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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace

 

THE PHONE RECEIVER

 

Perhaps one of the most challenging times in our ministry was when we packed our suitcases and flew to Dallas from Portugal. Because Chase had been traumatized and had stopped speaking coherently, it was imperative to at least have him evaluated emotionally and mentally. We came to the Dallas area for a two week vacation, during which we had appointments for Chase in speech and counseling. We had every intention of returning home, to Lisbon.

 

However, primarily because of his behavior, Chase was diagnosed as autistic by a child psychologist here in Dallas. Then, he had to be further evaluated by a qualified speech therapist. I’ll never forget that first awful speech appointment. Chase would not make eye contact with anyone, and the therapist could not get him to respond to her in any way. Tears filled my eyes as she kept asking him questions—about his body parts, about colors, and toys. Chase acted totally oblivious to her presence—as if he were the only one in the room. I knew that he could have spoken and given her the right answers just a few months before! I tried to explain that he knew…somewhere “in there” he knew...but every verbal attempt on my part seemed feeble. I wanted to run out of the room—I could feel the adrenalin pumping through me as I struggled to stay and endure that appointment. I silently pleaded with my son to say just one comprehensible word.

 

After the evaluation, the speech therapist also mentioned autism. I argued through my tears—insisting that he was fine before the attack. But apparently autism can work that way—taking a perfectly normal 3 or 4 year old, and turning his little mind inward…totally debilitating his social and verbal skills. She handed me a packet of literature explaining autism and the suggested treatment plan. Despairingly, I accepted it.

 

Then, she reached over and stroked Chase’s legs and arms. She touched his head and face, and even held his hands. I watched her as a glimmer of hope crossed her face.

 

“But look! He doesn’t mind if I touch him. That’s a good sign. Now…if I could just get him to notice me…I want to see him every day during the week.”

 

Our two week vacation turned into a month, and then longer. We began to realize that God was calling us back to the States, to concentrate on Chase’s well-being. We wouldn’t be going back to Portugal. For awhile, anyway, we set aside our emotions and longing for the mission field, and began the journey down Chase’s long and arduous road of healing.

 

After several weeks of speech and play therapy, we finally had a breakthrough! Chase not only responded and noticed the speech therapist, but he said a word she could understand…yucky. The therapist discovered that she could get Chase to participate a little by giving him candy as a reward. On this memorable day, he dropped his piece of candy. He reached for it, to eat it anyway, and the therapist said, “No, Chase, don’t eat it! Yucky!”

 

Chase hesitated, then, repeated over and over, “Yucky! Yucky! Yucky!

 

He had heard her, and he had responded! What a joyous day!

 

Slowly, we began to see progress! The old Chase that we had known before wasn’t there anymore, but slowly God was initiating healing in this new little soul. We were so excited when he actually began to chatter again, as a new baby does when first learning to talk! We could understand real English words, though not in the right order.

 

In order to encourage Chase to talk, we gave him an old yellow phone receiver, broken off of an old toy phone. This seemed to inspire him! He would chatter into that phone receiver, saying words that we actually recognized! He stuttered a lot, but we would gratefully “hang” on every word he said—we were so excited to hear him communicating! True, the process was slow, but now…though he still silently stutters—repeating words quietly to himself—you wouldn’t know he ever had trouble speaking! We find ourselves telling him to be quiet and to stop talking at the dinner table. That brings complete joy to my heart.

 

When I first began asking God to teach me to pray, I felt as helpless as little Chase with that yellow phone receiver. I would make feeble attempts to communicate with my heavenly Father, but the words came out all wrong. I found I repeated myself a lot. I found that the same shyness I struggled with among people, I felt before God. I just didn’t know what to say! Oh, I could think of plenty of things to ask for…but I knew that God wanted more from me in my prayers.

 

That’s when God began to show me how to use His Word, in the same way that Chase used that old phone receiver. When I wanted to seek forgiveness and cleansing, I would pray the very words David used in Psalm 51 or at the end of Psalm 139. David’s words also helped me as I repeated the praises that he penned so many years ago.

 

I became newly inspired! Communication was easier with my receiver! If I wanted to pray for something specific for my husband, or children, or even for myself, I looked intently into His Word—my very own phone receiver—and found just the right words to say to my Father. It took time, but it was worth the journey.

 

I smile to think how elementary my prayers must have been at first. But what joy those first attempts must have given my heavenly Father! Just like we rejoiced over every new word Chase learned, and then every new sentence he finally put together—our Father rejoices in our attempts to communicate with Him—our first words and utterances before a Holy God.

 

Perhaps you have felt as I did—and still feel at times, when I stray from Him. Perhaps the words don’t come easily, and you struggle and stutter with what to say in prayer. Pick up the phone receiver, His Word. He has given us example after example of prayers in His Word, prayed by great men and women of God! Find those verses, pray them back to Him. Praying His Word honors the Lord, and teaches you so much about prayer communication. There are verses that the Spirit is just waiting to show you—verses the Spirit wants to teach you to pray back to the Father—even in a way that no one else can. His Word is so personal, so alive, so amazing.

 

And one more thing. There really is Someone on the other side of that receiver. And how He loves you! He is hanging on your every word.

 

Perhaps you are new in the faith—or perhaps you’ve never been taught how to find Bible verses. Maybe it’s been awhile since you looked into His letter of love to you. Lygia would love to help you draw closer to Him through His Word. Please write her at Lvng4Jesus@charter.net

 

 



 

 

 

Copyright 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com




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