“I know the plan I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 CEB
Braces. We see them on people of all ages all of the time. A tweak here, tweak there and boom! Million dollar smile. Riiight? Well, sorta. As someone who’d never had braces, I thought, ok, I’ll get this bottom row straightened out and correct the overbite on my top row. Everyone was wearing masks and/or staying inside in 2020 so it was perfect timing, right? Wellll, what I have learned and am learning during this process about life (and teeth), is more than I could’ve ever imagined. I hope it blesses you too 😃.
It hurts! I knew it was going to be uncomfortable but beyond discomfort, I was in pain! I drank smoothies and took ibuprofen to help ease the initial discomfort but it was what it was. Sometimes when we’re going through painful changes, even for the better, it just doesn’t feel good. During those times we have to remember God’s plans for us and lean in, the pain won’t last forever and the outcome will be worth it!
Some things may get unexpectedly removed. In this case, 4 of my (in my opinion, perfectly fine) teeth had to be pulled in order to make room for the correction of my other teeth. 4? No cavities, not crooked, they just had to go because they were taking up the spaces that my teeth would need once the shifting was complete. When we decide to participate in God’s plans for us, He almost always removes people, habits and goals that we thought were permanent fixtures. He adjusts the other areas of our lives to accommodate what He knows will require more and different space in our lives. I remember my dentist saying, “You’re probably like; Forget this crap!” And oh baby, I was but I’d already gotten the braces and had 2 of the 4 teeth pulled so I knew that it was best to just see it through. And I did. If I’d known it would hurt like that, I might have said, forget it, but I didn’t and I’m so glad that I stuck to the plan. If we knew every step of God’s plans for us, we might run in the opposite direction but when we trust Him and agree to let Him have His way, the results are beyond anything we could’ve created for ourselves.
Lastly, just when we think we have it all figured out, here comes a plot twist! After 18 months of treatment (6 months to go, yay!), I started getting super happy. Bottom row was straight, the big gaps where I’d had my extractions were almost closed and then…bite blocks. My orthodontist put an appliance in my mouth that prevents me from biting down on my back teeth. Yep. Smoothies, applesauce and other soft foods are my new best friends. Am I happy about this new addition? Nope. Did I panic the first time I tried to eat? Yes. But I remembered that I wasn’t the first person to have braces and I looked online and found ways to make the process as manageable as possible. Just when we think we’re getting used to the changes in our lives, God gives reasons to stay close to Him. The good news is, He always supplies us with the right friends, sermon, song, prayer or passage in His word to get us through. He wants to see us trusting in His process, even when we grow weary and we don’t see the point anymore. He wants to see if we will run back to our old ways or welcome the new lives that He has for us.
We all have choices. We can try to stay the same and ignore the areas in our lives that God is calling for us to change. We can pray and seek guidance as we go through the process of evolving. We can run with fear when the growing pains get intense and our lives begin to look too unfamiliar or we can walk in faith that the plans that God has for us are worth the journey, because, well, they are. Our purpose in Him is worth it. Brace yourself. God is in control.