Where are we now? My sweet Sophie has turned three. She has begun her fourth year of life. She is a complete delight. Curious, busy, funny, and, at times, naughty. And she is still speechless.
As planned, Sophie began preschool shortly after her third birthday. And through every step in the preschool process, I have clearly seen the loving hand of my Father God. Each person we have encountered in this process has been kind, supportive, flexible, and encouraging. I feel like I have a whole team of people rooting for my daughter, helping her towards healthy growth and development. On her very first day of preschool, our school district was maybe the only one in this region of Ohio to have school. The weather was atrocious. Consequently, only about half of Sophie’s class showed up. She entered a small class in a quiet classroom where she had room to explore without being overwhelmed. That’s what I love about God. He sees us, and he’s so loving. Some people might just see this as coincidence, but I see God’s care for my daughter. How I see it is that he used a snow storm to provide a less overwhelming environment for her first day of school. But you really have to choose to see life this way. You have to be on the lookout for those blessings and appreciate them for what they are. I think we miss far too many blessings in life because we just aren’t looking for them. I call this the silver lining, and I try to see it in each of my days, in all circumstances. Sometimes I’m terrible at it. And sometimes I don’t see it until much later. But looking for expressions of my Father’s loving care for me and my family has been one of the biggest blessings I have experienced through all of Sophie’s trials.
In addition, Sophie’s trichotillomania turned out to be a blessing. How could THAT ever be a blessing? This is one of the ones that I didn’t see until much later… But here it is. Because Sophie’s pulling was always triggered by separation, she has been allowed to start preschool gradually and attend part time. In most cases, the school does not allow part time attendance, but I have felt strongly that I only wanted her to attend part time. Something as heart wrenching as hair pulling has been worked out, again, for our good.
Through this path to preschool, God has been so patient with me, putting the stepping stones close together so that I could take baby steps towards his plan. Even things like trichotillomania which do not seem like good things can be used for good by God. He promises to do this in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That’s us. We love him, and we have been called according to his purpose. So he’s working for our good. I have to believe that. And so far, preschool is going really well!
On the medical front, things are a little bit different. Our beloved pediatrician retired just before Sophie’s third birthday. We wish her well, but we miss her. She was always content to let us steer the ship, so to speak, in pursuit of diagnosis. We have never been eager to put Sophie through any more than is absolutely necessary. We all know how much kids love going to the doctor, getting poked with needles, having their little bodies examined. Oh wait, no. No, they don’t. Anyways, Sophie’s pediatrician was basically content to let her live out her life without pursuing a diagnosis as long as Sophie was receiving all the support and services that she needed. What would a specific diagnosis mean? Nothing really. We have been comfortable with this because 1)”fixable” things have been ruled out, and 2) life threatening things have been ruled out. So, just to know, just to have a name, well, that’s not extremely important to us. Well, our well visit with the new pediatrician (we really DO love and respect her, very much) brought on the suggestion of many more doctors. These specialists, oh my… The audiologist, the geneticist, the endocrinologist, the ophthalmologist. As Andrew and I discussed the possibility of these different doctors, besides simply feeling sad about all of this, we both don’t really feel like we NEED any type of diagnosis. Sophie doesn’t fit any typical syndromes; she’s a mystery, so to speak. And I’m ok with that. I’m ok believing that God touched her little body when she was just 4 months old. I’m ok not having an explanation. Because what does that change really? Nothing. Giving it a name changes nothing. Sophie is who she is. I don’t need an answer. I don’t need a name.
When it comes right down to it, we are all broken in some way. Sophie has some physical brokenness. Ok. Everybody on this planet has some brokenness. Some people are really good at hiding it, but it’s still there. Some have emotional brokenness, others have relational brokenness, academic brokenness, financial brokenness. It’s everywhere, in every life. We can’t escape the fact that we are broken people living in a broken world.
But there is hope.
Sophie won’t always have her brokenness. Neither will you. Sophie was made for so much more than this big ball of dirt and air and water. So were you.
Beautifully, our brokenness does not define us nor assign us more or less value than someone else. Rather, we are valuable, each and every one of us, we are valuable because God says we are, because Jesus says with the sacrifice of his very life that we are valuable. Each person on this earth, created in God’s image, is precious in his sight. While our brokenness reminds us that this is not our home, we hold on to the hope that we won’t always be broken. One day…
Some days, it’s easy to look into the future and just see silence. I want to hope and believe that Sophie will speak. But she may not. And I have to come to terms with that. I have given my daughter’s life into God’s hands. I have chosen to believe that his plan for her is best. I have chosen to accept whatever the plan is. So, while I may want to believe that there won’t ever be anything else broken about her life, I know that’s just a pipe dream. Until we look into the final future, our heavenly home, we will always see some brokenness, God’s grace and goodness woven through it. But, thank goodness there is a but, one day, there will be no more brokenness.
One day my girl will be whole. And may her mouth completely glorify Jesus for the beautiful work that he has done in her life.
Where are we now? We’re still on the path to trust. Still clinging to hope. Still believing our God is good. We may or may not visit all these doctors that have been suggested to us. We may or may not get an “answer.” And that’s ok. Life doesn’t have to always be all about knowing and answers. Sometimes it can just be about faith.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb 10:23)