Tuesday, I took all four of the children to the dentist and they got an awesome report back: no cavities! They each were very excited that their teeth are healthy.
By the way, I actually shared footage from that visit on my latest vlog. It's embedded in this post and also available for viewing on YouTube. Watch and enjoy.
Kedar, Kaleb, Kaiah and Kyla were giving each other high-fives and celebrating their favorable news. I commended them on taking good care of their teeth and admonished them to continue.
Kedar, our 14-year-old, learned that he has a wisdom tooth growing in. So the dentist told him to be sure to keep it clean with mouthwash. Otherwise, food particles can get stuck in there and cause issues with his teeth. I jokingly told him he's "growing into a wise old man."
I also stressed that he heed his dentist's advice, because having trouble with wisdom teeth is no fun. His dad knows this very well.
In late 2014, my husband Kenya had a terrible toothache and an earache caused by the tooth trouble. He needed to have all four of his wisdom teeth removed before the ache in his ear and mouth would subside. Although he wasn’t looking forward to the oral surgery, he said he would much rather endure the temporary discomfort of having the problematic teeth removed, than to deal with those awful symptoms indefinitely.
After the procedure was done, Kenya was very sore, swollen, and couldn't eat solid food. His recovery was painful. But Kenya made it. Again, he wasn't exactly clicking his heels together about having to get that done, but the unbearable pain made him less fearful of the painful process required to get to wholeness.
Sometimes, we have to go through undesirable circumstances to make things better. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain; no cross, no crown; no wilderness, no Promised Land; no rain, no reign.
The Children of Israel learned this when they were enslaved under cruel Egyptian masters and wanted to be free. In Exodus 3:7, God said His chosen people were crying out because of the mistreatment they were enduring. So the Lord sent Moses to release them. In order to break free, however, the Israelites had to leave Egypt behind. That meant they would have to walk through miles and miles of desert, without the kind of food they had grown accustomed to.
The transition was understandably difficult; so was being brutalized and enslaved. Without God’s hand intervening, they would have most certainly remained in bondage forever.
So if the Israelites didn’t want to accept indefinite servitude, they had to deal with the temporary discomfort of treading through the wilderness until they reached the “land flowing with milk and honey."
Once they made it to freedom, the cruelty of the wilderness made them nostalgic. They longed for Egypt on their hungriest and thirstiest days. In Exodus 16:3, while feeling frustrated and disillusioned with their limited menu options, God's people that had been rescued from bondage complained to Moses and Aaron.
"If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” they said.
They looked back at the lesser on their way to greater, because they didn’t know how to deal with the in-between. Have you ever felt like that—as if you were stuck between desolation and destiny? Were you at one time aggravated by the meantime experience?
Perhaps you’re there right now. If so, I want to tell you something: the journey is worth it. The sacrifices, tears and work it takes to step into your season of better are not in vain.
If you feel stuck between desolation and destiny, know this: God is about to bring you out with a mighty and outstretched hand.
You may be studying hard in college, striving to earn that degree; fighting for a relationship you know God ordained that is currently going through a rough patch; working more than one job to make ends meet; pushing through the pain of exercise and making the sacrifice of healthy eating to take better care of your body; releasing a long-held offense and forgiving someone who did you wrong so you can experience God’s best for your life; going through treatment for an aggressive illness that's ravaging your body like I was last year; or waiting and praising on the other side of a closed door, believing God to open it.
Whatever journey you're on, don't give up. What God has on the other side waiting for you will make it all worth it in the end. You may be currently trusting God for better while things around you seem to be getting worse. Nevertheless, don’t give into discouragement.
Walk through this trial with assurance that God indeed has more for you. As long as you live in obedience to His will, even when He carries you through a dry place, He will sustain you there. Then, in due season, you will reap a harvest. Just don't faint. There is a reward waiting on the other side. You will come out victorious. The journey is worth it. Don't turn back. Don't throw in the towel. Don't shrink back in fear. Don't give up on God.
As the saying goes, you have to go through to get to.
You have to go through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land.
2 Timothy 2:12 lets us know that we must suffer with Christ in order to reign with Him. That's a reality for each one of us. That's why you can't let trouble make you retreat from life and throw in the towel. Just because something challenges you doesn't mean you should run away. Instead, run to God, who is your refuge in the time of trouble. He will keep you and strengthen you in the midst of turmoil, pain and distress.
He'll carry you through and you'll look back and say, the journey was worth it.
Don’t settle for less than you can have because you’re afraid of what it takes to have better. March forward in faith. Trust God to bring you out of this low place, no matter how slow and arduous the climb.
He will never leave you. He won’t forsake you.
To help you remember this truth, I’m stirring one of my many favorite encouraging scriptures into your cup of inspiration. This one is found in Isaiah 41:10 ESV, which says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, know that this is not the end. You will bear fruit in your life if you remain connected to Jesus Christ, the true vine (John 15).
Apart from Him, you can do nothing. Through Him, all things are possible--even the betterment of the worst circumstances.
Keep on keeping on.
Better is on the way.
The journey is worth it.
Now let’s pray.
God, I thank You that better is coming. Despite what it looks like right now and how difficult things are, I know You have a good plan for my life. Even when my world feels like it’s falling apart, I trust that You will cause all things to work together for my good at the appointed time. In the meantime, I anticipate great things and I praise You in advance for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HEREto learn how to submit your prayer request.