We spend a lot of time around here talking about words! As one of our speech therapists said, words are powerful!
With the boys, we emphasize the importance of thinking about words before you actually speak them. I often remind them that our words should build each others up, not tear one another down. Our words should encourage. Our words should help. Two steps forward, one step back! I feel like we have one good day, playing together and speaking kind words, followed by a not-so-good day, when I feel like all I am doing is correcting and disciplining! On those not-so-good days, I struggle with my words, too. Sometimes they come out too loud. Sometimes too sharp or too critical. Sometimes lacking grace. Sometimes there are no words, and I have absolutely no idea what to say. More than ever before, I find myself on my knees, asking for the right words! I want my words to be His words, words that build them up, not tear them down! I want my words to encourage, to shape, and more than anything to point them to The Word! In the middle of those not-so-happy moments, when faces are red and tempers are flaring and veins are popping out, I whisper One Word, His Name! It's The Only Word that really matters, The Only Word that can change a heart, mine included. Here is mercy in one word - Jesus!
Oh Jesus! I need Your Words because mine don't seem to be getting through! Show me what to say. Show me what to do. You are what their hearts need. More than my words, they need You!
Yes, words are powerful! Just as we want the boys to be purposeful with their words, we want Sophi to learn that there is a purpose for words! Words can get you things. Unlike in an orphanage where your words and your wants (and often your needs) mean nothing, now, it is all different! Communication matters, and I know that Sophi is beginning to get this! She wants to learn to speak! She tries so hard to make sounds, and I know learning to talk has to be frustrating, exhausting, and extremely challenging on that little brain of hers!
With Sophi, it also feels like one step forward, two steps back! Actually some days, it feels like one step forward, five steps back! But despite how I may feel at the moment, she is making progress! I know she is understanding more and more everyday! Her receptive language is growing by leaps and bounds, and she is ever so slowly learning to make a few sounds! A few weeks ago, she learned to say "ba" as in bath! She would squeal "ba" when I told her it was time for a bath. Next, we moved on to the P sound, and she successfully learned to imitate that sound, but seemed to forget how to make the B sound. Just when I was beginning to feel like we were not getting anywhere, she learned how to say "up". Now I won't pick her up unless she says "up" and she can almost always, perfectly and clearly, say that sweet little two letter word!
Over the past 2 weeks, she's also learned to say "ap" as in apple! The tricky part is that she doesn't always get an apple when she says "ap" anymore than she gets a "ba" when she says bath! This is the part of communication that must be so confusing for her! Sometimes she makes a sound, and she gets what she wants. Other times she doesn't. It must be hard to understand. Once again, I find myself on my knees, asking the Lord for the right words to say to Sophi. How can I communicate a "no" or "not right now" in a way that doesn't diminish her use of "words" and doesn't cause an already fragile little girl to feel even more rejected? I pray constantly for wisdom (and patience) in knowing how to help Sophi learn.
Most often, I speak very, very simple words, over and over again! Phrases like, "Momma loves Sophi!" and "Sometimes Momma says no (or not now), but Momma STILL loves Sophi!" are repeated numerous times during the course of the day! I don't know that she even has an inkling of what love is, but she hears it often, and I'm praying (and believing) that the Lord will open up her heart more and more to receive my love and to know that Mama and Daddy are here to stay!
For the record, there is one more very, very important word that Sophi has learned. It doesn't always come out clearly, but she is definitely capable of making the "p" sound as in "poo-poo"! After 3 weeks of some intense potty training, I think that Sophi is fairly close to being potty trained!!! Although she doesn't always make the correct sound, she will always "tell" me she needs to potty by pointing to the picture of the potty on our communication board in my kitchen! Just this week, we have swapped over to big girl undies and have added the "t" sound for "tee-tee"! These words are music to my ears! Only 2 in diapers now!
I'll spare you the details, but rest assured it's been a hard few weeks getting this little girlie potty trained! I never would have dreamed 3 months ago that she would be able to do this, and I am so proud of her and encouraged by this little victory! The boys and Evie have been very patient during the past few weeks as Sophi and I have made LOTS of trips back and forth to the bathroom!
I truly believe that as the Lord opens her heart and mind (and mouth), this precious one is extremely capable of learning! But I must say that anything new is met with extreme resistance! We continue to pray and speak the name of Jesus over this little girl and believe in the power of that one word - JESUS! He can heal her! He can mend every broken and wounded place! And when my words seem to fall on deaf ears and when her mind doesn't seem to understand, I remember that it's not all about me and my ability to say just the right words. The pressure lifts, and my words don't seem to matter as much when I remember that His Spirit can comfort and soothe the places where my words and actions can't break through! He is The Only Word we need when all other words fall short. And that is mercy, and I am thankful!
In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it...
And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth...
For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.
John 1:1-5, 14, 16
The Amplified Bible