Earlier this week, I finally succeeded in having wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Though I had my uppers removed in high school, my lower decided to wait until I was almost 40 to make an appearance which tends to bring about complications. I have a VERY great (as in extreme) dentist aversion so this was not something on my list of wanting to get done. At all. I went in on more than once occasion for removal in a general dental office with only local anesthesia. We'll just say---it didn't work. Without dental insurance, it just was an impossibility to pay for it to be done in an oral surgeons office under sedation AND we had the assurance that it was an "easy" removal that would be no more than just pulling a normal tooth.
We later found out that I couldn't numb due to some odd nerves AND that the tooth roots were bone wrapped and LONG. (We're talking so long that there is well over a half inch distance between where my tooth was located and the hole left behind from my roots. Seemingly as if I had more than one procedure done!).
Looking back over the last several months of dealing with SIGNIFICANT pain and worry, we can see where God provided MULTIPLE times. Had I been able to numb enough for them to actually attempt removal, it is VERY likely I would have ended up with significant problems. We can also see His hand at work as we had the need for canceled appointments, obstacles AND for provision along the way that gave us time to financially make things work out. The day I was due to go in for a consult and possible removal with another general dentist that offered an in between level of sedation, he received my xrays and called and canceled that appointment saying there was absolutely NO way that a non surgeon would need to touch that tooth. His honesty saved us money and confirmed that we had no choice but to go ahead with a surgeon, no matter what the cost. (Even though I was already prepared for this appointment with Valium on board and in the middle of yet another round of antibiotics in prep for removal!) We got a phone quote from the recommended office and we moved any and all things around we could to "make" that money appear. It shouldn't have been "easy". It truly was by HIS hand that the numbers worked. At the end of the consult, when they handed us the printed bill, we joyfully found that it was significantly under what we had managed to come up with. The earlier quote had been a range and every actual charge ended up being on the lower or middle range. It was quite hilarious to see us excited to be handed a bill for $1,000 and not panic. I think the financial office worker thought we were crazy.
After the surgery, I was stunned to not only have relief from months of pain from the tooth itself which had greatly and rapidly decayed (even though the surgery pain itself was NO PICNIC!), but I found pain relief in areas that I didn't realize were related. For well over three months, I had an unexplained earache. I also had a knot at the base of my head/neck behind my ear that couldn't be "worked out", even by a paid massage. Ends up that those things were caused by the location of the tooth roots.
It was quite stunning actually to find relief from something I didn't even know was related. Even though I had to face some CRAZY fears, had some major panic attacks along the way for a few months, and am having a bit of post operative healing concerns....it was over and WORTH it.
Something also happened in my heart.
God started working.
I'm finding myself DEEP in a time of Him being at work in so many areas of my heart that it's hard to even focus on just one. He's breaking down some walls, chiseling away some areas that are just not what He wants, and He's leaving places exposed.
Just like I temporarily have some exposed bone in my mouth, I have some exposed areas of my heart that He's working on healing and changing. It's painful and it's sensitive. It's raw.
Sometimes healing requires removal of diseased, broken, or unnecessary areas.
It's happening in my heart.
As I was stunned to not have realized what other problems my tooth was causing beyond the immediate area in my mouth, He started whispering to my heart that it's the same was with what He's wanting to do in me.
How many things in my life do I think are not related but are truly connected? How many little sins that I think don't necessarily matter in the big scheme of things are ACTUALLY causing bigger problems. Just like my tooth roots were crazy long and in areas they didn't belong that weren't visible to me on the surface, how many things in my life are rooting me in the wrong direction or holding me down to areas that He wants me to release? What chains am I putting on myself? What areas of my flesh are blocking me from HEARING and SEEING Him at work in my life.
I'll be honest.
I don't really like the answer.
I don't like the answer because I know it's one that going to bring pain. It's going to bring about the need for chiseling, reshaping, letting go of things, grabbing on to others. It's going to require walking through refining fires.
The end result.
That's what's the amazing part is.
I'll be more of Him and less of me. I'll be walking more in step with what HE has in plan for me.
I may have lost my last wisdom tooth this week, but I sure hope I gained some real wisdom.
Wisdom from Him.