What Can Grow in the Dark?

July 13, 2016 Developmental System, Family Stories, low muscle tone 1 Comments

Thunderstorms – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em.

It was 5:00 am when the crack of thunder woke us all up. My six-year-old crawled into our bed for the very first time. Yes, it’s normal for some children to be frightened by thunderstorms, but for some reason, he really hates them. Even the mention of a possible storm has him up all night worrying.

Personally, I love going to sleep during a thunderstorm. The sound of the rain, flashes of light, and that deep rumble. One of the things I learned this summer from my chemistry-loving husband, is that thunderstorms actually help our garden grow. Seriously! The lightening enriches the soil; something to do with nitrogen… or something. (I majored in Elementary Education for a reason.)

I began thinking about creation. Our God uses every element to work together in order to grow life: the soil, the rain, even the lightening and storms. After the seed breaks apart and is almost washed away with the water, it begins to grow deep under the dark soil. How interesting. The first piece of growth is under the ground, in the dark.

We’re like that, too. Our growth also happens in the dark. Just as God uses all of the elements in nature to grow our tomatoes and green peppers, He uses all of the elements in my life to grow my heart. My past, my present circumstances, my personality, and even the storms of life bring about the best growth.

Just as the tiny seeds first grow under the ground, we don’t recognize our own growth right away.

Being home with our adopted daughter this past year was a huge turning point in my own heart. Through everything regarding our daughter’s adoption, our trip to China, and all of the hardships of parenting a child with an unknown diagnosis, I’ve learned to say, “God is faithful!”


The seeds we’ve planted this past year are finally starting to show growth:

– Physically, she is so much stronger. She can cruise along the couch and has even taken her first few steps. It feels a little funny cheering on a three-and-a-half-year-old to walk, but oh it just reminds me how far she has come. She will walk this year; I just know it!

– Her language development is also improving. She can now say one or two ‘words.’ Even though she is non-verbal, she still communicates. Her receptive language is amazing. In fact, we believe she understood everything after being home for only four months. Now, she can follow conversations and have the appropriate emotional responses. The growth of her verbal language has a long way to go, but we are so thankful to see her progress.

– There has still been no official diagnosis other than she has “low muscle tone.” We are confident she will only continue to grow.

– Her heart-growth has been mostly underground these past fifteen months. We’ve seen glimpses of green through all of the tears and tantrums. She is still growing and learning to trust us. I can say with confidence that she knows who Mommy and Daddy are, but I’m not certain that she grasps the depth of our relationship to her yet. When I look at my own biological children, they’re not any different. A fifteen-month-old baby doesn’t grasp what the words “mommy” and “daddy” mean, but he does realize that they’re important. So it is with her.

We are still planting seeds. We are still watering the soil. Her little heart needs lots of nurturing, but that’s ok. Attachment and growth take time and patience. Just as we are patient to let our garden grow, waiting until just the right day to reap the fruit of our labor, I am patiently letting my daughter’s heart continue to grow and learn. I will wait for just the right day for her to understand the depths of our love for her. She’s worth the wait.

If you are still waiting to bring your child home, know that all of the paperwork and waiting will be worth it!

If you are still waiting for your child’s acceptance and love, keep planting seeds! Keep tending the soil, and let the storms of rage, tantrums, and tears water that soil. The growth might be hidden right now. It might be hard to see any progress. Take comfort in knowing that God can see in the dark.

It is miraculous for a huge apple tree to start out as a small black seed, and equally miraculous to watch it grow over time.


We often like to skip to the end, but God is asking us to trust Him, even in the dark times.

Our Heavenly Father sees the seasons of loneliness, loss, and heartache. Just as He uses the thunderstorms to help grow His creation, He is using this time of suffering to grow you as well. Your growth will come – nothing is wasted with our God! He is patiently tending to your heart.

You might be surprised to find what can grow in the dark.

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One response to “What Can Grow in the Dark?”

  1. Jill says:

    Your daughter sounds so much like our Sara, adopted from Ethiopia in 2014. No diagnosis but low tone and delayed. But after cheering her on for months and months she started walking at 3yrs old!! 🙂 Still non verbal except a few words though her receptive language is on point 🙂 doesn’t miss a beat… So encouraging to read your post, makes me feel not alone. Hard with out a diagnosis sometimes, but yes, our God is working!! Our girls are goin places I just know it 😉

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