Fearfully and Wonderfully made

Life with Giovanna is. . . .
December 15, 2004, 11:30 am
Filed under: Life with. . .

Our family spent 10 days in California early in December of 2004.  This was the first trip that Giovanna made to California to see our friends and family there.  Needless to say, she stole the show and the hearts of all that she came in contact with.


Giovanna had many adventures in the California desert – many adventures in which God built up her faith and hopefully her muscle strength.  The verse that best sums up her trip, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56: 3. 

One of the highlights for me was being able to share Giovanna’s story with a group of senior adults at a church in Bakersfield.  We were staying with friends who work at this church with the senior adults and “Grandma Joyce” invited me to speak to the group.  Grandma Joyce is a family friend, but has been adopted as a grandma by my kids.  The most amazing thing about this is that one of the ladies that was there that morning, was born and raised in China and still spoke some Chinese!  Giovanna did light up at the sound of her heart language.  Giovanna was the highlight of the morning and stole the hearts of all the senior adults. 

When the Ayers family goes to California, we have some favorite spots that we go almost every trip.  We always have a great time exploring God’s magnificent creation.  This trip was not an exception to that.  We tend to go Mountain and Rock climbing, hill hiking and Dune sledding – all of these present a significant challenge for Giovanna.  However we decided to try all of these things with her and see what would happen.  The worst that could happen is that I would end up having to stay behind with her (which I have done in the past with other small children)!


When we landed at the John Wayne airport, it was raining and it continued to rain for several days.  However God, in His goodness, gave us a bright sun shining day on the day we took off for the mountains.  As we headed north, we saw these huge fluffy white clouds kissing the sides of the mountains.  These were really low clouds, which made me wonder if we would be able to see Mr. Whitney.  Again God was gracious and once we got close, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and there was Mt. Whitney – tall and majestic and covered with snowJ!  The sight was breathtaking.


The road leading up the mountain was covered with snow and ice and had been blocked off.  So we spent some of the day climbing and hiking in the Alabama hills or Movie Flats – which are the foothills to the mountains.  This is where a lot of the old western movies were filmed.  These hills were challenging and fear producing for Giovanna – but she is not going to be outdone by the older kids and did a fair amount of climbing with a lot of help.  By the end of our time in the hills, she was beginning to understand how to “look” for a path and she began to search for and take the easier paths!


The next day was spent in the Trona Pinnacles.  The pinnacles are Calcium Carbonate land formations that seem to come out of nowhere in particular.  This is the only place in the United States where such formations are located and are great fun to climb.  They have also appeared in some of the Star Trek movies!  The older kids hit the ground running – or should I say climbing as soon as the van was parked.  Giovanna looked up at me and gave a heavy sigh and held out her hand as if to say, “OK Mom, let’s go.”  I think she began to realize that climbing up things is a huge part of being in this family!


This was the day that she learned to fall.  Watching Giovanna fall is rather comical.  It looks as if someone pulled a rug out from under her and her feet fly up as she belly flops onto the ground with her head going backwards so that it doesn’t hit the ground.  Her arms do not have the strength to slow the fall –but she never once hit her head.  God has given her the innate ability to protect her head.  Physical limitations are easy to deal with – brain injury might not be!  God is good.


However the place that Giovanna enjoyed the most was climbing around on the Sand Dunes in Death Valley.  Again the kids took off with their sleds on a mission to get to King Dun (not the real name, but it is what we have fondly called the largest dune for years).  Giovanna walked carefully out to the first dune – once she realized that it was not a hard sharp rock, she relaxed and had some fun.  I realized that God had a purpose for the skills that she fine-tuned in our back yard over the summer.  She would climb up the hill in the back yard on all 4’s and then flip over onto her back and roll down the hill for hours during the summer.  You guessed it – that is how she “Climbed” the Death Valley sand dunes.  For her, the mission was getting to King Dune (although she did).  The mission was to slow down and have some fun along the way.  For her the fun was in the journey – enjoying al the peaks and valley’s along the way.  She sis “slide” down King dune – on her bottom, the sled were much to fast.  She was content, to play in the sand at the top of the dune for the most part while the rest of the family raced down the dune!  The sled did come in handy for pulling her back to the van – it was at least a mile back to the van from King Dune and she wore herself out on the way there!!


As I have reflected on God’s placing of her into our family, I am beginning to see His hand in it.  We don’t hold back on the activities that we do because of her limitations.  We tend to challenger her and push her to the very limits of her abilities.  WE allow her to make the adaptations she needs to and give her assistance when required.  She has made the adjustments well and this trip was a huge stretch for her in many ways.  She still has many peaks and valleys to go through in her life, but maybe someday she will climb a mountain and Lord willing I’ll be by her side, every step of the way and more importantly – God will be directing every step through the valleys and over the mountains.  God will be her protector and her strength.  I am very thankful for what He has done and will continue to do in and through this little spitfire.