I had a spiritual breakthrough yesterday. At the dentist’s office. Actually it was my son’s dentist office.
Titus sorta doesn’t like going to the dentist. Like a we pray for days leading up to the visit that he’ll open his mouth this time aversion. We’ve bribed him with everything under the sun, and I confess in my darker moments I’ve wanted to beat the tar out of him if he doesn’t open his blessed little mouth.
We made progress this particular day as I didn’t have to physically carry him to the back from the waiting room. Instead he was plastered to my leg as I awkwardly hefted the carseat containing the newest chick through the halls. We passed by the open space with a row of petite dental chairs containing the compliant children on our way to the back room. One that has a door. Because this ain’t our first rodeo, and we clearly have warning notes on our file.
I promised that kid a straight up skate board if he would sit in the chair by himself. No chance. So I squeezed into the little person dental seat with a 61 pound 1st grader laid out on top of me as the hygienist attempted to work in between his sobs. For a routine cleaning, ya’ll. They didn’t even use the scraper. JUST THE HARMLESS SPINNING TOOTHBRUSH. When it was time to use the suction thingy…utter wig out. And don’t get me started on applying the fluoride foam.
Finally, Cutesy Hygienist Girl finishes and I assume we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over for another six months. And then she says, “Dr. Greenlief will be in to check you in just a few minutes.”
Cue fresh panic greater than the first.
She goes out to “let him know we’re ready”. But bless her darling bones, I think she needed a break from our brand of drama. I have nothing but love for her. She was totally patient and kind and over the top gentle. I feared for her fingers the entire time she was working in Titus’ mouth.
Alone with my boy, I attempted to turn down the dial on the terror. I asked why he was afraid of the dentist. The hygienist had already done the hard stuff. All that was left was for the dentist to look in his mouth with a mirror.
And so we got to the bottom of it. My little fella was terrified that the dentist (who is no small guy) was going to do something to inflict epic pain. And he had no power to stop him.
I didn’t pause to pray about it. There was no scripture quoted. I simply responded with this guttural truth:
Titus, do you think that the dentist is the boss here? I am your Momma, son, and I AM IN CHARGE OF YOU. Which means that dentist can’t do one thing to you that I don’t allow. If I tell him to only look in your mouth with a mirror, he can only look in your mouth with a mirror. What I say concerning you is what goes.
I said it with absolute confidence and complete authority. Because it’s true. I birthed that boy which means the dentist has to go through me to get to him. Besides, I pay the bill. Okay, Nate pays the bill.
Meanwhile, as I was dealing with my child’s fear, I got a good glimpse of my own. And in the same moment I spoke to my son, God was speaking to me on the matter of some fears I’ve been wrestling with lately:
Child, do you think the world around you is in charge here? Your fear exposes your belief. When you worry, when you fret, when you allow terror to run wild in your mind, you are buying into the lie that this world can have it’s way with you. I am your Father, and I am in charge of you. Not one thing can happen to you that I don’t allow. The powerful forces that you think are in control are under my domain. And they have to go through me to get to you. If I do allow pain, it is for a good that you can’t comprehend. I won’t let anything happen to you that I don’t deem purposeful. I work all things to your good, child. Your times are in my hands.
The craziest thing happened yesterday. Titus fully believed the truth that the dentist answers to me. Probably because I repeated that little speech when Dr. Greenlief came in the room. I got a bizarre look from the big guy, but that’s another post. What matters is this:
My son saw me as more powerful than the object of his fear. He believed I would intercede if needed. He trusted that I loved him enough to.
And the kid opened his mouth.
What would change if you and I consistently believed the same?