And it is well with me….These words from Bethel Music’s song, It Is Well, have been on repeat in my heart ever since I heard a jazz singer share her beautiful story at church a few weeks ago. A story full of anguish, courage, sacrifice, and God’s glory. Her name is Mandy Harvey; her voice is spectacular and she is also profoundly deaf. Yes, deaf!
Growing up, music was an integral part of Mandy’s life. Her dream was to evoke emotion from music as a choir teacher. She was not interested in being in the spotlight. In fact, she never liked singing in front of people. However, at age 18, Mandy began a journey down a much different path than she had dreamed when she lost all of her hearing due to a connective tissue disorder.
For about a year, Mandy was completely disheartened and convinced that music was no longer a part of her life. And honestly, a lot of people probably would have thought the same. But then one day her father encouraged her to sing a song while he played the guitar. With zero expectations, she sang. To her surprise, though, her father said she sang it beautifully and with perfect pitch. God had a different plan for her music career. Yes, she would evoke emotion through music, but not behind the scenes like she dreamed. She would do so in the spotlight.
Throughout the service, I felt a deep connection to Mandy’s story. Not because I struggle with my deafness. I embrace my deafness. I felt a connection with Mandy because I identified so much with her story in regards to my gradually fading sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. The disheartenment. The anxiety. The longing for restoration. I felt and still feel those same things sometimes. But several times during the service, she said that THIS is temporary. That her hearing loss is temporary. That, yes, it IS challenging but temporary. She was essentially saying, “It is well with me.” I love the truth in this perspective. My struggle with vision loss IS challenging and there are days when I am so disheartened by it. But it is temporary. And it is well with me because the Lord is good.
After the service, I had the opportunity to meet Mandy in person. I was able to sign with her for a short minute. We got a quick photo and then she was rushed off to get ready for the next service. I wish I could tell her how much I identify with her story in my own struggles. Maybe one day we will have the opportunity to connect.
If you’d like to see the interview with Mandy, you can check it out here. I regret that I do not have the transcript for my Deaf friends, but you can learn more about her on her website or in Buddy Levy’s article, A Dream Reborn.
I would like to leave you with my ASL interpretation of It Is Well by Bethel Music. This is the song Mandy sang at the end of the service. And boy, did she sing it beautifully. But what evoked even more emotion in my heart was seeing her sign along with her voice. So here is my ASL interpretation of this beautiful song.
And it is well with me….