Monday and Wednesdays are speech days for Jackson. I sit in a room and observe him while he works with the speech therapist. My heart aches at the site of his frustration. He has so much to say, but simply can’t. On more than one occasion I have wiped tears away before greeting him with a smile in the hallway.
It’s easy to feel defeated. Jackson isn’t the only one who gets frustrated by his lack of speech. John and I struggle, too. We are praying for progress. We worry that we aren’t doing enough for him, though the speech therapists have reassured us we are. The progress is slow. I want the words to come, but they aren’t yet.
We celebrate the small victories. New sounds. Communicating through sign language. A word here and there.
A few weeks ago as I sat watching Jackson learn to communicate using flashcards, God brought a verse to mind.
These words – slow in coming, wait for it, it will not be delayed.
Peace flooded my anxious heart. In that observation room God showed me that his speech delays are a marathon we’re running, not a sprint. We’ve been told it will take a lot of therapy for Jackson to get where he needs to be verbally.
It’s going to be a long process, but there’s hope in His promise.
If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on the way. It will come at the right time. (Habakkuk 2:3)
When we left our appointment that day I battled with Jackson because he wouldn’t hold my hand to walk through the parking lot.
“If you don’t hold my hand I have to carry you,” I said.
He plopped himself down on the concrete and resisted when I tried to pick him up. I carried him kicking and screaming to the car. I wanted to come unraveled, but somehow I managed to keep it together.
As I drove home my heart cried out, Lord, I’m going to mess this up. How do I discipline him? Yes, he’s a strong-willed toddler but he also can’t talk.
There is such a fine line and I fear I’m going to fail miserably.
Later that day while Jackson played outside, I opened my Bible to do some research for a speaking event. There in the book of James I found encouragement for my weary soul.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help….Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. (James 1:5,7)
Next to the verse I wrote out my heart cry from earlier that day.
These speech delays, these strong-willed toddler years, are about perseverance.
I can endure, but only with God’s help (and a lot of His grace).
Romans 5:3-4 says, And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in suffering, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
In Romans 15 we are told that God gives us endurance and encouragement.
It’s through endurance and the encouragement of scriptures we might find hope. (verse 4)
And finally a verse from the Message that I have come to love. I think it will become my prayer during this season of persevering.
We pray that you’ll have strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. (Colossians 1:10-12)
This post was written as a response to Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart link up prompt: For more encouragement click here! I am also linking up for Three Word Wednesday. You can join the fun here.