Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teeth and Grace

I don't really consider myself a writer so I am very concerned that I have writer's block 5 posts into my blogging adventure. I mean I have been acting like a nut for years and I have story after story that I could share but at the moment I feel like I have been locked in a white walled room (padded perhaps) for 32 of my 33 years.
I think I will just ramble a bit until something sticks......

Crap! I can't even ramble...

Maybe a little history. You have to know where you have been to know where you are going.

I grew up wanting to be a dentist. This, I now know, was completely rational given how much time I spent at the dentist office as a child. I really had a hard time keeping my teeth in my mouth. When I was 4ish I was visiting my Great Grandmother in the hospital and back in those days if you were under the age of 12 you had to stay in the lobby while the adults went and did the visiting. When you are four and bored what do you do? Well, you make a friend, you play, run around and play some more. I think there is a Law of Physics that says something about, "When two four year olds are in motion there is a tendency for those four year olds to collide." (If this isn't a Law of Physics it should be)  She was a little shorter than I was and her forehead was directly in line with my front teeth.  Thank the Lord we were in the hospital.... She needed stitches and I needed two new front teeth. They were able to stitch her up and I found out teeth are not easy to replace.  I became very familiar with the song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth...." At the ripe old age of 4, I was a few years away from getting those illusive adult teeth and I wasn't about to go through the next 3-4 years singing that stupid song or having no teeth in pictures, so I got a partial. The world's smallest partial. The dentist said I was his youngest partial patient. (I started distinguishing myself early) This little partial served many great purposes, I looked cute in pictures and I didn't have to sing Christmas songs in July. But to the chagrin of my teachers I found some not so great uses for my partial as well. I flipped my partial to amuse my friends and annoy my teachers, hmm..maybe I should have seen some of my struggles coming... 
I got to keep my partial until my adult teeth came in around the age of 6-7. Now the dentist had told my parents that given the level of trauma that my gums had incurred my adult teeth may come in black or abscessed or not at all. But they came in PERFECT! White, shiny and perfect!

I was incredibly happy, and my parents were incredibly happy that the dental bills should be returning to normal.  And they did... for the next 2 years....
Then I decided to dive into the shallow end of a pool face first and the bottom of that pool was just as nice as that little girl's forehead. Ironically it happened in July and so then I really was singing, 'All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth....' in July, apparently it was just meant to be!
I was praying that they would tell me that the next round of adult teeth should flip forward in a couple of months. The dentist sighed and assured me that that was my one chance at having adult teeth and I had failed miserably. Weeelll crap.... Now what? The short answer was/is a lot of bonding and a lifetime of dental work that rolled to into my purse at the age of 18.
Life is funny like that. Sometimes we mess up the first chance, royally screw up the second chance and then we have the rest of our lives to deal with the mess. Now I realize that my teeth are a some what strange way to convey a message on life but how many people do you know that have knocked out their front teeth TWICE. My parent's probably would have made me wear a mouth piece to walk to the bathroom if they had thought for one second that I would knock my front teeth out twice. But seriously WHO DOES THAT? Me, little ole me.
The great thing about this story is amazing advances in dental work and dental insurance.  But in life the great thing is Grace. We have Grace. We can screw up and know that we have been given Grace and all is not lost. These mishaps can be small and we can feel that a prayer and an apology is all we need to move on with life. But sometimes these mishaps are big...REAL BIG and require us to have large amounts of Faith to believe that Grace is sufficient. Which one do you think we learn more from? I am not suggesting that we all go out and intentionally make a really big mess.  Because, really we don't have to try, do we? Most of those screw ups happen with very little intent and a whole lot of good intention.  But these are the screw ups that we can't seem to let go of, no matter how hard we try. They sneak up in the moments of weakness, stress or exhaustion and remind us that we aren't good enough and we never will be good enough and we should just stop trying.  It is in these moments we truly feel like we just smacked our face on the bottom of a concrete pool mentally and physically. The truth is we are not good enough and we never will be good enough when we are on our own. The reason it feels like we just got our front teeth knocked out is because we have the audacity to think we are in control. This is why it is SO exhausting to try to make it look like with have it under control, we never screw up and we definitely don't lose it, ever...

'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by HIS GRACE through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.'
Romans 3:23-24

We all screw up, sometimes it is little, sometimes it is BIG and sometimes it is MONUMENTAL. But it is all covered because no matter what we think in our moments of weakness:

He said to me, "My GRACE is SUFFICIENT for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's Power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

When we screw up or when we are reminded about our past (and we all have a past, but that is a post for another time). Remember, God knows we are weak but it is in our weakness he can show HIS power. We have all messed up and continue to mess up, little, big and monumentally. But when we try to hide it we don't allow God to rest His Power on us and we don't let the Grace that He has given us shine!!

EmJ

PS. I am glad that God's power is glorified in my infinite weakness BUT I am also thankful that my dentist's abilities are shown in the fact that none of you knew they weren't real! hahaha!!!