The New Normal

IMG_0439Two weeks ago I had an appointment with my ear doctor who just happens to be my sweet daughter-in-law. How providential that God gave me a daughter (I raised two sons) who truly understands the needs of the hearing impaired. Laura has helped me understand hearing loss in a way no other expert ever has. She may not be hearing impaired herself, but she has her own health issues. Serious health issues that have given her a compassion and tenderness people long to see in their health specialist. She “gets it.” She gets it when someone needs reassurance. She gets it when someone needs understanding. She gets it when someone needs comfort. She gets it when someone needs an advocate.

Can you possibly understand what this has done for my own self-esteem? No longer do I want to hide or retreat. Laura has educated me. As my hearing deteriorates this education has gone a long way in helping me deal with the ignorance of the misinformed. I no longer get on the defensive…I educate. Seriously, I think by the time I’m done with the class lecture the misinformed person is sorry he or she ever said anything negative to me at all. LOL. To those without hearing loss it can be B.O.R.I.N.G.

So Laura gave me an updated audiology exam. I sat in a sound-proof booth and big fat ear phones were placed over my ears. The door to the booth was shut tight and Laura played back a series of sounds in all different volumes and tones to determine what I can and cannot hear. She spoke words to me and I repeated them as best I could. This test helped her determine how to program my hearing aids so that I can hear as well as I possibly can.

Can I just educate all who want to know: Hearing aids are NOT a substitute for normal hearing. They amplify and clarify, but they aren’t really natural. After all, I wasn’t born with hearing aids already in my ears, but I wasn’t born with perfect hearing, either. My hearing is degenerative so I’m always needing updates.

After Laura reprogrammed my hearing aids I was shocked. The change was so completely unnatural to me that at that moment I didn’t know if I would be able to adjust. Laura assured me I would get used to my new way of hearing.

She was right. This is now my new normal.

What is normal, anyway? We all want to be normal. We want normal lives. Normal families. Normal relationships. Normal this. Normal that. Normal. Normal. Normal. Do we dare to believe that normal in the eyes of the world is highly over-rated?

Webster’s Dictionary defines normal as this: Conforming, adhering to, or constituting to a usual or typical pattern, level, or type; functioning or occurring in a natural way.

I don’t hear anything the way a person with normal hearing does, but it’s normal to me. Without hearing aids I wouldn’t hear much of anything at all, but I’ve adjusted to this new change. I’ve conformed to the new program. What was typical for me the past couple of years is now void. I’ve adhered to my new normal. I’m sticking like glue to what has become a lifeline into the world of hearing for me.

God doesn’t want me to get stuck in what was. He wants me to live with what is. Some things God wants to change so my life will be better, but there are just some things that won’t change. Like the fact I hear poorly and the fact I see imperfectly. As a matter of fact, yesterday I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist and guess what? It’s back to the ocularist for me. If you read my post last fall, Sweet Child of Mine, you have a bit of insight into this part of my life. I’m learning that sometimes God wants to do a new thing in me through changes in my physical issues.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

When change means adjusting to a new normal, then maybe God wants me to experience Him in new ways…like a way in the desert or a stream in the wasteland. When there’s no path laid out before me in a dry hot desert, God reminds me His footsteps are marked in the sand. All I have to do is follow them. When there’s no water for my thirsty soul in a barren wasteland, God reminds me He’s an oasis of underground springs. All I have to do is pitch my tent and drink freely. I can live in the past if I want to, but why would I when He’s in the new and very real present?

Last night before training began at the Pregnancy Care Center in Rocky Mount (I’m hoping to serve in this ministry. See? God is doing a new thing!) we began with a devotion from Hebrews 4:16,

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” 

Help in our time of need…for you, that means a different need than mine, a different circumstance, a different change, a different adjustment, a different desert, a different wasteland…a different normal.

Yet help is there for us no matter the need. So is the confidence that God supplies the grace straight from His throne….straight from heaven.

Sounds to me like God wants us to experience a bit of heaven on earth…who would ever have thought that there would be a bit of heaven found in each new normal we learn to accept and adhere to as part of God’s plan for each of us. I think this is a very cool thought. I feel educated.

So…I’m stickin’ like glue to Jesus….my Lifeline, my Advocate…the One who gives me all I need to live in the new normals of life.



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