Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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Gayle Raif

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  • Joined:
    Sept. 9, 2015
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    How do I condense 50 plus years of adulthood? I've lived many places: Texas several times, and both West and East Coasts. After most of my adult life lived out of my home state, I moved back to Texas from DE 11 years ago. I reared four sons (the oldest died quite suddenly 16 years ago), and have seven granddaughters and one lone grandson. During my life I've worn many hats, made necessary by my total hearing loss at age 33. Even though I originally was a music major, it now was totally useless. Without a valid degree in anything, and knowing nothing about computers that were beginning to be used often, I couldn't make a living to support my youngest son and myself if I left the very abusive marriage I was in. I lived on a farm, in a small town that wouldn't hire me because I couldn't answer the telephone. Those were the days before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. I felt I had no hope, so for two years, from 5-7 a.m., I studied the Bible and earnestly sought God's guidance for mine and my son's life Many people look at me as if I've lost my mind instead of my hearing when I tell them becoming totally deaf was the best thing that ever happened to me. God has opened doors for me that wouldn't have been open if I had remained hearing. I had been brought up in church, but back then it was all about being saved so you can get to heaven. For years I begged to learn how to do what the Bible said. With my hearing loss, I was about to learn. God led my son and me out of the abusive situation (for both of us) and we moved 200 miles away to live with my third son and his family just south of Austin. Each step along the way I had to depend on God; I had no other choice. Was losing my own control scary? You bet. Yet where He has taken me, situations He put me in, and people who crossed my path have been nothing short of miraculous. He literally slammed doors in my face and pushed me through others. A year after leaving the marriage, my son and I moved to Washington, DC where I entered Gallaudet University, at the encouragement and support of what is now DARS, and God's pushing us there. The problem was that I knew no one there, didn't know how I'd make enough money to support us, no money to get there, no place to live, no job to go to, and a dozen other excuses. And to make matters worse, all the classes were signed and I knew NO sign language. For this reason, three women in the admissions office encouraged me to wait until fall so I could take the intensive ASL (American Sign Language) class. After several minutes of intense discussion, I told them God wanted me to begin the spring semester. They told me if that was what God told me, then I was officially admitted. Six weeks into the semester I met up with one of those three women in the elevator and she asked me how I was doing. I replied, "I'm doing fine, but God didn't bring me here to fail." God did His part to make sure I didn't fail by providing everything we needed. Two and a half years later, I graduated with a BA in psychology, Summa Cum Laude, with honors in two programs. I was 52 years old. Eighteen years later, at age 70, I received my masters in Social Work and began counseling in a Christian agency and with men at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. My time there was extremely rewarding. In April of this year I retired. But I've known God was leading me in other directions. Five years ago Ron and I married. We were each other's first sweethearts in junior high. The next year I moved away with my parents and we each moved on with our lives. He and his wife had one son, but she died quite suddenly 16 years before we accidentally met at a meeting in Ft. Worth. Until then we hadn't seen each other for 57 years. He truly is the man God had for me all along. Now God is leading us both, sometimes together, sometimes separately, to be involved in other's lives. Ron has a BA in psychology and an MS in sociology, so our lives parallel in what we're doing. I've learned my lessons the hard way. God never abandoned me, though, but He didn't deny me the consequences of my choices. He was there to pick me up, dust me off, and set me on the right path again. I've learned I can trust Him completely and totally. I've learned not to limit God in my life. In these blogs, I hope to tell you more about my journey with God.

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