I love Peter's experience of walking on the roaring sea with Jesus. But the thing is, Peter's story is often misunderstood. Do you have a step you need to take?
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This post continues the Stories from Ukraine Series. To see the post that kicked everything off, please CLICK HERE.
I have a profound hearing loss and wear hearing aids in both my left and right ears. My left ear when aided can only hear extremely loud explosions (which can occur frequently in this house of all boys). My right ear when aided is my lifeline, even with a hole in my eardrum. Many are simply amazed that I can communicate as well as I do. I do not have any slurs in my speech, and vocal discrepancies in my tone and if anything, I struggle with speaking too fast. Isn’t God amazing?
Whenever I travel, I make sure to visit Glenn, my favorite audiologist, before leaving town. He takes the time to clean out my aids, replace parts and make sure everything is working properly. I spent extra time with him just days before leaving for Ukraine, ensuring that both aids were working properly and prepared for the change in climate.
A few days into the trip, I woke up and placed my hearing-aids in as usual. My left aid functioned fine. My right aid had absolutely no power.
If I was back home, I could have easily texted in a request to Glenn and he would have done his best to make sure I was seen within a few hours.
But I was far from home.
Far from comfort.
Far from me being able to control this circumstance.
I tried cleaning the aid the best I could manage. I even borrowed a teammates toothbrush to really make sure everything was accessible (and a bonus, I was told I could keep the toothbrush!).
Hours later I was still walking around Ukraine with one hearing-aid and there were no explosions, except the self-defeating thoughts roaring through my mind.
“Bethany, how could you let this happen?”
“Why did you come to Ukraine?”
“You are not supposed to be here. Now you can’t even communicate.”
“You are alone.”
“God doesn’t even love you enough to use you here.”
You know, the thoughts you say to yourself that you wouldn’t allow anyone else to say to you. Why do we beat ourselves up like this?).
As I watched my teammates talk and plan for the day’s events, I tried so hard to read the lips moving a million words a minute. It became exhausting and impossible. I stopped. Trying hard to keep my composure, I silently asked God to please show that He was in this.
When you cannot understand the world around you, it’s like you are present but without a purpose. You feel stuck and more in the way than useful. It’s easier just observing.
If you know me well, you know “just observing” is not the way I choose to live my life. But at this point, I felt like I had no other choice.
Later that morning a translator used a piece of paper to write me a few notes in order to contact a few hearing-aid places in and around the area. The very first place she called was located just minutes from my host home and willing to see me immediately. So, the trip began!
Walking through the loud streets in silence.
Riding on the bus, keeping a close eye on my friend to make sure I departed when she did.
Following without conversation – that was hard.
As we made our way into a tall building and through several dark and narrow hallways, my friend opened a door to a small office. Behind the desk sat a cheerful woman in a white coat. She spoke no English which at the time didn’t matter as I couldn’t hear her anyway.
My translator literally had to translate the audiologist’s Russian into written English and my English into verbal Russian. My brain hurts just thinking about that!
For a few minutes, we entered this hopeless dialogue as Sara, the audiologist, was worried about breaking my hearing-aid. I (through my translator) convinced her that in its current state, there was no way of making it any worse. After my eyes met her for a few seconds, I could tell she was able to move forward, very carefully.
Within minutes my hearing-aid was spread across her desk in so many pieces. I was silently crying inside, but I kept smiling thinking that my engineer-minded second-born would think this was “so cool.”
I may not have taken a physical picture of this moment, but a mental picture is still well developed in my mind.
I felt completely helpless, lost and out of control. I was even angry at God for allowing this to happen. It made no sense. As the rest of the team is making steps forward for the kingdom of God, I was helpless looking at my dead hearing-aid spread across a desk. Seriously? This was not the mission trip I signed up for.
As she began to work with each piece, God began to speak to my heart.
“Can you hear Me now” I heard Him say. “Bethany, I love you kiddo. I have a plan even in this. I have you exactly where you need to be. I love you. Trust Me kiddo.”
When I hear the God of the Universe call me “kiddo” it just melts the world away.
As the hearing-aid took shape again, she handed it to me and motioned for me to put it in my ear. With a deep breath, I raised the aid to my ear and put it into place.
Suddenly the world turned back on. The silence ended and I felt human again!
All of us celebrated, sharing hugs with one another.
As I was brought officially into the conversation, Sara shared with me that this was her day job. In the evenings and on other days, she works with children and adults with cerebral palsy. This woman is in a country that still struggles to respect people with disabilities. She serves a community that feels like they have no voice. That day, she became my ears, my voice, and my hero too.
We took a moment and prayed together and of course, I took a picture!
Just a few days later, as God would orchestrate it, we had an amazing afternoon with several special needs students and young adults at the church. One mom greeted me after I spoke and shared that her daughter was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy and they had been unable to find care in the area. The mom wore hearing-aids that had not been serviced in years. I smiled as I shared the referral of the audiologist Sara I had seen. Currently, they have connected and both the mother and the daughter have more “hope” now that they have had in YEARS.
Bethany, have you never heard? Have you never understood? I AM the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. I never grow weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of My understanding. I give power to the weak and strength to the powerless. But when you trust in Me Bethany, you will find new strength. You will soar high on wings like eagles. You will run and not grow weary. You will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-29, 31 NLT)
And here I thought I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This may be the perfect moment to add that after returning to the States, Glenn looked at my hearing-aid and was puzzled as a huge crack should have prevented any sounds from being recognized by the aid. It should have remained dead, but God.
But God. (Hold onto those “But God” moments friends!).
We do not require perfect physical hearing in order to stay in tune to the voice of our Abba Father. It requires a pure heart and the courage to fight against the lies that dare to take root in our minds and hearts. It’s easier when we allow His voice to guide us even when we are threatened to believe it’s all over.
God has a purpose.
God has a plan.
Can you hear Him now?
Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!