Dear friend of Happy Hands,
My name is Brittany Stacey. I am a wife to a wonderful man named Pete and a mom to three fantastic sons! My middle son is profoundly Deaf and currently attends Happy Hands Education Center. We are originally from Ohio, but in August of 2021 Pete and I moved our family across the country specifically for Happy Hands.
God’s abundant kindness, grace and provision has been demonstrated to us every step of the way, and I’d love to share some of that story with you.
While the addition of any child brings about some change and newness, our lives were totally transformed when God gifted us with Mack and we discovered he was born Deaf. As is true for many, Mack’s hearing loss diagnosis was not cut and dry. We were told that his diagnosis is a spectrum that can fluctuate daily, weekly, or even minute by minute. We spent the first full two years of Mack’s life wondering what exactly he could hear and if things would change.
We decided to learn American Sign Language (ASL) while navigating through sound booth tests and doctors appointments, trying to discern if Mack was hearing anything. I remember that coping through Mack’s first year of life was very difficult for us. When I considered the possibility that Mack truly couldn’t hear anything, I struggled so deeply with the concept of not being able to communicate with him.
I remember holding my baby as he cried, and tears rolling down my cheeks as I would start to sing and then stop, thinking my songs were meaningless to his little ears.
What pained me most was the thought, “How will he know I love him?”
Although I had been a follower of Jesus for a long time, I remember thinking one day, “I don’t even know how to pray about this.”
I knew that God’s Word says that if we ask according to His will, He will answer us. While others in my family prayed for God to give Mack the ability to hear, my soul couldn’t ever get fully on board with that. I remember thinking, “What if God wanted Mack to be deaf? What if God was going to use all of it for some purpose that only He knows?”
In the book of John, there is a story of a blind man being healed by Jesus. Before he is healed, those around him asked Jesus why the man was blind and who was at fault. Jesus told them that the blindness wasn’t someone’s fault but that it had happened for a very specific purpose… so that the works of God would be displayed in the man.
What if that was what God wanted for Mack?
One day, as I struggled with my grief and inability to pray, a few thoughts entered my mind. God is the one who gave us our children. God’s will for parents in Deuteronomy 6 is that we would teach them about the God of the universe everywhere we go.
My knees hit the floor next to my bed. I prayed out loud, “God, YOU gave Mack to me and it is YOUR will for me to teach him about You. But as it stands, I cannot do that. YOU have to either give me the ability to sign or YOU have to give him the ability to hear. I do not care which. Apart from Your miraculous intervention, I cannot do what You have called me to do as his mom.”
After I prayed, I stood up, wiped my eyes, and I knew that I was heard.
Today, I can confidently say with great joy, God has answered that prayer and I believe that He will only continue to do so! God has been kind to us as we walk through the unknown. He has provided step after step - the right people, the right resources, and the right program to help us.
Today, I have a son thriving in the Kindergarten class at Happy Hands.
Over time, Mack’s ability to hear has been clarified, and he is profoundly Deaf, unable to understand speech or produce any words verbally.
To some, this may seem like a fact that would be very sad, but through God’s grace and goodness for our family, it is not.
Why is that so?
Because Mack is a profoundly Deaf boy who, through the gift of ASL, has Bible verses memorized and LOVES to act out Bible stories. A profoundly Deaf boy who explained to me, in ASL, how Thomas the train was like Jesus because he rescued his friend James when he was thrown off the tracks; after I explained to Mack that Jesus rescued me from my separation from God.
My expressive, smart, and funny middle son is not isolated from the world, or unable to express himself. He has been gifted by the God of the universe with the ability to deeply understand Biblical truths, and he has a great love for God.
Just the other night as Pete shared a Bible story with Mack, reading that Deborah the prophet loved God, Mack paused the story to make sure his dad knew that he loved God too.
Praise God for His answer to that prayer!
Over the last 5 ½ years I have learned that many deaf people do not have the ability to communicate with their parents.
Over the course of Mack’s life, I have learned that many deaf children and adults are left smiling and nodding in situations where they are excluded.
And SO many deaf children and adults don’t know about Jesus.
It is that fact that breaks my heart.
Many of us have known about God and have had many opportunities to know Him even more throughout our lives. Yet, I recently learned that 1,500 Deaf people die globally - every single day - without any knowledge of the Gospel.
Today, I am thankful that none of that is true for my son.
In His power, God has answered and is continuing to answer my prayer that day. There is no doubt God is using Happy Hands to help answer that prayer!
I am so thankful that Mack has an entire school family of people, just like him, that he loves and learns from!
And broader than just my family, I am so thankful that God has not forsaken the Deaf community but in His kindness, 29 years ago, set up Happy Hands Education Center with the distinct purpose of making the truth of Jesus Christ accessible for ALL! What a kind and loving heavenly Father!
Can you imagine the amazing gift Happy Hands is, and can be, to families like mine?
I appreciate the chance to share our story with you, and hope you will join me in praising God for His care and provision!