Our sweet Amelia Caroline was born on January 7th 2014 and she has not ceased to teach us about ourselves and God since.  We had a typical pregnancy and great birth and Amelia continued to grow and learn as all babies do.  Around 6 months we noticed that she was behind but nothing that was too concerning to her doctors. Around 9 months we were considering physical therapy to help with her lack of mobility (she was not rolling, crawling, really moving).  Right after her first birthday we went in for an appointment with the North Carolina Children’s Development Services agency fully expecting that she would qualify for early intervention based on her need for physical therapy.  We were told instead, that our daughter was significantly delayed in every area, and in some areas scoring in the 3 month range (at one year old).

We began receiving services through the early intervention program about two months later and have seen Amelia learn and grow and develop in ways that she had not during the first year of her life. She is currently crawling on her hands and knees, pulling up to standing, cruising on furniture and with the help of a walker, babbling, holding her own sippy cup, feeding herself by hand, understands many words- can say a few (mom, dada, nana, bub-short for bunny) and for all of these things we praise God!

I felt the need to write this out because I want to make clear what may be difficult to discern between Instagram posts and pictures. We love Amelia and accept her and receive her as a blessing from the Lord regardless of her abilities now or potential abilities in the future. Through therapy we hope to help Amelia achieve as many “normal” childhood milestones as she can but her value and worth to us and to God are by no means contingent on her meeting any of these milestones! When I post pictures of Amelia on social media in celebration of a milestone met, it is simply that- a celebration- we are rejoicing in all of her hard work and God’s grace in allowing her to acquire a new skill (just like any parent would).

Amelia has taught me so much about the character of God through her existence and so much about myself- namely that I often base my worth as a person, wife, mother, friend, woman on my abilities. She has so challenged this view because if I believe my worth is based on what I can do then surely hers must be too.  I, just like my daughter am infinitely precious to God because He created me in His image. And the purpose of my life is not found in what I achieve, contribute or succeed in but in living a life that honors and points back to my Creator as the Glorious One- and the greatest achievement accomplished by Christ who humbled Himself and took on flesh and lived the perfect sinless life I (and you!) can not live, dying in my place- bearing the wrath of God that I (and you!) deserve for our sins, and then was raised from the grave victorious over sin!  The purpose of my life and yours and Amelia’s is to bring glory to this great God who has made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself.

Amelia’s developmental delay, whether for just a season or for the rest of her life is an affront to the message of this world which screams that your worth is found in what you can do (what you look like, how much money you make, what type of job you work, etc..) and beckons me to embrace Jesus and His message, “For we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,”- Titus 3: 3-5  If you are in Christ, you are loved and accepted by God based on the merits of His Son alone.  And if you are not trusting in Christ, I implore you to throw off the back-breaking yoke of this world and run to Jesus in repentance and faith and receive His love and acceptance not because of what you have done but because of who He is and what He has achieved!

Amelia was the name that we felt the Lord gave us for our sweet girl before we even knew she was a girl, and we later learned that the Hebrew version of that name ‘Amalya’ means ‘work of the Lord’. We praise God for His workmanship on display in her life and pray that He would continue to glorify Himself through her!