Monday, August 10, 2009

How Do You Do It (with a smile)? Entry 3

Today's guest post is from my soul sister across the miles, Jeneil Russell.

She sets her sights on a word from the Lord in every single challenge from seizures to allergies to deployments. Then she crafts an eloquent, faith-building illustration in her blog, Rhema's Hope. Her site is a deep mine of treasures including a video about her family, a tribute to her husband's military service, the power in a name, and the utter joy of raising two beautiful daughters.

We got to meet face to face when I flew through Logan last month. I know exactly how Julia Child felt at the train station meeting Avis DeVoto, her inimitable pen pal of 7 years. Have you seen Julie & Julia yet? Go...

When I grow up, I want to be like Jeneil. Add her to your RSS!

How do you do it with a smile?

Well, there is no choice but to do it.

The sleepless nights, the endless hours of speech, OT, and ABA therapy, the doctor appointments, the IEP meetings, the seizures, the tantrums, the medications, the daily care, the special diets, the highs and lows… we do the life of autism every day.

God has fearfully and wonderfully made a beautiful, precious child and entrusted her to me. (That fact alone still amazes me). And she had my heart the moment I knew she was growing inside me. Love for her has always compelled me.

So I do it because I can’t not do it.

But to do it with a smile is something altogether different.

I smile. Because the God who created her loves her more than I ever could. I believe that He has a wonderful purpose and plan for her life. (Jer. 29:11). I believe that this is just a journey and one day she will be healed in total (if not on earth, in heaven) – seizure-free, senses a-righted, she will speak and understand and sing.

I smile. Because God is writing a story that is just too good. I couldn’t have come up with something better if I tried. The way her little mind works, the way she sees the world… it’s great material for smiles and laughter. Like when she thinks the toilet plunger is a large hat, or when she jumps out of the local pool soaking wet and hugs a lounging sunbather, or when she’s overcome with giggles for a reason unknown to us.

I smile. Because this life could have crushed us, but God has sustained us and re-made us. Everyday He speaks to us and teaches us, through a child without words.

The concerns for her future are there, always there. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. But as His perfect plan unfolds, my face cannot help but break into a big, joyful, grateful smile.


  1. Soul sistas indeed! Thank you, Andrea. 8)
    One of the sweetest blessings in blogging came for me when God made our paths to cross.