The Prayer You Stopped Praying

Can you even remember when you stopped praying for it?

That thing you hoped for once upon a time but, as time moved on, faded from that hopeful place?

I don't know about you, but I can't.

I can't remember when I stopped praying for Zoe to talk.

Friends would ask if she said any words, and I would answer yes, because she did. Technically. But, of her four or five words, we were lucky if we heard one a week. So while it was honest to tell the words she had purposefully spoken, I left friends thinking that our girl was talking, because—to be blunt—some days I tire of answering questions about all the things she can't do.

I might not remember when I stopped praying for her to speak, but I clearly recall when He said yes! to my forgotten prayer.

It was when she said, "Yes!"

At the end of 2013, we were driving home from the gym, and I asked Zoe if she wanted a cracker. Then I looked over my right shoulder to read her face, because that's how I used to know her answer.

She might not have always had words, but she has never hesitated to let us all know how she feels. About anything. 

As I turned to look for the facial response, I was startled by a squeaky two year old's voice.

Her voice.

Her "Yes!"

She had said a handful of words before, but they were rare and always on her own terms. Answering a question? She hadn't ever done that, not in her 26 months of life.

But this time, clear as it could be, she answered, "Yes!"

As I gave her the cracker (and would have gladly given her a dozen or more), the road before me turned all watery. I don't cry much, but the goodness of God just overcame me. When she said Yes!, my Lord was saying yes too, to the desire that had faded from my prayers and my memory.

Meanwhile, she enjoyed her cracker, oblivious to the work God had done in and through her.

I was reminded of this again a few months later, when I heard that precious Asian darling crying after bedtime. After I got her out of the crib and checked her dry diaper, I said, "Sweet girl, what do you want?"

"Muh," she said, pointing to the hall.

It wasn't until after she drank her milk and was settled back into her crib that it hit me again: my girl has words.

yes, no, go away, milk, dog, kitty cat, cat, more, mama, dada, uh-oh, please, want, bubbles, ball, that, thank you, hi, waffle, and the list keeps growing, along with her babbles and incoherent strings of sounds that might be words we're not yet identifying...

{In case you're wondering, a "kitty cat" is a real live cat, while a "cat" is a picture or stuffed animal. Obvs.}

Now she's combining words and cracking jokes and occasionally speaking a full sentence or two. Sure, her speech skills aren't the same as other three and a half year olds, but I don't care. I'm a woman who loves words, and I find great joy in my girl finding hers.

Friend, I don't know what it is that you've stopped praying for. Maybe you don't even know what it is anymore. But I want you to know this:

He still remembers.

He is just as trustworthy today as He was back when you were willing to trust Him with it.

And He is able to bring about the yes - or the no or the not yet or whatever other answer He wills - even if you're not able to hold on to the hope of an answer.

Oh, this girl.

He teaches me so much through her.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV)

This post originally appeared on Dinglefest