want mac n cheese for lunch?
Do you want lemonade to drink?
Do you want to watch this show?
Let me tell you what I’ve learned (so far) God isn’t finished with anyone’s story.
We struggled with our daughter and we still struggle. No longer am I just waiting for her to “catch up” – now we are looking at ways for her – and us -to adapt to this new normal. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. You see, I didn’t know it, but she has taught me more about love, forgiveness, acceptance, joy, and happiness than any of my speaking children combined.
We don’t know what her future will hold, but God is still working. So many people (including myself) are walking “new normals” in their lives. Divorce. Cancer. Death. Separation. Hurt. It all brings us to a place where we think we are at the end. The book isn’t closed. Our daughter may never talk, but God will be faithful to keep writing her story.
Her tenacity for life, even though we don’t know what her future is going to be like, gives me courage. It gives me hope that if God is faithfully writing her story, He is still writing my story. The book isn’t over. It is not the end. The loving compassion in the deepest hurts will stay faithful through it all. No mater where you find yourself today. Don’t give up.
Here are three truths and scripture
So friend. How can I pray for you? Are you in the middle of a hard “new normal”? Let me pray for you. Email me here and I’d love to life you up.
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