When Your Mother’s Heart Trembles

Written by monthly contributing writer, Daniele Evans.

Something wasn’t right.

I knew it deep down, and it shook me upThis boy of ours struggled, unable to translate words in his mind to ones we could hear from his mouth.

He tried, yes he did.  His toddler lips shaping silently, that innocent voice straining to move beyond babbling to actual speech.

Each attempt met disappointment, and Mama’s heart trembled as I watched my son. Often I’d look into those eyes, sometimes teary with frustration…and the core of me ached.

He knew.

Neither one of us understood why, but he knew words escaped him.  Unlike the possible fits or tantrums from a strong-hearted two-year-old, the battle within him displayed as silence.

He laughed, he played, he engaged with our family.  But when it came time for words, and toddler attempts at repetition didn’t quite sound like Mama’s or big brother’s or anyone else’s…

…He sat in silence, alone with his pain.  Oh, how my heart would ache for him.

Since those months, we’ve been introduced to the world of Early Intervention, speech therapy, and a host of other special needs considerations for this concern.  At times overwhelming, I am mostly grateful for assistance in guiding our son.

These days, when my heart’s still shaky on the subject, I think of Mary.

I admire Jesus’ mother for many reasons.  She was so calm and collected when a host of strange men excitedly arrived into her birthing space, a stall no less.  I’d like to think I would simply ‘ponder all these things in my heart’, but realize words would probably escape my lips.  Sigh.  Most of all, I remember Mary’s initial visit from the angel (Luke 1:26-38) — an interruption to everything she was planning. Motherhood for Mary didn’t begin all cozy and sweet.  She was shaken from the start with news of all her son be responsible for, all he would face.

And her heart trembled.

I am repeatedly humbled by the response.  Even with heart and mind likely scattered as she processed the impact of her calling, Mary responded:

“I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

Here’s my interpretation — “Alright.  I’m God’s and I’m available to Him.  Go ahead, birth Jesus in me.”

Lord, grace me with such a heart.  In this unexpected path of speech delays and unknown worlds of therapists and education plans…remind me that I am Yours; and you’re up to something in my life.

The path of motherhood for any of us is both exhilarating and terrifying.  It may not always be pretty, we’ll most definitely face challenges and we’ll sometimes wonder if any good is being done.

Our children will test us, onlookers will misunderstand us, and the impact of our callings will bring us to our knees. I won’t pretend to understand each personal story in this raising of children.  But, I am convinced of one thing for us all:

If we allow, if we like Mary lend ourselves to being His servant, willingly walking hand-in-hand with Him in this up-over-the-top journey of motherhood…

He’ll birth Jesus in us.  

And the Prince of Peace will settle our trembling hearts.

Grace in the journey sisters…

{photo credit}

About devans

Daniele is a pastor’s wife, a homeschool mother of five and a passionate defender of children who need an advocate. Daniele and her family live out their days in Central Pennsylvania where she enjoys cooking, writing, reading and photography. Daniele takes pleasure in documenting family memories and nurturing the spirit of fellow believers on her blog, Domestic Serenity.

45 Responses to When Your Mother’s Heart Trembles

  1. Alisha January 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    My son is 7 and started speech at age 4. I remember so clearly crying in the waiting room as I heard my son’s voice utter a sound for the first time other than Ma Ma. He has apraxia too along with other delays. Thinking about how God goes before us, before I became a mom to my first born son I was a Special Ed. staff assistant and was working for several years with various children one on one. I always wanted to homeschool but when I found out all the various unusual needs my son has I knew God had prepared me and went before me to give me the wisdom to be his mom. Thanks for sharing your struggle with us and insight of Mary, what an encouragement. I have a soon to be 2 year old daughter that has a speech delay. My middle child is wonderful at translating what his brother or sister are trying to say for me when I just can’t seem to understand, I don’t know how he does it!!

  2. Jeannie January 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    There is always hope, and with continued help from those the LoRd sends your way, your boy will be a happy and vibrant child no matter the challenges he may uniquely face. My son (now 11) did not talk until he was 4… He was diagnosed with oral apraxia and had sensory difficulties. My son and any other child are no less than those who are “fine” our kids just will have a lil harder time to over come what may come easy for others.. but isnt that what life is all about.. Rising above through the strength of our LoRd and King Jesus?…

  3. Lara January 4, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    Thank you so much for your sweet devotional. It reminds me of one of our pastor’s sermons prior to Christmas…how God’s plans for Mary were not what she envisioned, and how sometimes our plans are not God’s, as well. We have two daughters who are deaf. The tears we cried in those early days would fill buckets. But God has done amazing things through it all. We’ve had contact with folks we never would’ve had if we hadn’t been to the drs, therapists, etc. We’ve always planned on homeschooling and thankfully God allowed that plan to continue–He lead us to a pro-homeschooling therapists (both in Early Intervention and later in private practice) who would set goals, teach me how to do the therapy and then encourage me that it wasn’t “rocket science” and that I could do more at home than they could do 2-3 times a week–and they were right! Our girls are 9 and 11 now and all of the professionals have been amazed at their progress. Thank you again for your wonderful devotional and may God continue to unfold His beautiful plan for your precious child–and his parents. :) Hugs!

  4. Robin January 3, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I wanted to share something that really helped me. When my son was tiny, I was told he was deaf. It turned out to be an error in the hearing testing (we were living in a small town and while the hospital was great at the screenings, the local ENT’s office was not used to doing the detailed hearing testing necessary for new babies) and when he was retested in the nearest big city, he was fine. But I spent the first nearly 2 months of his life believing that he was deaf. I can’t tell you how I cried. An article called Welcome to Holland written by Emily Kingsley helped immensely. Our son did turn out to have a speech delay, though he is talking well now (I hope the same happens for you! I understand the mutual frustration of not being able to communicate), and I re-read this when I started getting comments on the playground asking if he was deaf (he still isn’t–has had another complete set of hearing tests).
    Here’s a link, hope it works. http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity January 4, 2012 at 5:32 am #

      Thank you Robin! I had heard this before, and really appreciate the reminder (and the link!)

  5. Tina January 2, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    What a beautiful post. From when he was 14 months old, I knew something was not right with my son. Turns out he had a speech delay – he cannot pronounce a lot of words correctly and is so behind his other peers. However, I believe the Lord allowed this for a reason and I have hope that one day he will be able to talk as well as others. Your post touched my heart – thank you for sharing!

  6. Laura January 2, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    this touched my heart.. I’m a speech therapist for 0-3 year olds and my heart aches when children, especially children who comprehend language, can’t get their words out. Early Intervention is great – it will provide you with tools and strategies to help your baby talk :) I have a blog on some early childhood language development – i’ve just started it, but maybe it will help you!

  7. Bethany December 30, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Beautiful post! It brought tears to my eyes. My daughter has sensory processing disorder, hypotonia, and a severe language delay. She’s in a wonderful inclusive preschool program and works with excellent private therapists, but at times I feel like I can’t possibly do enough as a mother.

    We all just need to remember that parenting is a journey, filled with uncertainty, for all of us, whether we have kids with special needs or not.

  8. Colleen Sleadd December 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    My brother has epilepsy. Thank you so much for this post. I emailed it to my Mom- she sets an amazing example for fulfilling Christ’s call on her life through great trial and self sacrifice.
    These words are so encouraging. God be with you, before you and beside you on this journey.

  9. Alice Evans December 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your heart with so many people that needed to hear what God laid on your heart to share. Obeying God truly brings about His purposes for any given situation. I know God is with you and giving you strength, but reading your post even brought tears to my eyes. It’s not that I would question God’s will, but as mothers we don’t like to see our children suffer.
    I just thought about something. Remember when Jesus died on the cross, even the Father had to turn away. Yes for what He had become, but maybe also because that was His Son and the pain was just so great. My heart and prayers are continually with you. He’s my little son too you know.

  10. connie farmer December 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    loved this! i worked with kids with learning differences for seven years and my husband is dyslexic. these beautiful people have taught me so much about perseverance, gratitude, and the amazing DIVERSITY that God has designed! it has been such a privilege to know them, help them, and learn from them. i will also say that some of them are among the most compassionate people i know. they can look at someone else in pain and genuinely say, “i understand.” by way of encouragement, when they’ve traveled down that long road for a while, they will find what they’re good at and gravitate toward it. one of my severely dyslexic students is now a photographer and is AMAZING. another with some fairly significant memory and language retrieval issues just graduated from college with a degree in elementary education. i’m so proud! your son will sometimes be discouraged, tired, and maybe even angry, but he will also have breakthrough moments that will make your trembling heart soar. i feel so much anticipation of heartache and amazement on your behalf…it will be one fantastic ride in the arms of your Father!

  11. jess December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    This is exactly what I needed to see today. Thank you so very very much for posting your heart’s feelings. I have two children with autism- one is moderate and the other is quite severe. They are blessings. I will very likely not be able to experience a number of the things we look forward to with parenting. I will very likely not watch them go through therapy and turn out to be typical adults. Instead, I will have things to look forward to that I never would have dreamed of, and my boys will be their own personal best little men, ready to serve the world in their own capacity.

    I don’t ask God why He has put me through this (often!) but I am certain of two things:

    1. God is humbling me by making me ask for help all the time, and through the everyday tasks and trials the kids put me through. 2. God is preparing me for something GREAT once I reach Heaven.

    I am so grateful for all the help we have received. But it is still difficult and painful.

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 22, 2011 at 8:49 am #

      You’re welcome Jess… God is working out His greatness in all of us through our experiences with our children. May we bring Him glory!

      Grace in your journey, peace to your heart.

  12. Joy December 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Thank you sweet friend for this gracious and honest post. I love your heart and am encouraged by your words today.
    My 7 year old son is now nearing the end of his speech therapy journey, and looking back I see God’s hand so clearly in it. He brought a friend all the way to Indonesia to live here, who is a speech therapist!! Clearly, the Lord cares for our children just as much as we do!!
    Thank you again. I am always encourage, inspired, and uplifted by your gentle words!

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 22, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      Thank you too friend…
      your words encourage my heart — God cares & knows my child, there are good things in store!

  13. Bella December 21, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I also have a child (also my current youngest, and only daughter) with apraxia. She was diagnosed at 2 and a half, although she had been in occupational thearpy through early intervention for hypotonia (low tone, floppy baby syndrome) since she was 6 months and speech therapy since she was 18 months of age. We now have her with a private speech therapist since continuing with ei past age 3 would mean that she needed to be at preschool 4 mornings a week (she is almost 4). I too have had moments of concern and worry. My biggest fear for her is still that this disorder will change who she is, right now she is the most outgoing and social little girl always getting smiles from whomever she meets, I don’t want her to realize that she is “different” or “behind” because I fear at some point that could change the way she interacts with the world around her. The last few months she has had real problems with stuttering, and it makes my heart tremble to see her struggling with a new problem. I just wanted to say though, that this is not a “dark road” as you mentioned to another poster. It may not be what we all envisioned when we first held those tiny babies in our arms, but it is not “dark”. Everyday is a joy with my sweet girl, I am constantly amazed at her determination and positive attitude. Every milestone she has reached have been that much sweeter because of her delays. She works harder than other kids her age in nearly everything she does, and this will make her an incredibly strong and resilient adult. I think the biggest thing you can do for your child with special needs (well any child really), is to SHOW them unconditional love. I know you feel it, but you need to show it. I have seen parents get caught up in taking their child to all kinds of therapies and appointments, and special classes or enrichment opportunities that they believe will help their child. I know they mean well, but will all this really help? Does the child really need more help in learning to be just like everyone else, or do we need help in learning to be more accepting of the child God gave us? And they are beautiful, fun, wonderful people.

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Bella, thank you for your response…

      I certainly didn’t mean to imply this is a dark road void of joy or acceptance of our special needs children. My reply to Jessica reflected the word she used to describe her journey — sometimes feeling dark, lonely and sad. I offer this note of clarity (and gentle apology) if my words misled.

      Oh yes! Our children are reservoirs of JOY. God in his creative brilliance made them just for this — how blessed we are to have them!

      And this journey? This unexpected travel down a road we may not have anticipated? Well, JESUS is here. And where He is, there is LIGHT.

      Grace to you…your daughter is tremendously blessed to have you as a Mom.

  14. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom December 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Hello Danielle.

    I am not sure what you are facing, but my son was “different” as well. He was finally diagnosed w/ autism (Asperger’s) at 6. I would be more than happy to talk w/ you and help in any way that I can.

    It is a hard road. Rewarding too, but hard.

    Steady your heart in the Lord and He will lead you. But it may be the toughest thing you will face.


    I am at wholenewmom at gmail dot com.

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 21, 2011 at 6:35 am #

      Thank you Adrienne! I’ve saved your email — appreciate your offer of help & hope. God will lead us as we guide our boys…

  15. Dawn E. Brown December 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I am thankful for your sweet posting. i have a 30 year old son that is profoundly deaf. In his life, there have been speech delays, yes. But, I am most grateful to a God who guided us every step of the way, and yes, many times people still look at us strangely when out in public. We use total communications, so it is sometimes like painting a story with our hands,while at the same time we are speaking. I have just come home from a night out to dinner with him,and his words to me as I stepped out of his vehicle were, Thanks mom, for making my night. That says it all.He has been a delight every day he has been with us. You are on the other end of speech delays. God knew all of this , and He alone wants to bring you through it. But you have a great attitude. Always find your childs strengths, then build from there. Love and blessings to you, Dawn

  16. Diatomaceous Earth December 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Wow! This is beautiful. It definitely helped me understand my daughter in a different way. Thanks for your words.

  17. Susan December 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Thank You. I have a sweet darling little 20 month old daughter, the youngest of 5. Her speech is much delayed and we began speech therapy through EI the beginning of this month. It breaks my heart to see her struggle, but we’ve seen great growth. She’s no longer as frustrated trying to communicate her needs. Your post brought tears to my eyes, because i need to be reminded that if i am open to what God is working in our lives through our littlest princess.

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 21, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      Ours too is the youngest of 5….and we’ve seen tremendous growth. It’s a process, is it not? Grace…

  18. anon December 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. It hits home with me, I needed to read this. My little boy lives in a world of speech, feeding, physical and developmental therapies and things can be difficult. Early intervention is a wonderful program, and our little boy is already making strides. At times I struggle to accept why things aren’t “normal.”

  19. Christy December 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    This is a wonderful post! My son was diagnosed with Apraxia around age 2 1/2 so I can absolutely relate to the heartache you feel. He is 5 1/2 now and no longer has Apraxia. Thanks to a faithful God and his hand in helping me put my children on the Gaps diet. I didn’t feel it at the time but looking back I know I was only able to stick to the diet for an entire year because He was helping me. Whatever path you choose to take He will guide you and He will work everything out for your (and your son’s) good!

  20. Dianne December 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Beautiful post. A most for all new moms

  21. Kim December 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Thank you for your post. This really encouraged my heart. Surrender does bring such peace.

  22. Lori December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Thank you!

  23. Amber December 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Praise God!!!

  24. Kat December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Oh, my. What a powerful post. My heart is touched again by Mary’s response and how we need to humble ourselves to be His servants… to be soft enough that He can work through us.

    I find that it’s the most painful sharing that heals us the most. Thank you for sharing your hurt and your heart with us.

    I’m praying for your family- that God will use your struggles for His Glory. Blessings to your sweet boy.

  25. Kathie Rytenskild December 20, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    i can really relate to this but Praise God, I am coming out the other side!!! We were told my little boy would struggle with his motor planning speech disorder (similar to dyspraxia) till he was in high school as he could not utter a word at age 3. He is now 5 1/2 and cannot be diagnosed with anything as his speech is now so good!!!! It’s not perfect but he is starting prep next year (1 yr behind) and he will be able to be understood!! My biggest problem was believing that his diagnosis was set in stone. I refused to consider anything other than the fact that he would struggle for a LONG time with this, and would argue with anyone who tried to “encourage” me to believe it would be OK. Until my pastor’s wife said to me: “why don’t you believe he can be healed???” That changed my world & my perspective. We prayed for him and over him with an air of expectancy, and yes of gratefulness that it was not any worse. We also worked hard with therapists and doctors (getting a tongue tie fixed and his tonsils out) and there were still times of anguish and heartache but now I can say: “Look what my God did!”. Our Lord can do anything – believe it with all your heart and your journey will be more hopeful and yes, you will come out the other side humbled, grateful and exultant. I will pray for you as I know that His Power is what will help you more than anything else. Xox

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 21, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      How powerful Kathie! I am reminded to trust God for BIG things with our son, to ask of Him….thank you!

  26. Jessica @ This Blessed Life December 20, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. My son will be starting therapy in mid-January for feeding and sensory issues. It breaks my heart sometimes to think about how he is not “normal” and how the road ahead will be long and how at the end of the journey he still might not ever be like other little kids. It often feels dark and lonely and sad. I never stopped think about Mary and how “she was shaken from the start with news of all her son be responsible for, all he would face.”

    Seriously, thank you again. This post really, really blessed my heart today.

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity December 21, 2011 at 6:52 am #

      Oh, abundant grace to you Jessica. The Lord is with you in this dark road, you are never truly alone. I hope you’ll find other Moms in the journey to encourage and speak hope.

  27. Mary December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Thank you for this! Our son has a slight palsy and neural damage on his right side.. we have just begun the journey of OT, PT, and Early Intervention. I must say I am so grateful for the help but sometimes just want everything to be “normal”. I have to remember there is a purpose for EVERYTHING God brings into our lives!

  28. Debbie Bolen December 20, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    As a teacher I have had many heart trembling momments when a student couldn’t do what was asked of them. Not that they didn’t want to or wouldn’t but couldn’t. My own daughter had hearing problems and we didn’t know for a long time. When she was trying to learn to read she just couldn’t hear the sounds all the other kids heard. She worked and worked and then had tantrums in frustration. So very thankful that we found the problem and even though we couldn’t fix it we could then deal with it. Praying for your family and for your mothers heart.

  29. ann at mommysecrets December 20, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Lovely post. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’m most certain it will challenge and encourage many women – including me!

  30. Jessica M. December 20, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I needed your post today! It is beautifully written and touched my heart. Thank you for including the link about apraxia – my husband and I have just started to wonder what my 2yo DS is struggling with and reading that information was like a lightbulb going on. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

  31. Amanda December 20, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Beautiful… thank you for this encouragement. So often my words to God are “I can’t do this… can’t this be easier…”, but oh to have a heart like Mary’s! To humble myself as His servant, to accept these circumstances and follow Him. I’m a new mama of two, and it is just so. hard. sometimes. You’re right, some days I feel like I’m not doing any good. But God in me, He can accomplish the good.

    I pray God will use the struggles in your son’s life for His glory. It is so heartbreaking to see our kids struggle. Praise God for being our Comforter and our Peace, and for strengthening us in our weakness. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas!