Friday, April 20, 2012

No Words.

Several months ago, my sweet, smart baby boy was not yet talking. He uttered a few mumbled consonants together erratically, so we grew concerned, especially as friends with children who had received speech therapy noticed the same thing.

He seemed to have no words.

Let's face it, between his sisters and his mama, it's probably because he could not get a word in edgewise.
But I digress.
So I picked up the phone and asked for speech help. Ty qualified for an amazing program called "First Steps" through some testing, and we were lined up with a therapist.

Some of you may know that God has deeply enriched our lives by providing a whole tribe of people to encourage the well-being of our family, including an old and fantastic friend as an Early Head Start home visitor, two beautiful ladies for our children's case management, and a long list of others for whom we are truly grateful. The First Steps therapist placed with us was, like the others, truly sent by God to our family.

The First Steps coordinator allowed me to look through a grouping of qualified therapists willing to work in the Bicknell area, but warned me that my first choice, a ministry acquaintance named Brittany McMillan whose husband was also a pastor from the same denomination a few miles down the road, already had someone and due to family commitments only took one client at a time.

I threw up a prayer for God to send the right person and put it out of my mind. He had been faithful with all the other people who interacted with our children, so my faith had been increased. I knew He could be trusted!

At just the right time, Brittany's schedule cleared. She started working with Ty once a week.

During the therapy sessions, as we began to work on Ty's communication skills, the two of us began to share our hearts for the Lord, dreams about the kingdom of God, and how we felt called to be a voice and make a difference. I spoke about our journey toward foster care, and learned that Brittany and her husband Ian were also passionate about justice for orphans. The more we visited during Ty's sessions, the more we realized we had in common!

Around the same time, Brittany was also approached about being a part of the Lightbearers conference planning team. God brought us together yet again. Our friendship extended past the two of us and our families started hanging out together. She also has small children so there was no judgment when they acted like tiny heathens, only compassion and a knowing smile.

Come to think of it, for a boy with no words, Ty was LOUD!  Grin.

Brittany came in one day and said that she and Ian felt led to help our family raise awareness about foster care.  She offered their church's pulpit for an evening to talk about fostering and also with an idea called Pampering for Pajamas, which would go on to raise over two THOUSAND dollars for pajamas and Bibles for foster kids.

We talked about all manner of things ministry-related, and when I told her I was starting a women's bible study, she not only came, but invited some friends to share in fellowship with us. She encouraged me when I spoke, and sent me texts promising prayers and giving hope. She had a home party to support ministries that aid trafficked women and children all over the world, and I went with a heart full of thanks for a friend who put her time and energy behind her passion.

After a few weeks, Ty began to talk. A whole lot.

I slowly began to realize that God had allowed him to be silent so that His glory might be revealed in a greater measure.  I prayed my son would speak, but God did me one better.  

 Remember the story of the man who was blind from birth? Now I am not comparing my son's slight speech delay with the severity of a disability like blindness in any way.   But Ty's speech issues were resolved as soon as God's purposes were fulfilled in bringing our two families together to do life and ministry.

Did God cause it? An emphatic NO.

Did God fulfill His promise to make all things work together for good in this situation? Absolutely.

Now it's this mama who has no words because of the overwhelming gratitude in my heart for the love of the Lord who never wastes a struggle big or small, a hold-up, a closed door, a frustration, a tear or a broken past.

Get real, it's a rare thing and an act of God to leave me speechless.

There is always redemption right over the horizon, no matter what has come our way in the dark.

Now we count Brittany and her family as a bog part of our true Biblical community, sharpeners of iron, friends and fellow laborers in God's Kingdom.

I am taking the liberty to wax nostalgic on the blog tonight because my heart is, divided, torn clean in two from great joy and sadness.

Ian and Brittany have been called to another church and more miles will separate us when they move. We are incredibly excited for their new ministry opportunity, but we will miss them at the table to celebrate birthdays and it won't be the same at the park without them.

I am thankful for God's gracious plan that brought Brittany to our doorstep and we know that same faithful God goes before them to make their paths straight.
I trust that our hearts will forever be knitted by the language of the Spirit of God, which needs no words to communicate thankfulness for good friends to join us on the path.

Brittany, it has been my pleasure to learn from you and your family.  You have taught me about humility, agape love, and the beauty of simplicity. We have been honored to share our lives with you and we look forward to maintaining our friendship! I believe in the power of God in you to change your corner of this world and I hope you get just as excited about the work of God as Ty does about a tricycle! I wish I could adequately express my love and appreciation, but there seem to be no words.

Your friend and cheerleader,