Flashy metal. Metallic rubber bands. Lots of jello. Welcome to my world. Well, minus the rubber bands. Since I was nine-years-old I have had some form of metal in my mouth. From expanders to headgear--you name it, I had it all! Now as a college freshman what do I have? Braces. Yep. I look like I'm twelve! But, quite honestly, these wire bands have taught me a thing or two...
Braces don't mean that your life is over. Actually, they mean your life is beginning to get straighter (No pun intended...well, maybe!). Yes, braces are painful and don't look all that attractive, but the end result is well worth it.
Braces are a lot like the training wheels of life. C. S. Lewis said, "God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain." That is what orthodontists do. They see ahead into your future--life with crooked teeth or a severe under bite isn't healthy, so what do they do? They equip you with the right resources to fix it. Guaranteed these "resources" are painful, but they are non-negotiable in order for you to grow. Life is a lot like that. God knows that we need to be equipped to follow Him and sees problems that we can encounter in life. So He equips us with trials, tribulations, storms, and fumbles to help us grow to our maximum potential. Yes, this process is painful. Growing is not fun at all, but the end result is so worth all of the pain and heartache. After a patient gets their braces off and has their teeth cleaned, you can't even tell that they had braces! After you have grown physically, you don't remember what you looked like when you were three feet shorter! After you grow with God, you go to new levels as well.
You can be drop-dead gorgeous in braces. Recently I have been reading Megan Clinton's book, Totally God's. She uses this amazing example about how her little brother had to wear this ugly sweater that he received for Christmas to church and was ultimately dreading it. When he finally arrived to church, his mentor, Josh, approached him and complimented his sweater. The kid, baffled, wondered why in the world Josh liked his sweater. Josh went on to explain that instead of walking with his head hung low, he should walk with pride in his new Christmas sweater and make all of the other guys jealous! The whole issue was never about the sweater itself. Confidence is key. Does the sweater make you or do you make the sweater? The same goes for braces! The day I got my braces on, I wasn't the most confident that I have ever been. I wondered why I had to go through this now in my first year of college! But, then I had to ask myself, "Do the braces make me, or do I make the braces?" The funny part is that some of my friends are actually jealous and want to get braces themselves! Weird, right?!
A little about my situation...You can be praying for me over the next several months. My braces are actually preparing me for surgery in December. I have an under bite that cannot be fixed by braces alone. I will be having a double jaw surgery (I will spare you of all the yucky details!) and will have a pretty interesting recovery process--no solid food for six weeks! So, please be praying for me as I prepare for this surgery. Thank you!
Photo courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt.