One thing I miss with Noah is the awesome conversation that can take place about faith at this age. My older son, Sam is now 6 and a confirmed chatterbox. At ages 2-3, he was already asking many questions about God, creation and why Jesus died for us. He would even say things that would catch me and challenge my own heart. He was praying with us when he was 3 years old and we got to hear his heart. With Noah, I just can’t gauge at this stage what he knows of God or his relationship with Him. What I do know is that God cares deeply for Noah and has a plan for him. I know that Jesus died for Noah just as much as he died for anyone else. I know that Noah can understand what we say, so we talk to him about Jesus, we pray for him, we share Bible stories with him and now I try to recall what it was like speaking to Sam at the same age and put things in a way he can understand. He can’t ask questions back, but seeds can be planted.
One day when I was mulling over Noah’s apraxia and how he would ever be able to speak clearly, I read this passage during my daily Bible reading:
Matthew 15:29-31 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
When the mute were brought to Jesus, they spoke! We pray every day for God to heal Noah, to help him be able to speak. And so far, we are seeing answers to prayer. Bit by bit we are seeing Noah’s speech develop further. We have not seen a miraculous instantaneous healing for Noah, but we have seen progress. We are encouraged to press on and do what is needed to help him. And you know, I think we and Noah will learn more and grow more this way, than if we got the quick fix!
We are currently working on getting Noah to connect two words together. This year we have seen him growing in confidence and making many more attempts to say words and adding to his vocabulary. We have seen his separation anxiety dissipate as he gets to know children in his pre-kindy group. I have been surprised to see him playing with other children recently, joining in games despite his speech limitations. I know that the day he says his very first sentence will be a cause for enormous joy and celebration.
We know he will face a number of challenges yet such as interacting with his peers when he reaches school, having to speak in front of a class, learning to read and write which is generally a struggle for children with speech apraxia. Yet we have hope for Noah – we know he has God given gifts and abilities that even now are flourishing, we know that sound by sound, syllable by syllable, word by word, he will learn to talk. We know that as Noah learns to speak, we are being refined too – learning lessons in patience, grace, kindness, perseverance and hope. Yes, I often wonder why it has to be so hard for him and I worry about school and the future. But then I look back at how far he has come in 12 months and I remember the promises of God. Jesus enabled the mute to speak and so Noah will too. And one day we will hear him praise God himself.