This holy season my mind turns once again towards the birth of Jesus. The wonder. The mystery. The miraculous.
How often do I allow this same Jesus to show up and make Himself known in my everyday life? And when he does show up, do I see Him and share the magnificence of what He has done?
A week had passed since my first chemo treatment. To my amazement I mostly had energy and thankfully no nausea.
To my dismay a molar crown fell out. After my recent tonsillectomy I noticed this crown was not seated properly and had most likely been loosened during my procedure. I was able to push it back in place and had not given it another thought. Until now, as I starred at it in my hand.
This began a chewing dilemma. With my crown off on the left side of my mouth I began to compensate by chewing on the right side. I had been told that often with chemotherapy you would develop mouth sores, of which I had developed my first large blister under my tongue.
After a few days of juggling what to eat, I noticed pain along my right jaw line. That night I woke to fierce, shooting pain. It was a long night as I am not able to take any pain reliever while on chemotherapy. In the early dawn hours I begged with God to relieve me of this pain and to heal me. Minutes after my prayer I felt the pain lift. I touched my jaw. The pain was gone! God be praised!
The next day my teeth hurt all along my right jaw. I reverted to my tonsillectomy diet of applesauce, soup, pudding, ice-cream and yogurt.
But the real pain came that night when I laid down to go to bed. It exploded through my right jaw and shot down to my chin. It was just unreal! I knew this was going to be another unbelievable, painfilled night.
That afternoon I had talked with my nurse at Cleveland Clinic. After looking over my treatment medications she told me that one of my chemo medications has a side-effect of jaw pain. I needed to get to the dentist to discover if this pain was dental related and rule out a chemo side-effect.
The night was long for both Joel and me. I felt out of my mind with the intensity of pain. Thankfully I had a large ice bag in the freezer that we had brought from the hospital after my tonsillectomy. For such a time as this! It was so solidly frozen that it lasted quite a few hours before it melted.
Between ice and taking my temperature to make sure I didn’t have a fever due to possible infection; it was an unbelievable long, long, long night
After eight straight hours of pain I felt desperate to find relief. Without any pain reliever I didn’t think I could take the misery any longer. The pain was beyond my tolerance level and had been for hours.
“…In my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.”
Psalm 18:6 NLT
I was in distress! It was now 5 am. My ice had melted, and I felt like I was going crazy with pain. I had endured this for two-long- nights. As unsolicited tears fell, I cried out to God, begging Him to heal me. To heal whatever infection or inflammation was in my jaw and to remove the pain.
The next thing I knew, the pain was gone! In just moments I fell into a fitful sleep. I slept as if there never was any pain. God had answered my cry for help! He heard my desperate plea and answered with sweet rest. At one point I sensed Joel looking at me as I slept. Without opening my eyes I reached out my hand and whispered; “God healed me!” And with those words we both slept.
The next day the dentist re-cemented my crown and took x-rays of the teeth along my jaw line. My smile radiated as she told us that all was well. No infection! It is recommended not to have dental work done during chemotherapy, so this was good news. The dentist felt that the pain along my jawline had most likely come from bruising, as I compensated for the missing crown.
We left the dentist praising God; but to us the miracle came in the middle of two nights as God heard the cry of one of His children and removed the pain and offered rest.
“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’S greatness; let us exalt his name together.”
Psalm 34:1-3 NLT
God’s love is never hidden from us. Yet how often do I miss the love notes that He sends my way? This time they were not hard to miss as His miraculous healing touch was so evident to me.
It is my prayer that I will have eyes to see the gentle and the extreme work of God in my life and the lives of those around me. After all… a miracle is a miracle. Whether the ask be big or small.
“God, when I think I know something about you, I realize I know barely anything at all. For you are so much more than the small expanse of my understanding. You are the vast unknown and even then… you are endless beyond.”
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design
Love Notes from God
Watercolor by Linda Jane Dingeldein