There’s this dentist who has blitzed the pages of Forsyth Woman for years now. You know, the one with the beautiful smile, Dr. Andrea Robinson. She literally keeps my family straight (our teeth, that is!). The thing is, she and I get mistaken for each other. A lot. As in, all. the. time!
Just last week, a precious lady at a restaurant saw me and said, “You’re that nice dentist lady, aren’t you?”
Me: “No, but I know who you’re talking about.”
Her: “Are you sure you’re not her?”
Me: “Yep, I’m sure. But I get that a lot.”
Her: “Well, I read her articles in Forsyth Woman all the time. I just love her.”
Me: “I’ll tell her you said so.”
How’s that for mistaken identity–twice? I’m not making this up!
It gets better. Andrea and I have been friends for a couple of decades now. In fact, we worship together. She traveled with my husband’s mission team to Peru and El Salvador. Dr. Robinson has generously given hours of help and hope to countless folks with no access to dental care.
My husband and I returned to that remote area of El Salvador a couple of years later. His heart danced that a particular bright-eyed burst of sunshine named Jenny still lived there. She recognized him, her scrawny arms draped around him, and her smile straining to fit her sweet face. Her joy elated us all! Then, they turned to introduce me to this beauty.
Instantly, Jenny morphed into a terrified bundle of nerves. Her perky countenance twisted into hysterical sobs (sobs, I tell you!). The very sight of me caused her to literally run for the hills! Once someone calmed her enough to converse with her, the culprit of her crisis was revealed: Jenny thought I was the dentist who visited with my husband last time . . . none other than Dr. Andrea Robinson. (Thousands of miles from Forsyth County, we’re still mistaken for each other!)
Dr. Robinson had pulled several of Jenny’s infected teeth back then. Of course, it helped her, but that mortified little girl only remembered the pain. Seeing me, she could only assume that “Doc” was back for more! Family members tried consoling her, but we eventually left. It was the only way to calm her. Poor Jenny! She had convinced herself of something that was not even real. Her fear stole from her the gift of moments with those who longed to celebrate her.
What a crazy story, right? But truly, how much have we missed because a past wound marked us so deeply that we assume similar situations will be equally dreadful? How often have we failed to realize that the source of the unpleasant memory may have helped us more than it hurt us? We are stronger…healthier…but our hidden pain prevents us from progressing.
Can I be real with you? We all can be victims of mistaken identity.
You may not have a twin, but too often we all mistake someone else for God. We ascribe the actions of others to Him, assuming that’s who He is, too. For example, the truth that God is our good Father can be distorted in one who suffered a painful relationship with their own father. Based on that experience, they approach God—or run from God—in fear. Others witness incongruities between someone’s professions of Faith and their behavior, concluding that God cannot be trusted either.
How does this make us a victim? Like Jenny, whose fear ostracized her from our love, we often resist the unconditional love of our great God, too. We miss all His gifts to us that remain unopened. I urge you, let nothing behind you persuade you to miss His sweet gifts before you. Don’t allow past pain to snatch from you His blessings for even one more day. Life is too short! These moments—and YOU—are too precious! I promise you, He. Is. The. Real. Deal!
And by the way, if you see that nice dentist lady, tell her you enjoyed her article. 😉
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv