I once had someone pray that I would be healed of hearing loss.
In today’s airbrushed, PhotoShop world, flaws can be erased in just a few keystrokes. My hearing loss was something I wanted to disappear. So when the person of great faith prayed for my healing, tears welled in my eyes. I was overwhelmed at the possibility that I wouldn’t have to wear hearing aids to have a normal conversation, or that my children could ask me a question one time and I would understand them.
Some may be skeptical of the healing-prayer belief. I was. Doctors and medicine contribute to healing, but people who pray?
In the spring of 2007, I attended a worship service with a lifelong friend. She was concerned about my hearing struggles, as I was. She caught the sounds I missed during our time together… The jokes I didn’t laugh at. The conversation I pretended to hear even when I didn’t have a clue. My young boy’s comments from the back seat of the car while we drove; his repeated use of the words “stupid mom.”
“That’s enough,” my friend said to him. “You don’t talk to your mom that way.”
“What did he say?” I was oblivious, and it embarrassed me.
At the worship service, she walked with me to the altar for prayer time. A pastor met us there.
“What can I pray for you?” he said.
Somewhere, the Bible talks about the proper way of praying for a person’s healing. I didn’t know the exact verse, but the pastor did.
“‘Is any one of you sick?'” he read from James in the New Testament. “‘The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.'”
My flawed ears made me sick at my stomach. How could I be a good mom without the ability to hear my kids’ words clearly? How many times had I been called “stupid mom” from behind my back? How many times had I let my boy say that to my face without realizing it?
I allowed the pastor to pray for my ears to be healed, for the ability to hear my children. Tears welled, then slid down my cheeks. I didn’t wipe them away.
When the prayer ended, the pastor motioned for me to remove my hearing aids. He then asked me to repeat his words without reading his lips. Yeah, right. How can Lipreading Mom do that?
The pastor covered his mouth and spoke to me. The words I heard were, “What state do you live in?”
After I answered him, he and my lifelong friend exchanged hopeful gazes. I’d answered correctly.
A week later, I went to my audiologist for a hearing test. I wanted documented proof that something had changed in my hearing ability. After sitting in the listening booth and responding to beeps and spoken words via headphones, I waited for the test results.
Something had changed with my ears. I could hear the highest frequency sounds to which I had been deaf the week before.
I had been healed. It was a miracle. I wasn’t deaf anymore. Really? WOW.
A year later, I sat in the same hearing booth. Something had changed again with my ears. I wasn’t sure if it was an ear infection or hormonal changes during my third pregnancy or noise exposure, but I couldn’t hear the highest frequency sounds anymore. I thought my brain was playing tricks on my ears. How could I be deaf to sound, healed, and then deaf again?
Regardless, the test indicated what I feared. The hearing gain I had made after being prayed for was gone. Just like that.
I had other people pray for my ears. I prayed for my ears. I pleaded with God, read, and reread verses about prayer in the Bible. I dreamt about not having hearing loss and wrote about it in my journal.
Each year, my hearing tests revealed more hearing loss. Had I imagined someone had prayed for me and I had actually been healed?
In discussing this experience with one of my hard-of-hearing friends, she offered this perspective. “Healed or not, you haven’t changed. You are and will always be you.” Hmmm…
Healed or flawed: which do I prefer? Somedays, I want to be free of hearing loss, particularly when my kids scream to get my attention because I can’t hear them clearly. Sometimes I want to be deaf when they yell!
I’ve had the experience of being both hearing and deaf.
Right now, I prefer the path I am currently on. Born hearing, now hard of hearing. Mom of three healthy children.