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Marriage | Staying Brave Through the Hard Times in Marriage

Be Brave by Carol Turner

Let’s start out by confessing I’d rather give birth than visit a dentist. My last dental experience involved a less than patient doctor. As he started drilling to fill a cavity, it was painfully obvious that the Novocain hadn’t worked its magic. He wasn’t very subtle in his disdain to alleviate my suffering. See that Dr. again? No thanks! My heart vowed to become an oral hygienist Nazi and monitor my own dental dilemmas with OCD flossing and brushing. Hence the reason you will always find on my person both of the aforementioned items.

Fast forward to an awful incident which involved my usual breakfast of raw almonds. Silently, one of my molars decided to break off and join the digestion process. No immediate pain, nothing else conspicuous besides the awkward jags of the remaining tooth (and the filling that occupied the center of that tooth). Panic filled my heart as I was at a loss on the course of action that needed to take place. But, since there was no noticeable discomfort, days turned into weeks, weeks to months, and well… there’s the picture. I mentioned to my man that I would probably need some expensive dental work done and pretty much left it at that. There were so many other pertinent demands on my attention. Besides, who was I going to trust with this dilemma?

I beefed up my regiment of flossing and brushing and pretty much went on my merry way… Until… (there’s always an end to the ignorance isn’t there?) I noticed some throbbing pain while jumping around at Jazzercise. Biting into a frozen fruit bar also sent more than chills down my spine. During my dreams in the middle of the night I would be awoken to reminders of something not being right.

Knowing me, I knew I needed reinforcement to do the right thing, so asked my bff to piggyback an appointment onto hers. That familiar lurching feeling in my gut returned when she confirmed the time. Walking into the office, I felt similar to when I found myself at the top of the Black Hole water slide. “What in the world am I doing here?” I would ask myself? I sternly told myself to “be brave” and it’ll be over soon.

Even kind Dr. Mason couldn’t conceal his concerned sighs and I had never seen that buggy eyed expression from him before.  Reminding me of the anatomy of the tooth, he gently explained that since the tooth broke, the dentin had been exposed and had deteriorated dangerously close to the nerve. The tough exterior enamel only needed a microscopic entrance for decay to take place and silly me allowed this gaping surface to be exposed… for a long time. Scrambling to defend myself (as usual), I questioned my sanity in thinking that I could hold back the tide of tooth decay with my heightened diligence in oral hygiene. What was I thinking, by the way?  Pure genius allowed Dr. Mason to restore the molar, although he warned that I wasn’t out of danger… (prompt scary music in the background)… a root canal could be lurking around the corner.

Driving home, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for his gentle but firm, reality notice. Why had I allowed fear to paralyze what I knew to be true? Why had I deluded myself in thinking that the pain wasn’t that bad (even though I had stopped chewing on that side of the mouth) and that I could just live with it?  I asked the Lord how many other areas in my life do I neglect dealing with reality because I’m too chicken to follow through with taking action that might/might not be painful.

Immediately He revealed that I’m tentative to honor my heart when it comes to being honest with my man. Take for example when Travis teases me; I minimize the effect, I justify the behavior, I make excuses for not doing the right thing. I imagine that if I fortify my efforts, the painful effects won’t be so bad and I could just live with it. The truth is that I feel dishonored when he teases me. I feel stupid. I want to be able to laugh at myself but sometimes I need him to value me more than I value myself. I want to feel safe with him, but when I feel anticipation that I’m going to be the punch line, I retreat and build a barrier to protect myself.

At some point, as in my broken tooth, I’m going to have to be honest and deal with it. Am I going to allow time to pass hoping it will just get better while actually damaging the core of my heart, much like the dentin of my tooth? What is preventing me from facing it sooner than later when I might not have the stamina to sustain me (or need the dreaded root canal)?

Being honest with my heart doesn’t have to be a show down at the OK Corral. I need to be faithful and constant at evaluating the effect my Sweetie has on me. If I show up with guns a blazing, I can pretty much count on being shot and lose credibility. Being honest shows the true closeness that we share, that nothing is between us, as opposed to a wall protecting my heart. If I withhold truth from him, how will he know?

Because I tend to be a scaredy cat, I need the Word of God to sustain me. Scripture is frank in dealing with fear, as 2 Tim. 1:7 states that, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, self discipline and a sound mind.”

God ordains broken things that might be made whole. There’s purpose in broken molars, broken hearts, brokenness.