Before having a chance to rest my purse on the desk, Jimmy told me the news. Dani had been crying all evening and told him, in distinct sign language, she wanted to go to the hospital so a doctor could help her talk. I stood dumbfounded at her clear request.
Glued to his side, she huddled next to him on the couch as I stood purse in hand. My heart ached for her as I looked into her red teary eyes. She was truly down in the dumps and I could see it on her face. Suddenly drafted into the think-tank, my mind began racing for a solution. I could remember them all clear as a bell. We'd tried every enzyme, vitamin, biofeedback, OT, PT, and speech therapy under the sun, all to no avail. No matter what we tried, her ability to speak remained illusive and out of reach. I was at a loss for what to do next.
I once felt this way with our son Drew. He had recently entered kindergarten only to discover his classmates didn't have brothers or sisters like his. As I tucked him in bed one night, he cried uncontrollably over this new revelation and I felt the same pressure to ease his pain. Tonight was like deja vue all over again, only this time it was Dani craving for words of wisdom.
In the nick of time God gave me words to speak to Drew that proved to helped him accept his role as Dani's special big brother once and for all. By faith I trusted the Lord to do the same for his little sister. Sitting hip-to-hip on the recliner, I put my arm around her as she began to sob uncontrollably on my shoulder. This was truly serious and I couldn't imagine what to tell this poor child. The Lord hadn't yet spoken to my heart, so I held her and acknowledged her pain. "You wish you could talk and that's why you are sad. Right?" Her big nod propelled tears down her cheeks.
"I'm sorry you are sad sweetie and I wish you could talk too. All I can say is we all have troubles that only the Lord can help us with. Your brother, daddy, and I all have weaknesses that we cannot overcome without God's help, so we do the best we can with His help." Fearing this might sound like I was making light of her serious disability, I knew I needed more than these tidy words of comfort. Even from my perspective, comparing a quick temper or streak of laziness with her inability to speak seemed cold and uncaring. About that time the Lord gave me words.
"Sissy I know you can't talk but it's important to always remember what you DO have. There are some of your friends at work who not only can't talk, but are in wheelchairs and can't walk. Some are so disabled they cannot even use sign language. You on the other hand can walk, turn on your T.V. and DVD player to watch your videos, dance, and get your own food. You can feed yourself and communicate through sign language and lots of people admire how smart you are for knowing sign language and wish they knew it too!"
Suddenly, as if a storm had lifted, the tears were gone and her sunny smile filled the room. She lifted her head off my shoulder and appeared light as a feather. With a heavy weight now off her shoulders, she stood up and began to dance around the room. In a flash she was gone from sight and off to her bedroom to watch her favorite video. She was happy the rest of the evening, having made a complete turn around.
Two things amaze me. God's perfect words at just the right time and Dani's sweet little heart. She didn't have to listen and accept these words of encouragement. She could have decided to stay in the storm and wallow in grief. Instead, she chose to release the pain and embrace God's truth. What a wonderful example.
I couldn't begin to count the times I too have been so blinded by what's wrong that I fail to see all that is right. These are the times God sends a friend my way to help me through the storm. Interestingly enough, it often takes very little on their part to turn me around. Their mere presence seems to work wonders almost instantly. A good friend mixed with God's truth always draws me back into His warm light.
Are you or someone you know in a time of distress? Storms can be intimidating from afar but we need never fear approaching a friend in their time of need. God will provide you with just the right things to say and sometimes the simplest thing like sitting with them during their darkest hour will turn someone's world around. Your presence alone can work wonders. Our little Dani can attest to that.