Posted by: Kara Luker | January 30, 2023

Inspired confidence

Well goodness, it’s been a while since I’ve checked in! It feels like life lifted me off the ground in December, swirled me around for a good month or two (with so many wonderful things, mind you) and deposited me here on this rainy Southern California day with some time to write and an earnest hope that I can remember how. Thank you for joining me in this attempt.

At a dentist appointment last year, I was told that the gums in the lower front part of my mouth had receded enough that it would be in my best interest to have a gum graft. I wasn’t so sure what suddenly made things turn that corner since my gums had always seemed low and I’d never been flagged for such drastic measures. But since the dentist is the expert and I didn’t want exposed roots, teeth falling out or any other consequences, I figured I should respond accordingly. 

“Okay, sure,” I said. “I’ll do it.” I scheduled a date with a periodontist who comes monthly to my dentist’s office. But there was a problem. The idea of someone taking a chunk out of my palate and stitching it onto my gums seemed unpleasant and quickly triggered my fear of pain. It also seemed incredibly inconvenient to take time off of regular life things, including exercise and a good many foods, to recuperate. Fortunately another problem arose, which was that my insurance wouldn’t cover it until the new year so I had to postpone. Phew!! I bought myself several months with that convenient – and very legitimate – excuse.

In the meantime, I researched every possible way of enduring less suffering. Donor tissue? Nope, doesn’t work as well. Pinhole technique which doesn’t require cutting into the palate? No, not effective in this area of the mouth. Shoot! Okay fine. I get it. I have to do the whole awful thing. The upside of my frenzied research was that I came across a different periodontist. Unlike the first one who had fumbled with his camera when taking pictures of my gums and didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, this one, alongside his fabulous assistant, provided a consultation that made me feel like I would be in the best of hands. His demeanor was upbeat and professional, his methods made sense and there would be much greater freedom in scheduling the surgery since he had his own office.

The strangest thing happened in between scheduling the graft and approaching it. The fear and dread disappeared and were replaced with excitement about getting this thing done. I was ready and knew I was in the best hands with this doctor. He would do a great job; I was sure of it. I would get through the process and heal up and all would be well. Heck, maybe I’d even be less fearful next time something came up.

So last Tuesday, I drove myself to my appointment, confidently hopped in the periodontist’s chair, got the work done with little fanfare, made a couple quick stops on the way home and have been recouping for the past week. I’ve obediently taken ibuprofen and antibiotics, eaten soft foods, rested as best as I can and am feeling like myself again. The hardest part has honestly been slowing down, but it’s actually a gift because I think I needed it. The most surprising part is there has been little to no pain. Who would have thought?

This story turned out longer than I meant it to be – oops – but it really got me thinking about how many hard things we are going to have to face in life. Fear and dread are pretty natural responses. After all, who wants to experience pain, even when it is deemed necessary for our wellbeing. Many of us are likely to put off dealing with these hard things – like hurts, failures, disappointments, grievances, regrets, addictions, (fill in the blank) – and grab hold of any reasons, legitimate or not, to justify this procrastination. Again, a very natural thing. No shame necessary. 

But what if, while trying to figure out how to postpone or circumvent the process, we come across the most trustworthy expert who inspires the confidence needed for us to lean forward? I don’t mean to lean forward into pain or the idea of it, but into the process determined by this expert, knowing that we are in the best of hands and our problems will be handled with perfect wisdom and care. And what if, in response, the fear and dread we initially felt melts away as excitement for our healing and freedom rises to the surface?

The only completely trustworthy doctor I’ve ever found in matters like this is Jesus and I could write the greatest reviews because of the impossibly hard things his expert care has gotten me through. But in all honesty, I usually waltz around problems in every other way possible before fully bringing them – or entrusting them – to the Lord. And I often cancel appointments, “surgery” and the like because I panic that he will expect more of me in the “treatment plan” than I have the courage for. So this post is not only intended as an encouragement to you, but to me as well, to bring our problems – and all the fear about dealing with them – for a very honest consultation with the Lord to see what he has to say. I think we might be surprised by the confidence and hope his very presence draws up in us and maybe – just maybe – we will realize that we are suddenly willing to submit ourselves to his care, experiencing far less pain and trauma in the process than we thought possible, and find ourselves on the other side of our troubles with healing and freedom in hand. 

Photo: Avalon Dental Care (which reminds me, I should probably start flossing)


  1. fantasic! and great timing. we got to the doc today, a FANTASTIC guy around 70, recommended by douglas as the best around. sweet, warm grandfatherly guy (though i’m older!) who sat and talked with us for two hours plus. bottom line, my shoulder is so trashed there’s not much that can be done. we can explain more when we see you.

    • So sorry about the news on your shoulder but so very glad you found a caring, trustworthy doctor to steer you in the right direction 💗

  2. Drawing spiritual truths from mundane matters — that’s our Kara!

    • Thank you Mitch! I feel honored that you take the time to read and comment. Hope you have a great week…

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