Testimonies: Healing Providence

Following is most of a note that Sheryl wrote to her parent's church that summarizes this testimony:

Providence had been delayed in everything since birth. At 13 months old, he wasn't crawling, babbling, responding to his name, or any of the things that 9 month old babies were supposed to do. He started crawling at 14 months, took his first steps at 17 months. He was saying a few words, but was nowhere near where he was supposed to be. He had two different speech pathologists say that he had a severe receptive and expressive language disorder, and was functioning at less than half his age. All the doctors were saying that he likely had autism. This was heartbreaking to us. I could handle delays and "slowness" but the thought of his heart and soul not being tuned in and "engaged" was awful. I wanted him to be able to love us.

We had been working on a number of things in therapy. One was naming body parts, another was responding to his name. We had his hearing checked twice, because we would call and call him, and he would completely tune us out. He could hear just fine, but we were hitting brick walls with therapy. We finally got in to a specialist at Kennedy Krieger Institute. They are known world-wide for their early identification of autism. Most kids are diagnosed around 3. THEY were being able to diagnose at about a year. The earlier children get diagnosed, the earlier you can start the right treatment. This is what we were banking on.

You know that verse that talks about people who have a form of Godliness, but deny it's power? Well, that's me. I began to feel such a conviction that I was not really trusting God with my child. I was saying with my mouth that I trusted him, but I was really putting my faith in medicine and in the right sorts of therapy. Even though I prayed for it daily, it never really crossed my mind that God would fix him. I re-read a verse in the Bible that I had read many times before: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well" (James 5:14-15). Yet, this time, it really spoke to me and I knew we needed to do just that.

We were both encouraged and strengthened by the blessings and prayers you spoke over Providence at church. We went forward from that day, expecting a miracle, that God would somehow make our little boy well.

At our doctor's visit, we saw a team of specialists. The speech pathologist was the first one we met with. She was using several testing programs. At one point, she showed Providence a picture of a boy. She told him it was a boy, and asked him to point to the boy's nose. He did! Then she asked him where HIS nose was. He pointed directly to it, and said "nose". I was very surprised, as we have been working on that skill for months, and he had NEVER been able to do it! He went on to point out his eyes, ears, hair, hands, feet, and mouth. We literally watched him develop 6 months worth of skills in moments. I'm sure the speech pathologist thought I was crazy, but I couldn't stop the tears. He really could NOT do those things before we went in... His tests from 2 months earlier stated that he was at a developmental age of 9 months. What a miracle! I'm excited to see his therapists at home this week, so that they can witness his improvements. I am praying that God will stir their hearts, and that they will see what God's power can do.

Rusty, your passion and enthusiasm for God and his work is so apparent and contagious. He is obviously working steadily and faithfully through your life and congregation. I pray that God will continue to bless you, as you are such a blessing to others.

In Christ,
Kordel and Sheryl Lentine

Update (as of 4/26/2016):
Providence's diagnosis of autism was later downgraded to a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). When he was 18 months old he was barely verbal and moved about with a type of belly crawl. We did not know if he would ever walk and talk. He progressed from there into a happy 3-year-old who loved to run and jump and joke and laugh. He is now a healthy 9-year-old who doesn't know how to stop talking! He is such a blessing to us.

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