What A Difference A Sound Makes!

From the time he was born, our Little Man has had hearing issues. Initially, he was diagnosed with a severe and significant loss. After more tests, evaluations, and examinations, he was officially diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Since I myself have a hearing loss, I can mostly follow and understand not only his charts, but his struggles.

When we were told he would need hearing aids, it was a tough and emotional realization for me. My son, as a result of his hearing loss, is classified as special-needs. He has case-workers. He is recognized by our state as having a disability.

And I, as his mother, can’t do anything to make it better.

This is a profoundly emotional thing for me, especially in dealing as a parent after the loss of one of my children. The fact I still cannot protect my other children, and knowing he most likely got his hearing loss from me, makes me feel about an inch tall. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s a spiraling feeling. It’s a trigger.

I had been increasingly frustrated with his audiology appointments. I felt like I wasn’t understanding what was happening, what they were planning, why we weren’t moving forward with aids, but mostly – that we had to go to them at all because I couldn’t keep my son from having a hearing loss.

After his most recent ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) test and confirmation he still struggled in his hearing and would need aids, I broke down in the presence of the audiologist. I couldn’t hold myself together. I tried to dismiss it, saying, “I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning…” but the truth was it was hard news to take.

We got home, he let me snuggle a little extra that day, and we had an appointment for a couple of weeks from then for him to receive his aids.

A few days later I got a card in the mail from the audiologist. In browsing the waiting room looking for magazines to read, she came across an article I had written last fall about losing Harlynn. She had no idea we had lost a child (how do you bring that up at an audiology appointment?) but this discovery gave her far more insight as to why I was frustrated, why I was so emotional, and that I needed a little extra TLC in handling the news about my son.

That card made all the difference for me emotionally.

A week later, we went to have Little Man’s hearing aids put in. I was apprehensive. Will kids make fun of him? Will kids try to take these out of his ears? Will these be fuel for bullying? Will people treat him differently because he has to wear these for the rest of his life? I can’t protect him from any of this. Trigger…

The moment she put his aids in and turned them on, a whole new world opened up for Little Man. He made a few faces like he wasn’t sure what was going on, but within minutes, he was playing and carrying on like he had always worn hearing aids. I was blown away.

Sound

He’s had his aids for a week now, and aside from the occasional attempt to gnaw on them, he has done absolutely fantastic. He has become far more chatty than he was before having them. Hearing him babble and make all kinds of new sounds is thrilling for us. Not only is he super adorable, but he’s showing tremendous progress with regard to his speech development and understanding.

There are a few sounds we can tell he is hearing that we know he didn’t hear before, but really until he can coherently communicate with us, we won’t know the extent of how helpful they are. His behavioral hearing tests, however, have shown stark improvement with his aids and his response to sounds.

This is a good thing. It’s good, and exciting, and a blessing.

Everything that makes me apprehensive about my son having hearing aids is nestled in fear. Fear is a default for me – and for most bereaved parents. So many “what-if”s. So many unknowns. It’s how I measure everything that happens or could happen in my life.

The longer he has his aids, the more comfortable I am with the whole thing. Yes, he has a hearing loss, but he can still hear so much. These aids will transform his life for the better when all is said and done. I have nothing to fear, and there’s nothing Little Man will face as a result of his hearing aids we can’t trust God to get him through.

What a difference a sound makes!

Even If He Does Not

This past November, our senior pastor delivered one of those sermons you have a hard time swallowing. Not because of shady principles, or heresy, but because it’s hard to chew up a truth bomb that big.

He spoke on the passage in Daniel when King Nebuchadnezzar was going to toss Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego into the “blazing furnace”. They replied to the king, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even if he does not.

Gulp.

Even if he

It was many, many months once those initial weeks had passed after we lost Harlynn before I was able to really pray again. I felt like I wasn’t heard. My prayers weren’t answered. God definitely “did not”. In my own hurt and heartache, I had to process a lot of things in a new way. It was painful to think I went around declaring miracles for other people and yet one was overlooked for me.

It still stings sometimes.

I remember several years ago, one of our hometown heroes was in a bad accident and life-flighted to another hospital. I remember getting angry with the people from back home for not believing God would heal him, or save him. Everyone’s report was hopeless. I prayed earnestly God would save him, because I knew He could. I knew He would. Then, the man died.

I was crushed.

Here I had been upset with other people for anticipating death when a miracle was in order, then death overcame. Were my prayers not enough? Did God not hear my pleas? I was rattled, to be sure. Then, when the doctor told us Harlynn’s heart had stopped beating, I gave up on praying prayers of faith. My faith was obviously being overlooked.

When Pastor Glen started in on this passage, I remembered the Bible story I’d heard as a child. These three refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown into the furnace of fire to die as a result. They were not only saved, but didn’t even smell like smoke when they emerged from the furnace. Our children’s version skipped over this declaration from the three men. “But even if he does not….

Even if he does not, God is still able.

Even if he does not, God is still sovereign.

Even if he does not, God is still a God of miracles.

Even if he does not…I will still believe. I will still be faithful. I will still devote myself to Him. I started praying in faith again.

This past Monday, an old high school buddy was in a life threatening automobile accident. Driving to work on Monday morning, he was t-boned, suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple other injuries, and was life-flighted to another hospital….to die. The outcome was bleak. Another hometown hero, not going to make it.

When I heard the news, I went to my room and began to pray. The first few verses of Psalm 41 are my go-to when someone needs miraculous healing. I read the verses, I put Joel’s name in and claimed those truths over him. I cried. I prayed. I believed God would heal him. “But even if he does not,” I also believed everything for Joel’s family had already been taken care of.

My best friend, Tiff, called me to tell me the update. It wasn’t good. There on the phone, I began to pray – to beg God – for Joel’s restoration.

Joel, right now, is sitting in his hospital room, talking to loved ones. He recognizes them. He’s speaking. He’s breathing on his own. He came back from the brink of death.

Joel is living testament we still serve a God of miracles. I couldn’t be happier. For Joel, for his family, for his friends – my heart is just full of awe and wonder and amazement at where he is today compared to what we were hearing of him one week ago.

And tomorrow, my own Little Man faces a big appointment. He goes in for one final ABR before his hearing aids. However, at his last appointment, after several prayers for total healing for him, he was (unofficially) downgraded from a moderate-to-severe (implication on the severe) hearing loss to a mild-to-moderate loss. I’m believing that was only a phase in his process to total restoration of his hearing. I’m believing his hearing will be completely and miraculously restored. I’m praying we can forego hearing aids altogether.

But even if he does not….I will still believe God performed a miracle in my son. I will still believe God has many more miracles in store. I will still believe Little Man’s hearing will be completely restored one day.

Even if we do not get the miracle we ask for, in the way we ask for it, I will still believe God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is still a God of miracles. I’ve seen enough of them to know it to be true. I will continue to pray for miracles.

And even if he does not….He already has.