Friday, May 24, 2013
Miracle of Hearing by Billie Timmons (Previously Penned "White Picket Fence"
If you read my first blog for Train Up a Child called “White Picket Fence,” then you know my daughter, Abbi was born profoundly deaf. I believe God prepares us for every trial we go through. We don't usually see that preparation until we are in the midst of, or more often than not, on the other side of our trial. I remember as a teenager being fascinated with sign language. I checked out sign language books from the library to try and learn it. Later on, a young deaf man joined our church. I sat mesmerized watching his sister sign the sermon to him. Recently, my mom brought me a piece of paper she found in our big family Bible that sat on the coffee table for many years. The paper had a poem hand written by me that I had copied from the newspaper. The poem was about God giving disabled children to special mothers. I don't remember copying this poem, but the date I had written on it was 1979. I was 14 years old. God knew then, and He gently prepared me.
After finding out Abbi was deaf, I prayed for her healing, had her anointed with oil, and prayed over. A local church devoted an entire service just to pray for her healing. As I said before, I finally prayed an unselfish prayer to God. I lay in the bed that night and instead of begging and even telling Him to heal her like I had in the weeks before, I asked Him to heal her if it were His will. I asked Him to give me peace and the ability to accept and deal with her deafness if it were not in His will to heal her. I felt instant peace and the tears stopped. I didn't give up the desire for her to hear, nor did I stop praying for her to one day hear me say "I love you." I just knew He wasn't going to heal her at that time, and I accepted that.
My husband, as I said in the previous blog, didn't come to accept it as quickly as I did. He eventually did after a "little nudge" from me...wink, wink! I hope that I didn't make him appear cold and uncaring in my description of how that unfolded. He was and still is a very caring and loving father, but like most men he had a difficult time dealing with and expressing his feelings. I knew when he said he had faith God would heal Abbi, and she wouldn't be deaf forever. We shared the same faith that God would one day heal her. It would be in His time and in His way.
I worked with Abbi while I waited. We went to therapies and had in-home therapies as well. Because she was just a baby, we learned baby signs. Beginning when she was about 8 months old until she was 2 years old, she eventually came to understand some basic commands and requests: "Go get your shoes;" "Let's go take a bath;" "Do you want a cookie?", etc. The only vocal sound Abbi made was a high-pitched squeal that I was sure could break glass. The first time she signed "Momma" was so exciting for me, but I still longed to hear her say it.
When Abbi was a little over a year old, our therapist mentioned something about a cochlear implant. I didn't know what that was, so she did her best to explain it to me. She worked with another young child that had one, but she didn't want to mention it to me until she saw the results firsthand. She was impressed enough to tell me about it. Part of me was excited about the possibility of her hearing, but part of me was unsure if we should put her through a surgery like that with no guarantee it would work for her.
After much prayer and a very long evaluation process, we went through with her cochlear implant when Abbi turned two years old. I was prepared for it to work wonderfully, but I was also expecting it to not work wonderfully. I've always been a "prepare for the best, but expect the worst" kind of person, but I'm finally moving past that.