If you don’t know me or don’t know what I look like..the picture attached is me. If you don’t know anything about the dental journey I’m on, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed. I have a painful jaw disorder called TMJ.
To correct it, I need to have braces and jaw surgery (I’m in the braces phase currently). My entire life I’ve had a sideways tooth in my bottom jaw, I mean completely sideways. It never bothered me, and because it was completely and utterly sideways no one ever noticed it. The picture on the left features my unrecognizable sideways tooth. My orthodontist said it would be necessary to straighten the tooth in order to correct my bite. I suggested removing the tooth because at this point I’ve never used it as part of my bite. It was so tightly jammed in between the other two that it could just come right out, cinch the other two teeth back together and “voila!” End result achieved quickly and more efficiently!
Thus, we began the process of turning the tooth, now in order to do that he had to create a gap, a really large gap…forcing all my teeth apart in order to make room and allow room for shifting. The pic on the right is in the middle of that painful and, quite frankly, embarrassing process. You can see the effect not just on the twisted tooth but the chaos that ensued with all the teeth around it; they all started taking on this tidal wave type form. I might be exaggerating, I do have a gift for that, but boy oh boy it was awful. Dealing with the gap has been intense for me, not just the pain but facing my pride, my insecurities, not having control over the process and the list goes on and on. I would have to meet new people with my gap, I would have to sing on stage with my gap, I’d have to lead meetings, rehearsals, talk to neighbors, vacation, all with my gap! I tried to lessen my smile, I tried to close mouth smile until my husband caught me practicing in the mirror and asked me to just smile big like I always do because no one would care about my gap.
But…it’s easy to feel like people care about my gap, my gaps actually…you see this isn’t just a tooth thing. I’ve got gaps in my experience, gaps in my knowledge, gaps in my righteousness, I’ve got GAPS!
At the Leadership Summit this year, Bill Hybels shared a story about a conversation with a man on a plane and a discussion on how we can never be good enough to earn salvation (I’ll paraphrase the story). Jesus is perfect and he’s at the top of the righteous ladder. Bill had the man place names of really good people on this ladder. They all fell somewhere in the middle between the bottom & Jesus at the top. Then Bill asked him to place himself on the ladder. Then Bill said that the difference between the man & Jesus is the gap, saying, “God sees your gap and loves you anyway.”
Because my physical gap has been a small focal point for a bit, the fact that he used the word gap made me chuckle to myself because it’s true… physical & spiritual. God loves me; he sees my gaps and loves me anyway. Good news here…this is true for YOU too!
In real time today as I sit and write this blog my gap is in the process of closing, my sideways tooth is already straightened out. Here’s a real time photo:
It’s taking a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of pain in the process. I’m thankful that our spiritual gap doesn’t feel that same way, it is an immediate gift to all who would believe by the grace of our God!
We read in John 3:16,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
And in Ephesians 2:8,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
I’ve got gaps, you’ve got gaps, God knows it and loves us anyways. He loved us enough to send his Son to die on the cross for our sins and made a way for each of us. Thankful for that today and everyday, hope you have a wonderful week.