“At this point you are not expected to hear much.” “It’s okay if you don’t hear many of the sentences.” “Just do the best that you can.” These were the words spoken to me by the audiologist as she crouched down to look me right in my face.
She might have thought I didn’t hear her words mixed with caution and low expectations because I continued to smile as I walked the worn path to enter ‘the black box’.
I had walked this road for so many years it had become deafening. Each turn on this hearing journey seemed to lead to roads of despair and discouragement. There were no longer any more right turns available for me or so it seemed. I thought they had all been taken. The last right hand turn taken - a silencing dead end. The streets traveled seemed to have arrows reflecting one way and it looked like there was no way back to sound. That’s where I had been trying to go. The land of sound. In the past, when I looked at the map, I saw a few left turns remaining but the window of opportunity on the left side was slowly fading. I had stared down the mountain of isolation. The journey tried wreaking havoc on my mental state. I, personally, was running out of gas. The stores I frequented closed due to abandonment. I didn’t know how much longer I could continue on this journey. I needed rest.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to ME. Get away with ME and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with ME and work with ME - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with ME and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28 MSG
And that is why I smiled as I walked to take yet another hearing test in the confines of ‘the black box’. I was at rest. I no longer was bound by the physical. It was in the day to day with Jesus the burden of deafness was lifted and I was free. I declared I would continue to do God’s will whether in silence or sound. Everyday with HIM.
And the results? Yes, they are in. The audiologist reminds me that my benchmark is set at zero. Yes, prior to right ear implant surgery I heard nada. Zilch. Nothing. I am now able to hear and repeat back 77% of the sentences using just my right ear.
You know what? I honestly don’t remember most of what was said after the hearing results were given. It’s not because I couldn’t hear her but because at this point I was beside myself. My heart overcome and swollen with thanks and praise. My foot had begun to tap and my mind started to race. Who will I call first? Who will I tell?
As I stepped onto the elevator a nurse manager, that’s what her tag said, greeted me and asked how my day was going. Well, why did she do that. My response was probably way more than she ever expected. Poor woman. For she was the first person I had an opportunity to tell. She was so inspired that she raised her arm in order to extend out her open hand and I then did the same as we celebrated with a high five. I think I skipped off the elevator (at least it felt that way).
All in all, I am so grateful for my healing. I truly believe that in my day to day with Jesus I have experienced the unforced rhythms of grace. I pray that you will, too.
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on HIM, for HE cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7 AMPC
Cast your burden on the LORD [releasing the weight of it] and HE will sustain you; HE will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22 AMPC
As my cochlear implant surgery drew near I found myself getting more and more anxious.
Do not be anxious about nothing but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving make your requests known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I recited that verse in Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 and 7 over and over and over again.
Okay. Make your requests known to God. So, I decided to write my requests down. This is what I wrote: Let YOUR hand be upon me as I go into surgery. Let me come out healthy and whole. Intelligent with all my faculties one hundred percent intact. Let me see the light of day. Let healing come to my ears so that I can hear the whispers of YOUR world. The one that YOU spoke into existence. The one that YOU the CREATOR created for me to enjoy. Let me have many more healthy and whole days on this earth. Let this be a new beginning for me as YOU continue to give me the desires of my heart.
On the day of surgery I was so nervous. I dreaded being put to sleep. And the nurses and doctors and anesthesiologist were not helping my fears subside on that day.
I was so trying to keep it together. I must’ve gotten up to go to the bathroom three or four times. Heck, maybe even more. They finally wheeled me to the operating room and I am fit to be tied. I am thinking about the miracle, that I had sort of given up on, and it was soon coming to pass. I just need to make it through surgery. I look up and see the room number is 242. Crazy as it seems I begin to think two plus four plus 2 is eight. Eight. I am going to be fine. I breathe a sigh of relief.
The team rolls me into the operating room and then signals for me to move over to the operating table. I’m shaking uncontrollably. Someone makes a gesture to ask me if I am cold while placing warm blankets over me. As they are doing that I hear myself whisper, “No, I am afraid.” As soon as I hear myself say this I immediately think I need YOU Jesus. My teeth are chattering uncontrollably as if I’m in a freezer or out in the cold with no coat or boots on a below zero, windy, blustering snowy day. I cannot stop them. They have now placed the oxygen mask over my face and I am fixated on trying to get my teeth to stop chattering so I am in another zone. I feel someone touch my soldier gently so I look up only to see some guy standing over me and motioning for me to breathe. I remember that I was instructed once they put the mask on I needed to take deep breaths so my lungs could fill up with oxygen. I immediately start breathing in and as I exhale I say Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! I remember three repetitions of calling on the name of Jesus and then waking up. As I wake up I am thinking Oh LORD, thank YOU for allowing me to live and now I know I am going to be a-okay. As I sit up I notice I am not dizzy. My husband is now in the room and he has snapped a picture of me. He shows me the picture and I notice I am smiling. I can smile! I can smile! All my fears have now subsided. I am at peace. You know how I really knew that I was at peace? The fact that my husband was taking pictures of me, in the hospital, just coming out of surgery, and I hadn’t opened my mouth to start the next world war (between him and I). I didn’t even care and that was enough to let me know that I was truly at peace.
A few days later I go to write in my journal and remember the room number. 242 summed up as the number eight. I look up the number eight on the Hebrews4Christians.com website. Here is what I learn. Chet. The eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Chet. It rhymes with mate. The pictograph looks like a wall or fence. Chet represents grace and the concept of new beginnings. Since Chet is formed from the Vav (number 6) and Zayin (number 7) connected by a yoke we can see that this letter pictures our relationship to the LORD Jesus as HE leads and teaches us on the pathway of life.
In closing I want to share with you what I jotted in my journal that day:
There is a wall or fence being taken down in my life. The wall preventing me from hearing. It is done. The operation took place in a room that symbolized grace. A room that symbolized new beginnings. And all I could do in that room is call out for Jesus. The ONE who leads and teaches me on the pathway of life. Totally Amazing!!!!
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. Eleanor Roosevelt
God, WHO at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past…
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways…
These are the first set of words in the opening sentence of the Book of Hebrews from two different translations (KJV and NIV respectively).
When I read the words of the very first sentence I started to laugh. Laugh, you think? Yes, laugh. Actually, busting out laughing and then in tears. Yes, tears again.
I thought about my hearing and how seven years ago losing a great deal of my hearing was devastating. The job that I thought I would work at until retirement came to an end as a result of the hearing loss. During that time I had no idea what I might do next with my life and then the LORD spoke to me and said write. Now, here we are seven years later and I now have even more hearing loss. In fact, all the 'aidable' hearing in the right ear is gone. Through it all I am not really understanding why this is happening to me. I prayed for hearing and received no healing. Go figure.
I thought about how I had determined that healing would come. Miraculously. And I determined how that would look. I believed in how that would be.
So today as I sit here and write this I want you to know that I am healed. I have a cochlear implant in the right ear. By a doctor. Who loves Jesus. As you enter his practice the first thing you see in gold letters is, “He that hath an ear, let him hear… Revelation 2:7.” Imagine that!
For about six years I have been welcomed by this Word for every scheduled appointment and still prayed for my miraculous healing to come as I believed it would. And that did not include surgery.
In the past the doctor and I talked cochlear implants. I was adamantly opposed and had said the only way I would do it was if I had lost all of my hearing in one ear or both. The doctor exhibited amazing patience throughout the years because he continued to make me feel important and never pushed me into a decision. He never went against my will. Pretty funny, huh?
The day that I decided I would finally submit, because now I had no hearing in my right ear, I noticed my doctor had a new picture hanging on his wall. It was a picture of Jesus laughing. And I imagine HE is.
So just as the writer of the Book of Hebrews opens letting us know God spoke whenever and however HE chose, I am learning there is no putting God in a box. That is what made me laugh and then cry. Tears of joy. See, I never dreamed that God might have a different plan for me. A different way of healing me as part of my hearing journey. A cochlear implant. Through a doctor who exhibited the patience of a saint. Orchestrated by an unpredictable awesome God.
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
For MY thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways MY ways, says the LORD. For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are MY ways higher than your ways and MY thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 AMP
O LORD my God, I cried to YOU and YOU have healed me. Psalm 30:2 AMP
As I lay in bed my eyes dripped with tears drenching my pillow. I’m trembling. I can’t stop. The tears are raw and I am bursting with emotions. I just can’t stop crying. Once the first tear broke free the rest followed in an uncontrollable manner. On this particular summer morning, I awoke again in tears. I am blubbering and all I can do is cry out words that barely can be understood. I so want to hear. I am tired of living life like this. I want to be able to hear clearly and precisely. With many and with a few. I want to be able to join in on healthy conversations with my family. I want to be able to go to conferences and enjoy the teachings…the camaraderie… make connections…friendships… I want to be part of a women’s group again and be able to engage in the dialog. I want to be able to participate in training whether audio or video with captions or without.
In between each sentence I am desperately trying to catch my breath to gain my composure. I look up to the ceiling and with salty tears still streaming down my face I end by saying, “Yes, I know LORD. I want so much.” And the release continues.
And on this day the LORD sent Daniel. Hope in a guy named Daniel. See, later that same day my husband and I went to a neighborhood meeting and sitting a few rows in front of us was a guy with not one but two cochlear implants. I watched with amazement at how he was interacting with everyone around him. Those beside him, both left and right. Those in front of him and those in back of him. Even those further down the aisle. I couldn’t believe it.
The whole time we were in this meeting I knew I had to talk with him. And when the meeting was over I did. He had just received his implants almost a year ago and he could hear at over 90%. Before implants he could only hear at roughly 15%.
I knew the LORD set this divine appointment up on this day. Just so HE could let me know it’s okay to cry and HE hears me. And HE gives us hope just when we need it.
So, today, maybe you aren’t feeling paralyzed socially by deafness as I was. Maybe you are feeling paralyzed by something else. Some loss. Some seemingly catastrophic event. Some hurt. Whatever you may be going through or experiencing I am hear to tell you that it is okay to cry. Cry out to God that is. After all, Jesus did. Strong crying and tears, I might add.
Be Strengthened and Encouraged in HIM,
In the days of HIS flesh [Jesus] offered up definite, special petitions [for that which HE not only wanted but needed] and supplications with strong crying and tears to HIM WHO was [always] able to save HIM (out) from death, and HE was heard because of HIS reverence toward God [HIS godly fear, piety, in that HE shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright Presence of the Father]. Hebrews 5:7 AMP