[You’ll Need New Hope In Your Heart]
Glasses clinking, a loud laugh nearby, and a Mexican ballad all swirled. I squeezed closer to my husband trying to catch a word of the conversation with our friends. Hoping soon for a table with warm chips and salsa. Suddenly, I feel extreme pressure in my right ear. At that moment I did not know how much my life would change. What do we do when the world suddenly and literally goes silent?
We had traveled north from down south, and that, along with some rain showers, lead me to believe I was experiencing some sort of altitude pressure symptom. Or perhaps allergies so, I popped a Benadryl. In a couple of days, I knew it was something else, something I had read about many years back. Then I made an appointment with Urgent Care and they quickly got me into an ENT doctor that day.
As the doctor strikes the tuning fork, I search his eyes, feeling nauseous and defeated.
For the next few months, I couldn’t drive as my balance was off. Noises were full of distortion and amplified, popping and startling. Meanwhile, I stopped working and my life became endless appointments, internet searches, and prayer.
When our lives are suddenly and drastically challenged by a health crisis it is easy to dive into fear and confusion. But God was on time and by His grace, Jeremiah 29:11-13 flows into my mind, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I certainly needed a future and a hope and held tightly to this awesome God promise. To know that God loved me and that He had a personal plan for me. Indeed, this gave me hope and a future to do my role. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
At night, my husband carefully massaged my ear soothing my worries. Together we prayed and my prayer warrior girlfriends joined in. Above all, I knew that God had a plan for me, a good plan, and that my hearing loss was somehow part of it. I suppose this was a key turning point in my life. That even though I had no idea of what was going to happen, through faith, I could turn it all over to God. Believing that somehow it was going to be okay. While my world goes silent, I didn’t need to.
The doctor confirmed my diagnosis as Sudden Sensorial Hearing loss (SSHL) in the right ear. There isn’t an exact reason or cause for this. Theories and treatments vary. But mostly the remedy is steroids by pills and/or injections. I found a wonderful doctor who gave me six steroid injections into the eardrum. Ouch! He also authorized twenty Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber treatments. This was a true test too! During this period, I went on a supplement and diet regime.
At my first hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment, I was extremely nervous. But there was an older man in the tank next to me. My dive partner was so calm and I thought if he can do this I can. For three hours we watched reruns of Leave It to Beaver, Perry Mason, and Matlock. Likewise, I was touched by the compassion of my nurses and doctors. God kept giving me hope along the way through scripture, prayer, and people.
Three years later some of my hearing is back and I have adjusted to life with hearing aids. There is some discussion of a possible cochlear implant in the future if needed. The brain and how it adapts when one of our senses is compromised is truly amazing.
Sudden challenges and changes in our lives, whether it be from health, job loss, financial security, family issues, or the pandemic this past year, are something that we can all relate to. The world goes silent! As we go through our valleys and mountain tops, we experience this incredible journey of life, of sweet and joyful moments, but also sad and stressful ones, too. Perhaps the sad ones make the good ones even sweeter.
I discovered that even though it is a different kind of hearing, I can hear better now than I ever did before. I leaned into Jesus and took His yoke, and He put new hope into my heart. The beauty of it all is that even when the world goes silent God never does.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 KJV
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