Crowned at last!

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Reflections, Updates at 3:37 pm by Libbie

Thank you for praying–my tooth has a crown at long last! I honestly think the dentist was as relieved and excited as I was. I’m in a whole lot of pain right now, but I am SOOOO thankful!

After the first two and a half hours and 4 unsuccessful shots it looked as if this was going to be a repeat of the last attempts. But the dentist decided to give it 15 more minutes and one last shot, and lo and behold the area got decently close to numb. I still had sensation in the tooth, but it was pain I could live with (not that raw drilling-the-nerve kind of pain), so we went ahead. She could tell I was pretty nervous when she started drilling without it being fully numb, but it ended up being okay. And the job is done! Hallelujah!

I got to thinking about it. Last summer when I had a different tooth crowned, the jaw got fully numbed, and I remember vividly the exquisite sensation of non-feeling, knowing that I could just relax and lean back on that cushion of numbness that would protect me from pain. (With my history of problems with Novocain I was dancing dances of praise to God inside while I sat quietly in the chair.)

It struck me as significant today that we had to proceed without knowing whether or not, or to what degree, the pain would be there. I couldn’t necessarily count on the protective cushion of Novocain.

Recently it seems that the Lord has been calling me to walk in lots of situations that feel more like that: not knowing what will lie ahead with Al’s cancer and what the details of that will be like to go through; sticking with my the seminary course I had signed up for this spring and having to take that one week at a time, not knowing whether I would in fact be able to finish it or not; wondering what life will look like if/when Al is not here anymore–will I finish my degree at WTS? Will I need to find a job right away? Which one? etc.

These are uncomfortable lessons in living one day at a time and trusting things to the Lord. I’d rather have all my proverbial ducks in a row, sitting where I want them–or at least where I know I can find them. I’d like to know specifically what hard things lie ahead so that I can prepare for them, since I generally like to err on the side of being over-prepared for things. But the Lord is setting my path through lots of unknowns that will probably include painful things, and all he will let me know ahead of time is that he is and will be right there with me as I walk that path. And that is enough. It’s not the “enough” that I might think I need, but it is enough in his economy, his way of doing things, his love. Which means it is definitely enough.

I’d rather have had the comfortable assurance that I wasn’t going to feel a thing under the dentist’s drill. And I’d rather know that whatever lies ahead won’t really be too agonizingly painful. But the Lord knows better. If those things were true then I wouldn’t need to trust him or depend on him so much. And while I might prefer that, it would be my great loss.

He is gracious to lead us through hard places where we have no other options but to put our shaky little hand in his and hold on tight, knowing that there may be scary things on the road, but that he’ll guide us safely and protect us well.

So, I’m thankful–not only that my tooth is safely on the other side of the drilling, but that the Lord gave me a concrete reminder that I can (and have to!) depend on him.

Thank you so much for praying even for this recent little subplot in our lives. We treasure your love and support more than we can say.





  1. Michael Good said,

    May 2, 2006 at 4:09 pm


    I will say it before anyone else. Crown Him with many crowns, the king who goes before us is a good king. Thanks for your words of life.


  2. Judy Parnell said,

    May 2, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    I AM SO THANKFUL THAT THE CROWN WAS COMPLETED TODAY!! Having had a lot of dental work and facing some dental surgery now, I know what it is like to sit in that chair and I don’t have a problem with novacain!!!
    Thank you again for sharing your heart. What a witness you and Al are to us.
    We miss you both but you continue to be in our hearts and prayers.

  3. Meredith Riedel said,

    May 2, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    Hey Libbie,

    This is such a good insight!!! The last time I was back in the States I marveled at the packed aisles of medications in the drugstore — something I have come to live without in Europe. Did you know most Germans choose *not* to have their jaws numbed for dental work??? I think it’s nuts, but hey, maybe they know something we don’t — it’s possible to go through episodes of intense, outrageous pain and still live.
    Continuing to pray with and for your family amidst the ache.

  4. Susan Michaelson said,

    May 2, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    What a wonderful praise, Libbie. May you continue to be sustained and upheld day by day.

  5. Rick Winter said,

    May 3, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Living in the moment, one day, one lesson at a time; thanks for showing the way. We keep praying for you, Al and the family.

  6. Craig Higgins said,

    May 4, 2006 at 10:46 am

    Great news, Libbie, and good theology too.

  7. Cheryl White said,

    May 7, 2006 at 6:18 pm


    You are such an inspiration to me and a living picture of God’s love. Thank you for Jonah – twice, no less!! You gave so much over this past weekend to us all and I am so thankful to you for your quiet, gentle, humble and funloving example. We will continue to thank God for you, asking him to cover you with his love and healing.


  8. Kent Morton said,

    May 9, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    Libbie — I can’t help but wonder whether I would display the courage, grace, and heavenly perspective I see in you and Al were I facing the same kinds of challenges. You are both filling all of our cups to overflowing with thoughts well worth our meditation. Thank you for blazing a trail that many of us will inevitably walk at some future point in our lives. We will be fortunate if, when the time comes, we can tap into the wells of wisdom and trust that you are both sharing as you walk your own path.

    May grace and peace be multiplied to you in great abundance!


  9. judi said,

    May 9, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    hi libbie, it was so good to see you at the retreat this week-end, you did such a great job with acting out Jonah! i’m so glad your tooth is a lot better, too!

    i agree with what kent has written, you and al and your family are examples of what andree told us to say every day ‘i will trust in God’s unfailing love’…


  10. David Filson said,

    May 10, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Hi Libbie, You don’t know me, and we have never met. I am a very part-time Ph.D. student at WTS. I have never had Al for a class, although he kindly introducted himself to me last Nov., when I was up for some research. As a pastor, I treasure ya’ll’s posts, as I have known my own pain, as well as, pastored others in theirs. I share ya’ll’s blog with my flock. There is a little PCA church down in Nashville holding ya’ll up. I AM PRAYING for your family… really praying.

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