To Be Fully Satisfied 

The following is a repost from back in December at dailysurrendertojesus.com. It felt appropriate as I adjust to the complete loss of sound in my right ear, post surgery. One of the reasons cochlear implant surgery is reserved for those with profound loss is because, through the surgery, any natural hearing that remained is removed, and bypassed. When your loss is already profound it seems like a small sacrifice.

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My hearing loss has been impacting my life in a big way recently, as it gradually gets worse. Over the last 2 years I went from scoring a 52% on a word discrimination test, WITH the help of my hearing aids, to just a few weeks ago scoring a 38%. What that means is… communication is HARD, and getting harder. Without hearing aids I’m almost completely deaf, and with them, the strongest available, I still only hear about 38% of what people are saying. I rely on body language, facial expressions, lip reading, and it’s a great deal of work. Some days I feel defeated and end up in tears, exhausted by the effort of trying to decipher the day’s sounds.

But some days… I sit in sweet fellowship with my God and tell him thank you. Thank you for the silence. Because He speaks in the silence, and I love to hear His voice. When all the other voices are fading around me, His whisper has become louder in my life. His words clearer. He has drawn me in closer and revealed himself to me in ways that I may never have known without the experience of my loss. My commitment to him has grown deeper because of it. My dependence on him in even the most average of moments keeps showing me clearly how faithful and good He is. He keeps showing up and showing himself strong for me.

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to give strong support to those whose hearts are committed to him.” 2Chronicles 16:9

He truly does seek opportunity to support us when we sincerely desire the strength of his presence. He is faithfully by our side in the midst of every moment, extraordinary, difficult, or mundane. He will never leave us.

One of the hardships of hearing loss is the extreme loneliness that can be felt. Even with hundreds of people surrounding you, and so many conversations in your midst, it is normal with hearing loss to feel alone in the middle of it all. To sit in the midst of family and friends and desperately wish you could be part of their conversation, but no matter how hard you try you just can’t hear enough to figure out what is being said, can be the loneliest feeling. But God whispers loud in those moments and reminds me He is there. I pray for those who I can’t hear, and God’s peace settles over me. The prayer life that God has grown in me is one of the sweet blessings that cause me to thank him for my loss. When I start to feel alone, but turn to him, I find that his presence fully satisfies.

A precious friend recommended a wonderful book to me called He Speaks In The Silence, by Diane Comer. She shares her story of hearing loss, and how through her loss she finds greater intimacy with God. The first half of the book is her unique story, but the second half is both of ours, because it’s mostly about how God shows up, and He is good. Reading her book blessed me! Or rather, reminded me of how I’m blessed!

The word translated as blessing in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word, makarismos, which means “to be indwelt by God through the Holy Spirit and, therefore, because of His indwelling to be fully satisfied in spite of the afflictions of life.” (Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament) To be blessed actually means to be fully satisfied. To thrive on the inside even if life is falling apart on the outside. To be so filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit within, that we are able to endure and taste the sweetness of His love even in the midst of bitter reality. Even when it hurts, even when we do not understand.” ~from He Speaks In The Silence, chapter 6.

God is good. ALL the time.

Shared from my heart ~ Stacy

Surgery

I’m sitting in the waiting room at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. Today is my pre-op appointment. This Thursday is surgery day.  I am, admittedly, a bit nervous. Not so much about the surgery itself, as I’ve had a few of those, but because I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. In theory, the cochlear implant (CI) will “give me back” my hearing, but the reality is… I will be introduced to a brand new type of sound. An electronic sound that is foreign to my brain. The first six months, approximately, of “hearing” again, will actually be spent learning. Learning what every sound is. Learning to recognize every sound in its new electronic form. I know again and again I will depend on others to help me identify an audio world again. I know this because I watched my sister, my mom, and other family members go through this before me. The advice I’ve received from them is “Be patient.”, “Be prepared to work hard.”, and “Stay positive because it will be worth it in time.”.

 I know I will never have my natural hearing again. But this cochlear implant (CI) technology is still amazing to me. Even the first day with the CI sound processor should be an improvement in my ability to distinguish clarity of speech. While I am a little nervous, I’m also extremely excited! I’m hopeful. I look forward to participating fully in conversation again. 

The internal device will be implanted this Thursday, After a month of healing the external sound processor will be hooked up and programmed on October 23rd. 

34 days.

In lieu of a photo this week, I’m sharing this video, made by my nephew, of my sister’s experience receiving the CI… ​



Overcoming the Depression of Hearing Loss


A recent visit from my 20 year old son got me thinking back to the days at the beginning of my hearing loss. Just a few weeks ago he received confirmation from an audiologist of what we already suspected: he inherited my hearing disability. Sound will slowly fade away, as it did for me.  I hurt for him, and I rejoice in hope for him, for I now know this fading holds some beauty.

I was a teenager when I got my own confirmation from an audiologist. I knew my mom’s hearing disability was hereditary and I had already noticed signs of it, but that hearing test set it in stone and sent me spinning. Depression is a common experience for those who lose a sense that seems so vital in this life and world. Our society functions upon the assumption of hearing. Hearing loss creates a separation from society; a feeling of isolation when left out of conversations and activities that others are participating in. Being alone is lonely, but being left out is even lonelier; a kind of loneliness that sparks depression. 
“Why me?” That question rattled around in my mind for years. Occasionally it still pops up, but now I have an answer. This happened so that “the works of God should be made manifest in him(her).” John 9:3 

Manifest: to make clear or evident to the understanding. To reveal or expose. 

This happened so that the works of God should be revealed, understood, and made clear in me. 

The works of God is translated from the Greek word ergon, which means “that which one undertakes to do, or that with which one is occupied.”  

Experiencing the loss of my hearing has helped me to clearly understand that God is not occupied with physical prosperity or ease, which is temporary, but with the development and growth of our spiritual life, which is eternal. He has undertaken the task of transforming our hearts, and opening our spiritual ears to hear him and to know him. His occupation is to reveal himself to us. 

Helen Keller, though physically blind, saw the works of God clearly, and described it like this: “I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world.” 

Without a doubt, hearing loss is challenging! But my world is not as silent and lonely as I once thought it would be, for God speaks in the quiet, and his words are peace.

“Be still (be at peace) and know that He is God.”

huShhhh – When We Want to Hear His Voice

As a preschool teacher many years ago, before the severity of my current hearing loss, I learned a great secret: The secret to being very effective at calming a chaotic classroom, and getting noisy kids to hear me. When 3 and 4 year old noises get out of control, that is the time to find the quietest space, crouch low with a finger to your lips, and ever so softly… whisper.

Who will come sit beside me and listen? I have a great story to tell. Can you hear my whisper? Come, sit beside me. hushhh, listen.”

One by one the noises quieted as friends saw friends sit on the rug beside me, and whisper with me. Worked. Every. Time.

So it is with hearing loss, I’ve since learned. The more noise overlapping noise, the more difficult it is to hear that one voice I want to hear, for it blends into the chaotic environment. To hear I must step into a quieter space and sit close. It is easier to hear the contrast of a whisper in a silent room, than a yell undifferentiated among the sounds of a noisy room.

And so it is with hearing God, I’m learning. He doesn’t speak in the roar of the wind or the loud rumble of the quaking earth, but with a soft gentle whisper. (1Kings 19:11-12) With his still small voice he whispers an invitation to come sit beside him. We hear him when we hush the roar and the rumble of our mind’s distractions, join our friends who are sitting beside him, and in that stillness we listen to the whisper of His Word, with great attention.

Come, sit beside Him and listen. Be still, (be hushed), and know that He is God.

 

A Gift

From time to time God has gifted me with the ability to “hear”; The ability to read His Word and “hear” his voice say… this is what I’m telling you, this is what that means. A gentle whisper that says “Remember Luke 22:19” when I’m reading Exodus 25:30. A spiritual understanding that only He gives. He gifts us with spiritual ears. I have found it a bit ironic that my spiritual ears have opened as my physical ears have gone deaf. And yet, isn’t that quite fitting in this upside down kingdom of God, where the Almighty came to serve, and the least shall be the greatest?

The deaf shall hear. Hear what matters. Hear Him.

Just as Christ, the captain of our salvation, was made perfect through the things which He suffered (Hebrews 2:10), so we are being transformed into his image through the trials of this life. Hearing loss has been a daily struggle for me. Learning to hear again through the abnormal electronic sound of a cochlear implant will likely not be easy. But there is value in the things we suffer, value in the difficult. Physical hearing is a beautiful thing. But the loss of my hearing has taught me so much about listening to the Holy Spirit, a gift I cherish.

Those beautiful, physical things that we want to cling to, sometimes they wither and die. Can we see it as a gift? I suppose that’s what this devotional journal is really about. How the trials of this life can open up our understanding of the things of God. How

physical loss can be spiritual gain.