His lips move. There are no [audible] words.images

This, is not normal.

Not for my very Italian (AKA: genetically loud) grandfather. The bruised,twig like-bruised arms, the stubbly chin or the hospital bed that I see him in are also not normal.  For my whole life  I have seen him looking almost the same each time- moving. Wearing either his old guy Russian type faux fur hat or a Boystown ball cap. And talking. Lots of talking. Loud talking with a strong opinion- about everything from olives to slot machine strategies. Always planning or talking about implementing a project.

Mine, is the McGyver of Grandpa’s. I won’t divulge all of his secret medical tips- but they involve epsom salts and Neosporin. With a side of: if the doctor won’t fix it- I’ll fix it myself.

Instead- my grandpa looks: Sick. Frail. Quiet.

Every once in a while there are glimpses of his “old” self. His hand reaches up to rub his perennially-bald head. Every once in a while they momentarily both rise up and give a lil’ jazz hand signal that was for him- more emphasis and frustration (usually over politics) than jazz. (True fact: if you restrain an Italian’s-hands- we cannot speak. Mouth- hands and minimal brain involvement- that’s how talking works for us. Go ahead  Ask a neurologist. An Italian one. Of course.) We talk.

We think he hears.

We desperately want him to hear.

He holds our hands. We hold his.

He fidgets. He’s uncomfortable. Instead of in punctation to speech—his hands flutter at the sheets- the catheter… the tubes. The wires. I wonder if he’s thinking of a better way to engineer all this stuff with more comfort. He’s probably wishing he had his electronics stuff…. wire harness’ would be handy. Or, maybe electrical tape. I’m sure he is. Somewhere- deep in his brain- he ‘s thinking he could do this better. And we know: he could.

Before our visit ends- my husband asks if it’s ok to pray with him.

Suddenly- His hands quiet. They clasp in prayer. He bows his head. We pray.

He heard.

We know.

Was it autonomic from years spent hearing the invitation to pray and then folding his hands almost automatically? Or was it a real engagement in prayer?

Does it matter? I doubt it.

When I am so sick that no one knows if I can hear- (we all get there- sometimes we come back- sometimes not)  understand- or respond- I want prayer to be so entrenched in my heart, spirit and person- that whether I am cognizant or not—  my spirit prays.

Like my Grandpa. A hero of heart and Spirit.

Roman’s 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

“Dear Lord- so many things to pray for- I can’t list them all— from health to finances, jobs, to babies and stress. God be present- be so entrenched in each of us- that we pray whenever the call to pray arises….. in hospital beds- in waiting rooms, in grief, in living rooms, in dark nights, in mental illness and in bathrooms. (Lord- I’m a mom- you know the shower is my prayer closet. and the Bathroom is as close to a quiet altar as it gets some days.) Whether we physically bow our heads and clasp our hands – or not—– let our Sprits be drawn to prayer. When we’re not? Let your Spirit pray over us. I love you lord- amen.”

My hands bent back and  I knew I was in trouble. I felt her fingernails dig into the flesh on the backs of my hands. Teeth gritted, I tried to smile.  “I will not lose.” I said to my stubborn elementary school self. In truth- It was probably like that time during the Becky Thatcher look-alike context-when I thought I was whispering without moving my mouth- and my whole head was scrunched up in a look that would have scared a zombie. A moment that was- of course- captured forever in a local paper. (Seriously. It’s in my scrapbook. No, I won’t show you. And no- I didn’t win. Apparently, Becky Thatcher was a bit more pleasant than me as a child.)  Regardless, I held my ground. NO MERCY.

For a moment, my opponent wavered.  I pressed her hands down and back….secretly wishing my mom hadn’t made me trim my nails before school.I pinched. I pressed. I held my breath. I twisted her wrists trying to sprain them …..I was evil like that. We all were.I held my ground. For a minute. Then- In a sudden upset that left crescent shaped slices in the tops of my hands- I lost. (Most likely because of my lack of nails. Thanks, Mom. :P)

Or, maybe because of my weak wrists.

It was certainly not because I’d shown mercy. I hadn’t. However, in the end-  I had begged for it. “Mercy! Mercy!” My pre-pubescent self screeched. My opponent gave my hands one more twist and another nail dig- before letting go.

I can still feel the welts and gouged skin I was left with. I’m surprised I don’t have scars.

Truly- it was an evil game. And I was an evil loser. (Do kids still play that? I’m guessing it’s probably outlawed- along with see-saws…)

I swore I’d never play again. It wasn’t the pseudo-sprained wrists the scratches or the losing that bothered me… it was the humiliation of begging for mercy.

I hated it.

The truth is- I still have issues with it.

Of course- I now have nails that would make Chuck Norris beg for mercy….(Thank you acrylic tips and Korean nail girl. I love you both.) but I think that playing mercy with your child is probably akin to child abuse and since my youngest is probably the only human being who would even consider a game…. I refrain.

At least with humans.

Not so much with God.

With God I flex my wrists and crack my knuckles and dig in- refusing to beg for mercy. I don’t WANT mercy. I don’t want to NEED it. I want to be perfect. I want to be merciful……(I’m a nice person. Kind of.) I just don’t want to need mercy.

Mercy- isn’t a game.

mer·cy

/ˈmərsē/

Noun
  1. Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm: “the boy was begging for mercy”.
  2. An event to be grateful for, esp. because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.
Synonyms
pity – compassion – clemency – grace – charity – ruth

mercy:

(1) Mercy is the kind, sympathetic, and forgiving treatment of others that works to relieve their distress and cancel their debt. Or (2) mercy is compassion combined with forbearance and action.

Maybe I am scarred by all those elementary school games of mercy, after all. Maybe they warped my perception of God. (Or, maybe, I’m just warped.) But  some part of me  sees mercy as a game. A game where you beg for it and in doing so-you lose. That warped part of me also seems to think God is a poor sport. Like God gloats over my need for mercy like a deranged 5th grader: “HA! I knew you’d scream mercy! You just can’t cut it. You’re not tough enough. You’re not GOOD enough! You. Need. Help.”  That part of me: doesn’t want it.

Lately I’ve been thinking there’s something wrong me. (Okay- thats not exactly new…. I know.. but stay with me.) I keep hearing things about how women want to be rescued…..they wait for a white knight.. a prince charming….to sweep them off their feet and make everything all better. Honestly? The  idea makes me nauseous.

I don’t want to be rescued. There, I said it.

I’m sure there is some deep psychological reason for this. Or maybe it’s because my husband is so perfectly wonderful (he is.) that I don’t have to imagine it…..Or maybe, it’s as simple as pride. (It probably is.) Or stubbornness. Whatever the reason- (Or reasons— I’m a text book of crazy.) my detest for all things rescue-like- is tied up in my mercy game with God.

The thing is… I search through the bible and find things like this:

  1. Deuteronomy 4:31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
  2. Daniel “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
  3. Micah 7 8-10 “Who is a God like you,who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea”
  4. Micah 7:18  ‘Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”
  5. Matthew 9:3 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

All of which kind of makes me think maybe mercy isn’t just a game after all. Maybe it’s a gift. 

What if that moment when we finally cry mercy, is the moment when we finally- win? What if- God really is delighted to show us mercy… not disgusted by our need?

I’m not making any New Years resolutions… (I don’t have the resolve.) But I’ve decided to choose a word for this year. Some people are choosing words they love…. concepts they hold dear- I’m choosing a word I struggle with:

Mercy. to be used interchangeably with: rescue.  A word I just plain hate.

Here’s why:

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Lord Jesus- I have this mercy thing so messed up.The ugly truth is:  I WANT to be merciful…. but I don’t want to NEED mercy. I have this picture of you standing in front of me twisting my wrists waiting for me to scream mercy….. and then gloat over it when I finally do…. I’m sorry for thinking of you that way. Lord- this year- help me find refuge in rescue help me not to walk justly but to LOVE mercy— the mercy you give and the mercy you enable me to show… help me to see you as you are. I love you Lord- now help me love mercy! Amen!

Ha! Only I can take 1,000 words to share my one word…. i got skillz. :P

So what about you” DO you struggle with Mercy? Do you long for rescue or rebel against it?

Do you make New Years Resolutions? What are they?

Or- did you- like me- choose One Word? If so– share it in the comments and tell us why! I can’t wait to hear!

“It should be in the glove compartment.”

There may have been some reproach in the tone of my voice when I said that. I mean- isn’t that where the proof of insurance always is? Why does everyone think I know where everything is? It’s not MY car.  Besides- I get tired of my uterus being mistaken for a GPS. (And I may have a slight case of PMS- just a heads up.)

I spent the next hour digging through glove compartment boxes, the fire safe and the dreaded “mail basket.” (AKA: the basket -where mail goes to die.)

Apparently my GPS is as glitchy as our Garmin that sent me the scenic route to my last speaking gig, because I did not find it. ANYWHERE. I did, however, find approximately $327.00 dollars worth of un-mailed thank you, birthday card and holiday cards. And a pair of leopard print shoe laces. (I wondered where those were.) (FYI- your insurance company can probably email you a temporary copy. Just in case, you know- you also have the filing skills of say, a senile beagle- as I, apparently, do.)

Fortunately- the email arrived in time for middle child to take it with him for his road test. (And the printer was not out of ink. For once.) Bullet dodged. In addition-hubby’s car was cleaned out- because I could not search through that mess without cleaning it up. (Which is probably why searching for things takes me sooooo long. I make huge messes then have to clean them up as I go. Okay- I clean them up after I find what’s missing- griping the whole time. Hmm could it also be a clean-up conspiracy where my guys know if something goes missing- I go cleaning?)

Anyway-once the road test was passed- we needed to gather the child’s “puppy papers” so he could become a  legal driver. (more…)

“After you.” 

I said that, in all it’s various forms-including: “No, go ahead.” and “No, Really. You first.” Approximately 6.3 million times during MOPS International Convention.  It wasn’t because I am nice. (I’m not. But, I try. Sometimes. And, it certainly wasn’t at the doors before general sessions. (I have been around long enough to know to duck and cover when those doors swing wide. Imagine a stampede of 2000 moms unencumbered by strollers or diaper bags… they. can. run. You over. No need to let them by- they pass you by. Those mommas are on a mission.)

Nope- mostly it was at the top and bottom of escalators, at the convention center.

My neck brace caused an inability to see both my feet and the escalator’s steps at the same time unless I leaned foreword  far enough for gravity to take over my body like an alien and propel me headfirst towards the escalator’s always moving, metallic, maw of death. Which sounds even less terrorizing than it was.

One.

Two.

Three (or more) steps would roll by. Shining and toothy as a shark’s teeth, as I tried to time my step. Just. Right.

One.

Two.

Three moms would go past, as I tried to play off my fear as politeness, maybe even humility. “You first.”

Which really meant:”I’m totally gonna try and to follow you so I don’t fall and  lose digits or end up with a shark-like escalator chomp out of my face. So go ahead… you first. I’m right behind you- possibly holding onto your tote bag”

Which was kind of a workable plan-except, it was still hard to go ahead and take that step. The one from the stable platform to the moving escalator. Even when I was following right behind a totally confident and capable escalator operator. (AKA: a mom- but “escalator operator” sounded considerably more official and sesame street like- so I’m leaving it’s irrelevant self right there.) Side note: Women don’t like you grabbing their tote bags and dragging them backwards on an escalator cause you’re rooted in fear…probably. I mean, I’m assuming.

The thing is- I could SEE where I was going- the top or bottom of the escalator was in my line of view, even with the neck brace of doom. I also knew I was right there on the edge- in the right place heading the right direction. I just couldn’t be sure I was taking the right step at the right time.

It paralyzed me.

I didn’t miss anything due to elevator angst. The paralysis only felt like it lasted forever. It actually just lasted until I’d built up a nice cushion of moms both before and aft- that I imagined would catch me if I fell, and lift me up over their heads to invent some cool new escalator crowd surfing thing that could either: A) Kill me or B) Make me internet famous. (Which would also probably kill me.  The internet has trolls, they  are killers and do not stay under bridges. You’ve been warned.)

What’s the point? (Other than I’m experiencing post- MOPS Convention exhaustion that could be affecting my writing today? (Shh I know what you’re thinking… what was last weeks excuse? Or next weeks? No worries, I’m working on a list …)

The point is- sometimes you have to take the next step. Even if you can’t see your feet and fear being eaten by an escalator. (Please note: the longer you entertain fear- the bigger it’s nightmare like story gets… we’ve moved from few of losing digits to internet trolls to being digested by machinery….)

Or, not.

You could stand there on the edge, watching the steps go by. Watching others pass, while you look very polite, but never get anywhere.

I vote you give it a try. Even in my broken, messed up  and neck braced condition- I managed to make it to my sessions- and meetings. Most of them even on time.

I’m pretty sure that as long as you’re going in the right direction and keep yourself surrounded by others moving in the right direction…….you’ll get where you’re headed. Either way- if you do take a tumble, you’ll  be caught by those who surround you. (The terms “Caught” and “land on,”  are pretty much synonymous here.)

But, I’ll warn you- it probably won’t be quite as cool as crowd surfing. Trust me. As a leader, wife, woman  and a mom, I’ve taken plenty of falls while heading in the right direction….the key is the cushion….and the fact that elevators have a tendency to keep moving even if you fall down on one. Once you land- you still be moving in the right direction.

Which I kind of think works the same in faith and life journeys…..God’s sovereignty keeps moving us forward even when we crash.

Psalm 37 (read the whole thing, it pretty much rocks- even if you don’t have anyone persecuting you.)

The Lord makes firm the steps 
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, 
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

So….what’s your next step? A spot in leadership that needs you to step in? A phone call you need to make? A question to ask?  A project to finish? A dream to follow?

Not sure?

What direction are you heading in? Is your phase of mothering changing? Are you starting to think it might be necessary to step into the workplace to make ends meet, fulfill a call, or meet some goals? Do you want to walk closer to/with God?

You don’t have to be like me standing at the top of the escalator paralyzed with fear of taking the wrong step…. the truth is…steps will keep rolling up and moving on…. God knows that we (I) often need time to catch (or hold) our breath before we can make the next move. I think He gives us plenty of opportunities. He’s awesome like that.

We were 15 minutes late. Which- while it is  typical of being- well: me. Is  NOT what you want to be for your husband’s first appointment at radiation.  Talk about heaping extra stress on yourself when in an already stressful situation. Oy. However- you do your best when trying to get a kid to the bus and still manage to put on enough makeup to not scare the cancer patients.

Or maybe it was because we really just didn’t want to go.

Walking (like a ridiculous race-walker in pumps because the 12 seconds I saved running from the car to the oncology/radiation center’s doors makes the difference between living and dying. Forget the doctors. We have speed.) into the oncology/ radiation center is yet another slap in the face of cancer- denial. Even though it’s about getting well- it still stings.

Late or not- the staff was great and we only waited a bit for our appointment. (Weird- you never see doctors running in late cause they feel so bad…. yet- they are always: late. But- I digress.) It’s not necessary to go into medical jargon- but suffice to say we’re moving on to the next steps required to kick prostate cancer’s butt.  We’re ready to fight and are thankful we have a God who both “gets” us to our cores- and loves us- in addition to friends and family who love and support us.

However- a slap in the face of cancer denial- also makes you feel… well… a lot of stuff.

Like:

  • Moments of panic. Because while we know God is both good and in control and has the power to heal- he doesn’t always.
  • Moments of overwhelming sadness. Because talking to your kids about their Dad having cancer- just. sucks.
  • Moments of uncontrolled giggling because of the irony of a “siemans’ CT scan machine being used to detect prostate cancer….(Say it out loud. Think about it. I’ll give you a minute…;)
  • Moments of  being afraid to make a decision about care- because: DUH. We aren’t doctors. I Don’t WANT A CHOICE. Just tell us what will kill the cancer!!!
  • Moments of overwhelming love for the superhero-survivor that is my husband.

Sometimes all at once.

Especially when you walk out of yet another consult appointment, feeling like your head will explode due to fear/ stress and choice of treatment overload and have to wait while he gets his photo for his official “I’m a cancer patient” get out of everything free card. (Still don’t know what that was about- but seriously- they had to take his picture before we could leave.)

My neck and jaw and head felt like molten lead as I plopped into the nearest chair to wait for his glamour shot. I wondered if my brains could leak out through my ear for just a split second. For another second I kind of wished they would… cause the THINKING about cancer is almost as bad as the HAVING of cancer…. (i.e. the stress sucks. I’m not just talking about ME– I’m talking about my husband….we’d both like a lobotomy to help us cope- k? Thnx.)

Which is about when my glassy, overwhelmed eyes landed on this:

Which looks suspiciously like this:

My inked reminder that God is with us….

In pain. In beauty. In Peace. In fear.

Even Here.

And I knew he was.

Dear Lord- thank you for being with us in this cancer- I hate this.. but I love you— amen

Update- Please scroll back a post for details;)

Yesterday- I was fitted for my temporary “flipper” teeth that will protect and cover the dental implants until the bone heals and is strong enough to handle the permanent prosthesis’.

Before:                          After:

To me? This is huge. I feel more confident, and free to smile again. The pics are of opposite sides- but both sides were done;)  I am gap free and free to smile.

I accomplished something pretty spectacular. I DID IT. I faced my fear.  In a big way. I am on the road to having a permanent and genuine smile back. There is more to be done, and more fear to face… but- I’m on my way, and I like the direction I’m moving in.

There is pain. It hasn’t been a fun week here. The fear prior to the surgery was rough to control. I did all the things I know to do: I told myself the truth: I can do this. I want to do this. I prayed. I kept busy and occupied my mind so it had less time to obsess on the fear. I was honest about how I was feeling both here- on the blog- and in real life. And it is worth it.

And I did it. I am doing it. This process isn’t over- and I have a 6 month check up. cleaning in December to look forward to- But now I’m trying to process that as another chance to over come the fear.

As I’ve been going through this process, I’ve realized that fear has been a bigger issue for me than I ever thought it was.

Fear has stolen more than my smile.

My fear of failure- has kept me from the calling I know I have and long to answer. It’s stolen my confidence, and worse yet- my confidence in God.. that He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it. That he gives me the desires of my heart.. not that he gives me everything I want.. but that he PUTS those desires there….for me to enjoy as part of my faith journey. I know that I am called to write and speak… this isn’t a puffed up thing.. it’s just a deep knowing thing…that I’ve let become hidden much like my smile- by fear. 

What if I made it up?  What if I’m like one f those crazy people on AI who THINK they can really SING…. but can’t?

But now Im wondering.. what if I CAN?  What if I do? WHAT IF I TRY?

Maybe it;s just as simple (and hard) as going to the dentist was. Maybe I need to tell myself the truth. Maybe I need to take the next step. And the next. And the next.

Maybe…. I’ll get back more than my smile.

I’ve also learned that my fear of failure and falling- (along with a side of: I know better than you- running is the only thing that works for me to lose weight- so I’ll run myself to bits thank you very much. Which-BTW- I accomplished and am much less happy about. Needing a titanium tibia because you refuse to ride a bike- is: stupid. justsayin.) has kept me from trying things the doctor’s have recommended to get healthy and fit. Like: riding a bike. The truth is I didn’t want to do it because: 1) I would look ridiculous. (Fat girl on a bike is a sight. Its just a fact.) and 2) I was afraid I would either a) crash or b) not be able to do it.

What if I ride the bike and love it?  (That thought never crossed my mind.)

Honestly?  I already started riding the bike. and I have to admit- I was wrong. I DO love it. It’s actually: fun. (Running hurts- riding- not so much. I SMILE when I ride!)  And while I refuse to weigh myself— things are getting looser- and Noah announced that my butt is less BOINKY… so I think its helping;) I was wrong about the bike. Monday- to burn off some stress before the surgery- I rode 21 miles!

What if I decided to face my other fears?

What if I can do these things too?

What if I start telling myself the truth about them, too?

What if one of the gifts I can give my children is to see their mom- overcome fear?

What if I ask for prayer?

What If I continue to write, and take that as far as I can go with that-  too?

I think it’s worth a shot.

Dear Lord- I am tired of fear. I am tired of letting it control e and my life. I quit. Instead of letting fear control me.. I am taking charge of fear. I am- going to keep riding the bike and see how far I can go. I am going to finish the dental work that has brought a smile to my face… and I am GOING to finish the book proposal and take the next steps to pursue publishing…because it’s what you’ve called me to do..  if I can deal with the dental fear- I can sure handle the rejection fear….(Although when it goes to committee I may need to be sedated…. justsayin)  I love you lord- and thank you for the grace that leads me constantly closer to you- through my fear and into joy amen. 

I don’t know what fear you are facing or avoiding right now. But I know this: you don’t have to do it alone. And you CAN do it if you choose too. Just take the next step. today. Don’t let fear steal from you what God longs to give. If you are afraid… talk about it here.. for pete’s sake I put my gap toothed smile up for the world to see and judge….you gotta know that I understand and will be praying that you can face your fear too! ;)

 

 

 

 

Photogenic is not a term anyone has ever used to describe me- but over the past few years I’ve become obnoxious about it. I no longer smile for pics. (Unless you really beg, or threaten to take my cupcakes.) Instead of smiling- I make faces. tongue out, eyes crossed, the goofier the better.

It’s not just because I’m a goof. (Admittedly, I am. We know this.) It’s actually, because I’m a freak. A dental-phobe freak.

For the past few years, I’ve had 2 missing teeth. Well, not quite missing… they are broken down to bits. Yes, I brush my teeth. A lot. The thing is- I have TMJ- and grind my teeth while I sleep. The grinding to bits has left me with a black hole of a gap on each side of my mouth. Especially if I smile. Attractive, huh?

Not. And I know- it. So, I don’t, show it.  At least not if I can help it. Especially for pictures. I smirk, half smile and mona-lisa on a bad day smile- but no real smiles. I’m embarrassed.

Why haven’t I gotten them fixed? (Yes, I can hear you from here.)  It’s not because I don’t have insurance. (I do.) While the cost is a factor-  it’s been more of an excuse. And no- It’s also not because I belong to some weird dental-denial cult.. (although sign me up if there is one…)

It’s because:

I HATE the dentist. No, not a normal- “I hate the dentist, too- who likes being poked and prodded and drilled and filled?” kind of way- but in an  “I’m having a panic attack and I feel like I’ll throw up” kind of way. If I even think about it. EVen if I don’t have an appointment. When I do have an appointment- the anxiety increases exponentially. Waiting for a few minutes before the appointment is akin to water boarding. That little reminder card you get in the mail about your 6 month check up?  It makes me hyperventilate. The sound of a dremel or drill? Makes me shake. Which- I may add is not fun, at the nail place. But, I’ve considered writing the appointments off as desensitization therapy. Except, I’m not desensitized. At all. #thatsafail.

I’m cracking jokes like teeth, here. But the truth is- I feel humiliated, not just by the gaps- but because fear has stolen my smile. And my peace. And my sense of self worth. I feel like an idiot. I have years of experience being a counselor- I know how to help people with phobias…. unless it’s me who is afraid. #counselorfail.

A vortex of fear and shame has sucked me in.

But, tomorrow?  I’m getting out.

Here’s the thing- I frequently have opportunities for public speaking. People like to take pictures. They prefer you not to stick out your tongue. They also take pics when you are least expecting it. Usually from weird angles, that show gaps.  And people don’t generally let you photoshop teeth into their pics before they leave an event. Also- in working to finish the book proposal, I’m realizing this dental dilemma has become a stumbling block. Writers- speak in public. Bad hair may be forgiven on occasion- but teeth are pretty much expected. Gaps kind of blow your credibility in addition to your smile.

On the rare occasion I’ve been honest about this fear-  the results haven’t been great. Mostly because of the whole  “Aren’t you a Christian- and if you trust God you shouldn’t be afraid of the dentist” thing. I’ve been: laughed at, told to: let  God handle this for me, Trust God more, Pray and ask God to heal me of my fear. And the ever popular: “Fear is the sin of lack of trust” condemnation comments. .. Yeah….thnx for heaping guilt on top of my already full emotional plate of humiliation and fear! I feel so much  better! Except, I don’t. Also?  I have asked God to grow new teeth…. but apparently that breaks the time space-continuum, so he voted no, to that. At least they didn’t grow in- so I’m guessing that’s the reason.

So, I had a choice: Go and get my teeth fixed, or continue to live in humiliation, fear and without a smile?

A few weeks ago I decided it was time. I asked my husband to make me an appointment, I went. Then, I had a follow up appointment- and I got an impression made… and TMI or not- I almost threw up. It sucked and I hated it- But, I went. And I will go again, tomorrow.

Tomorrow?  I will be having oral surgery.  I’m getting implants. (No, not the boob kind. duh, I have enough there.) The implants will replace my two missing teeth. It will involve bone grafts and some other work. I will be knocked out. (I”m bringing a hammer for backup anesthesia. Just in case.) I don’t want to do it.

But I do want to face the fear and conquer it. I want to smile again. I want to speak without feeling self conscious about my smile.

I’d love to say- God has taken my fear and I feel peace. He hasn’t. I am afraid.

But, I’m doing it anyway.

Maybe today- you are facing a fear. Or, like me, have been avoiding one. Maybe you’ve prayed and the teeth didn’t grow in. Maybe you’ve avoided making that appointment for a mammogram, or the dentist, or the ob/gyn because it makes you nauseous and sweaty and panicky. Maybe you have a phobic fear of flying, or needles, or dogs or heights. Maybe you’ve heard you wouldn’t be afraid if you trusted God more. Maybe you’ve chided yourself and reprimanded yourself for being a freak.

It doesn’t help.

There is only one way to get through fear- to go through it. Today as I get ready to face my fear- I’m praying for you….trust me, if I can do this- so can you!


Dear Lord- I’m afraid, I’m tired of avoiding the dentist and all that it entails. I’m tired of being embarrassed to smile, I want to show the joy I feel in my heart. (Well- when I’m not being afraid of the stupid dentist.)  I hate the dentist, Lord- but Im going to go anyway- please help me get through this- and help anyone else who’s facing a fear…. the only way through it- is through it….amen PS- Lord- thank you for all the fear filled men of courage in the bible… it helps to know I’m not alone!;) 

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear” Mark Twain