February 2011 marked the biggest challenge of my life. My front teeth bridge broke yet again, and I had to find a dentist who would not just fix it, but also finally help me deal with my TMJ Disfunction.
I’ve been through some other challenges: living away from my parents at age 12 to stay at a school dorm because my parents thought grade 7 at my old school was too much of a waste; dropping out of college, twice; fighting off suicidal and alcoholic tendencies…
Some were exciting: preparing for our wedding with only P2,500 (at that time, probably about $65), getting surprised with twins so now we couldn’t have a simple home-birth, learning to drive at age 36, being able to homeschool my kids… Some were devastating: our son being taken by Jesus at his birth, Irl getting caught between his parents’ separation, my favorite uncle dying, losing my mother in a fire that gutted my childhood home, being accused by my father of helping only so I could get my hands on “his” money…
But somehow, this “little” challenge is proving to be my biggest faith challenge yet: God wants to fix my face.
When I was a little girl, I didn’t take very good care of my teeth. I loved chewing on hard candies. Even if I brushed my teeth everyday, all that unnecessary stress I gave my poor pearly whites turned them…not so pearly-white. Add to this the fact that my teeth tended to be big, and so my little jaw got crowded. I’d always had a bit of an underbite and slightly crooked teeth, which could have been corrected with braces. But for some reason, it was considered then that braces were cosmetic solutions meant only for the rich.
So I never got braces. And the dentists worked hard, but still had to resort to root canals and bridges in the end. And extractions, of course.
I’ve told how the last bridge made for me, the one I have now, was rushed and ill-fitting, worsening my TMJ Disfunction. But my latest consultation with the dentist showed it could be more than just TMJ Disfunction, but already a dislocated jaw.
“Your maxilla (bone holding the upper teeth) has been pushing back your mandible (jaw),” she told me. “We’ll see what we can do, but I might have to eventually refer you to a head and neck surgeon.”
For the longest time, I’d considered my jaw’s condition as some sort of consequence of my bad candy-eating habits (hmmm… there are good candy eating habits?). In the back of my mind, I thought of this as something I deserved, something that was right to happen to me. I’m not being a martyr or morose, it was just a logical conclusion from the premises.
Then came the rest.
Uhhh, no. Not “the other things.” The Sabbath. Rest.
On my 42nd birthday, the Lord gave me the final sign that I was supposed to quit my volunteer ministry activities and take a break. I’ve been just lolling around the house since then…well, mostly on FB fighting Castle Age monsters with Irl, reading, discovering stuff with Jodie and Roni. Meeting new people, getting back in touch with old friends (again, thanks to Facebook).
But the time of rest has its lessons. As I stepped back, God showed me that altho He was very proud of how I had served Him and depended on Him all these years, His plan for me was the one thing I was running from. And He was no longer letting me run from it.
And connected to not leaving me any more excuses to back out of His plan is fixing my face.
So here I stand – figuratively, as I’m sitting down while blogging – waiting for the wind that will push me off this cliff and lift my wings so I can soar.
on the crevasse of my calling
I hesitate and look behind
So much expected of me
watchful eyes look into mine
I don’t want to let them down
but I’m so afraid to try
But like an eagle stirs her nest
You won’t let me rest until
I leap into the sky
and then I will
throw my fears aside
and trust You to protect me as I sail
free to fall
free to fail
this time I’m free to try
free to let Your will succeed
– Michele Wagner, Free to Fail
I feel the breeze picking up…