That summer mom and I walked into the audiology office with confidence that I had indeed been wearing my hearing aid. However, when they did the test on my hearing they noticed a significant drop in my left ear. During those four years my hearing had actually been declining most likely from the disease that caused the loss in the first place. My hearing in my left ear was now at a 80-90% hearing loss, but my left ear was fine. Due to the drop I needed a new HA with a higher power to push the sounds I was hearing all the way to my brain. However, two years later my world was rocked harder. It seemed like God wasn’t done using my hearing. The two years following my revelation I kept telling my story to Ms. Soto’s ASL classes, and sharing with my church. I kept playing basketball and doing theater, but made sure my director and coach knew what accommodations I needed from them. Then the summer before senior year I was hit
with a weird sensation in my right ear. There was a ringing in my ear. I figured that it was just water stuck in my ear due to being a life guard (it was my second year after all), but no the ringing didn’t go away all summer. In addition to the ringing, I was having to turn my TV louder than before, and I couldn’t hear my alarm in the morning. So August 2012 when school was starting my mom took me to the audiologist and they did some tests. When the doctor walked into the waiting room she had a perplexed/sad look on her face. “Your hearing in your right ear has significantly dropped. We don’t know what is causing the ringing, but you do need a hearing aid for that ear now. Your hearing is now at a severe to profound hearing lost in both ears.” “You don’t know what the ringing is?” “No, sorry. Maybe you should talk to a ENT.” So we did, but they didn’t give us any answers. The way we found out what caused the ringing was through a Deaf person when mom and I were filing paperwork for a Deaf tuition wavier that I was now eligible for. I was now living with a disease called Tinnitus. It is a constant ringing/buzzing noice that is 24/7 that can only be reduced by other sounds. For example, if there isn’t music on surrounding me than the buzzing is loud and clear. The buzzing/ringing doesn’t go away. We didn’t receive any answers as to what caused it, there are many theories, but all we know is that it was an answer to a prayer as well as a curse. I lost my hearing, but I gained the financial ability to go to college. The only answer I have for that is, it was all God. Prior to my hearing dropping I was ineligible for that tuition wavier I had mentioned. The only way I could apply for it was if I was severely to profoundly deaf in both ears. I wasn’t asking to lose more of what I barely had, but he allowed my hearing to fail in order for Him to have his way. My hearing dropping changed my future, and God provided in such an extraordinary ways.
That tuition wavier allowed me to go to any public university or college in Texas tuition free. The only things that I responsible for were my books, dorm, and food. God provided a way for me to go to Texas State University without really having to worry about money. The tuition wavier allowed me to get money from the school to pay for the things I needed. In college God did the unthinkable. He used my hearing to minister to those around me, and he used my hearing to bless me. In short, I had in-class captions and notes for every class, I performed a christian song in front of 900+ students and faculty about the redeeming power of God, and I was able to test out of a year of ASL so that way I would graduate on time! God was so good, and still is being good to me. Although, it took me paying attention to Him in order for me to see Him work. God used the one thing I hid for so long in such mighty ways throughout my life. He used my story to minister to 500+ students in Ms. Soto’s classes over the course of 5 years. He used me to tell stories of how great and mighty He is in ASL. He used my hearing to help me embrace who he has made me to be. We aren’t meant to hide our imperfections from the world. We are meant to show them off. Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s powers may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul is saying that in our weaknesses God moves. He takes what we hide, excuse, and ignore and turns it into something beautiful in the end. We don’t see it as we are walking through it (I certainly didn’t), but after the storm has passed you look back and say, “Wow God, I see what you did there. I see how you used that one thing I disliked about myself for your glory. I didn’t see it then, but I see it now. Thank you.” My hearing story (as well as the other stories with my heart) are not done playing out yet. God is still working on my #1 insecurity, but I’m done hiding it. Are you?