If you’d like to read a timeline of the battle I had with the infection, you can read that here.
I texted Dad and told him this mouth infection was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I still believe that. It has been crazy, but the Lord has been with us.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned through all of this, in no particular order.
1. My wife is the greatest person in the world.
Seriously. She has cleaned my vomit, kept my giant pill schedule, fed me, prayed for me, cried with me, carried me around to 100 appointments, and was strong when I was weak in more ways than one. She has not complained one time nor made fun of my inability to do even the simplest things like raise up to drink some gatorade. I love this woman, and can’t believe how blessed I am that God gave her to me as my wife.
2. It takes a village.
Without Mom and Dad, Tom McCullough, Chris AndJoanna Walker, and countless of you who prayed, gave food, or covered for us in several ways, we would not have been able to make it through this like we did. Thank you.
Tom took me to the ER. He basically carried me to the car. Just before I got in the passenger side I vomited again, and Tom literally held me up so I wouldn’t fall to the ground. I’ll never forget that.
3. Don’t underestimate how powerful a smile can be.
(That’s not intended to be a bad dentist joke!) On several occasions I was in intense pain and was on the verge of losing it emotionally when a stranger noticed what I was going through and smiled. Once in the dentist office after the second failed root canal a lady in the waiting room tried to make me laugh as I stood there shifting my weight trying my best to hold everything in as my face throbbed. She wasn’t very funny, but it helped, and I was thankful. Another time I was walking to get the CT scan at the hospital and as I turned a corner an elderly lady with a walker saw me. My face was giant, swollen, and nasty, but she could tell I was in a lot of pain, so she smiled. I’ll never forget those strangers.
4. Sometimes the Lord’s presence is most real in the middle of the worst pain.
During the first root canal, I was nervous as teeth and I don’t get along (obviously!) and was exhausted from being in so much pain all night. I was praying and praising the Lord for being so good to me as the drill was going into my tooth. That was one of the top 5 or so times the Lord has been so tangibly present with me. I mean guys, He was there.
5. When you don’t know what to say to the Lord, just use His Word.
This happened several times throughout this experience. If the pain is intense enough, you won’t know what to say. His Word is enough. Just rest on that and He’ll take care of what needs to happen.
6. I will think twice before I talk about suffering in a flippant way again.
When I would talk about being willing to suffer for Christ, I had nothing to base it on. I have never suffered anything remotely significant before. It’s easy to say that if you were faced with a situation where you had to choose no suffering or Christ that you’d choose Him. After going through this, I honestly don’t know what I would do in other cases that involved more suffering. I don’t have much confidence in myself. All I know is that the Lord was with me and that He gave me amazing people to help bear the burden. For me, that was enough, and I am grateful. The Lord promised He would be with me, so if that will be true in the future, then I will lean on Him to come through if He calls me to suffer for Him again.