Lots of joy and thankfulness flooding my heart tonight. The same heart that sank to my knees today when I came home from picking up yard sale donations from my old neighbor (thank you, Allison!) to find Ava in tears and Gabe very, very upset.

I’ll leave out some sordid details, but there was a water fight and a bully (17 years old & bigger than Gabe), and we’re all working our way to forgiveness (at several different paces). Ava was pushed into a brick wall which she hit teeth first. One front tooth was bloody and loose. The other was chipped.

If you’ve known Ava for longer than two years, you know that she had an awful trampoline accident in January 2012 that knocked out a baby tooth and jammed her two front permanent teeth up into her gums (here’s another post with a pic). She had to wait 18 months for her big-girl teeth to grow in, and she would cry herself to sleep many nights begging God for the money for braces.

And God provided and, after just a few short months, her teeth were beautiful again. (Thank you, Jesus!)

So, today’s trauma was extra-traumatic and pretty near broke my heart for her. We called the orthodontist who said she could come right in. All the way there, I just prayed and prayed and begged God to be near her (and tried not to cry).

Dr. Golden was so encouraging and optimistic and hopeful. Ava and I both teared up several times, because we were so thankful. She had to replace one of Ava’s brackets (it was smashed and broke off her tooth) and redo her wire and rubber bands. She did an x-ray, but she couldn’t tell if the tooth bone was broken up in her gums, because the x-ray just showed black from all the blood.

She called a periodontist friend who said he’d work us in. 90 minutes later, we were in a room. He felt her gums and asked her questions and was kind and encouraging and said she would be okay. He was almost positive nothing was broken but he’d do an x-ray just to set our minds at peace. I said, “Um, we don’t have insurance… do you know how much it will cost? If you’re pretty sure…”

“Oh, no charge,” he said. My heart sang.

And, sure enough, the x-ray showed beautiful, strong teeth bones. He said we just have to watch out for nerve damage since this is her second trauma. (We’re praying against this.)

And as he walked us up to the billing desk (where the sign says “Payment Due at Time of Service”), he told the receptionist. “You know, we didn’t really, you know, we hardly did anything. I mean we really didn’t do anything at all.” And he closed our folder and waved us out. “You two have a nice day.”

Tears of gratitude sprung to my eyes.

And we drove home in the pouring rain (with a quick stop at the grocery store for all the soft, not-too-unhealthy foods we could find) and thanked Jesus. And tomorrow we’ll call the dentist to see about fixing her chipped tooth.

And we’re exhausted and joyful and counting our blessings. Praise God with us?? (and, if you’d like, we could use some prayers for peace with neighbors, softness of hearts, and for the boy who hurt Ava–thanks!!)