How God restored my hearing and healed my heart
Was Brook Hensley gullible? A daredevil? Or just curious?
When it comes to explaining how she lost her hearing in her right ear, take your pick.
She was 7. It was Father’s day.
“My sister dared me to stick a pencil in my ear, and I did it.”
Then Brook yanked it out. That was the big mistake, doctors told her.
Removing the pencil caused the most damage, exposing her central auditory nerve and dislodging her main hearing bones.
Surgeries couldn’t fix any of it — only manage the consequences.
Not only did Brook lose 90 percent of her hearing, but she still needed constant visits to the doctor to flush out wax and dirt buildup to prevent infections.
The surgery also left her face paralyzed on the right side for several years, too.
You can imagine the challenges for a girl’s self-esteem and the struggles with teasing. The hearing loss was particularly crushing for a girl that loved music and always wanted to perform as a vocalist in her school’s show choir.
Brook had to settle for participating through dance, instead.
“Because I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t hit all the notes,” she says.
The healing showed me no matter what I've done or what I do God loves me and always will.
A Prophetic Word
So how did Brook’s hearing get restored 12 years later?
This time, there’s only one answer possible: God.
Brook was at Gauntlet 18, her third time at Fuse’s Summer Camp in Daytona Beach, Florida.
During her first day of discussion time in Community Group, the stories she heard from peers across the state, male and female, shook loose some of the emotional pain she’d been carrying for years within her.
Deep inside, she knew God was up to something.
“I remember absolutely breaking down that morning,” Brook says. “They showed me a lot of support.”
The following night, Kaleb White shared a prophetic word during a special night of worship.
… God showed him someone with hearing aids
... And He challenged students "to pray right now for brand new ears in the name of Jesus." (See the video)
Brook having fun with friends at Gauntlet.
Almost without meaning to, Brook raised her hand, right there in her seat. You can see Kaleb react as the healing happened.
“My ears just popped. It was like all my hearing came back,” Brook says. “I almost didn't believe it. It was almost like a speechless moment. I can’t even explain it. I literally just sat there and listened to the music. I experienced worship fully for the first time.”
Brook says her friends took a few steps back in shock when she told them.
Her Fuse pastor at Myrtle Beach, Jonathan Foster, was ecstatic.
“He knew of my issues and had always reminded me of what God had planned for me,” Brook says.
Over the course of the next couple days, Brook was found to be one of three students and one adult who received healing from hearing loss.
“I raised my hand not fully believing I would be good enough to receive his healing because of the sins I had been doing and the brokenness I felt,” Brook says.
As if Brook’s healing wasn’t miraculous enough, Brook’s sister, Ruth — not the one who involved in pencil incident! — gave her life to Jesus immediately after Gauntlet.
Brook had prayed for that moment for years.
“I truly believe she felt my happiness in that moment,” Brook says. “I've truly seen a change in her.”
Top: Brook and sister Ruth enjoying time together at Fuse. Bottom: Brook’s sister being baptized.
An Astonishing Miracle
Brook described her mom’s reaction as “very skeptical” — up until the hearing test, that is.
It just so happened Brook had a doctor's visit scheduled on the Monday after Gauntlet so she could get a new hearing aid.
It was supposed to be routine, but it was far from normal.
When the nurse got the first readings, she thought her diagnostic equipment was broken.
“I had already told her what I thought, but she didn’t believe me,” Brook says.
So the nurse re-did the test.
The news was startling: 87.5 percent of Brook’s hearing in that right ear had been restored.
The nurse was so flummoxed, she still sent Brook away with the new hearing aid — even though she didn’t need it.
I feel like all my brokenness wasn’t really brokenness. I just didn’t see Jesus’ love during that time.
Since Gauntlet, Brook hasn’t had an infection and hasn’t needed her ear to be cleaned out.
That used to happen once every few weeks.
Brook’s heard the world as if through cotton wool for 12 years. Now she could hear the quiet hum of the fan in her bedroom.
And she’s singing along to music again — all day in fact. Her favorites are Josh Groban, Andrew Bocelli, and Sam Smith.
An Emotional Burden
But the physical miracle and the impact it had on her family is not the only thing she’s thankful for.
“It was more than a physical healing,” she says. “It was more of a mental and spiritual healing than physical.”
“Yes, I get my hearing back, and I experience things. But through that healing, I found a deeper one. It showed me no matter what I've done or what I do God loves me and always will. I had lived with that anxiety for years.”
Brook having fun with a Fuse volunteer
You see, the hearing challenges were not the only struggles that Brook has dealt with.
She’s encountered serious trauma from sexual assault, domestic abuse, and a troubled relationship with her father that followed her parents’ divorce.
The pain from the sexual assault was so deep that she tried to kill herself twice through overdose.
“When someone does that to a human being, it breaks down that human being as a person. It makes you feel so degraded. That person has to learn how to be a human being again. I felt too broken for anyone to love me at that point in my life. Most people can't come back from that. I'm shocked I did that.”
A Restored Heart
The turning point was Fuse.
“What I found at NewSpring was a lot of family and community I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The small things, like saying, “Hi!” and giving hugs gave me a sense of doing something worthwhile,” she says. “If I could make someone feel better, that was a great use of my day.”
The emotional breakdowns she experienced as a result of PTSD became far less frequent.
“Being at church settles my heart a lot, and I don't have to deal so much with the flashbacks from that,” she says. “I really felt that, when I was worshiping, I was experiencing a certain type of peace.
The day she asked Jesus into her life at Fuse, in the summer of 2017, the sermon had been about forgiveness — of herself and others.
“It was a very big step for me,” she says. “I didn't so much blame myself as I had before, even though I did nothing wrong. It showed me how to forgive [my rapist] for what he had done to me. It was very hard, but I did it. The hard part was forgiving myself.”
Brook getting baptized by her Fuse pastor and father figure, Jonathan Foster, in 2017.
The restoration of her hearing accelerated the healing God was accomplishing through her Fuse family.
She points to the support and love of her Fuse family as a whole, and her Fuse pastor, who was more like a father figure to her, as one of the main reasons she has felt secure and emotionally stable — despite recently experiencing a second sexual assault.
“That healing for me really showed me that my trauma … it matters, but I’m going to be OK through it. Seeing that healing … I feel like all my brokenness wasn’t really brokenness. I just didn’t see Jesus’ love during that time.”