I got my braces off today. It's been a nearly three year adventure, from initially making the decision to get a consult to getting the first appliance put in to getting the top braces on exactly two years ago to getting the bottom braces on the following December to... today. Through just a few popped brackets and a gazillion teeny tiny elastics and some unwelcome canker sores to this day.
I was so excited. I pretty near cried every time I thought of it.
But the day was somewhat anticlimactic. My braces were off in just a few minutes. They took the molds for my retainer. I got my teeth cleaned. I looked in the mirror and smiled, but I wasn't shocked.
I've been smiling for months now. When we had our family photos taken for Christmas cards after I had my braces put on, I broke into tears when I saw them. I was smiling. Really smiling. With my teeth showing. I wasn't trying to smile and hide my teeth; they were right there. Already straightening out. I had never ever seen myself look that way.
I got more and more comfortable just smiling. Not curling my lips together, not so concerned about posing for photos. Just relaxing and smiling.
So the only thing different about seeing my smile in the mirror today was that the metal was gone.
It was still me. I hadn't changed.
You were beautiful back when I made you, I felt the Lord whisper to my heart. I've always loved you the way you are. You were just as beautiful then as you are today.
I stared in the mirror. Ran my tongue over my teeth. I'd never done that and felt it so smooth.
A friend of mine, who also had braces as an adult, said that most people didn't notice when she got them off.
I know why.
They loved her the way she was. They didn't look at her and see an adult with braces, they saw the beautiful person she was, both on the inside and the outside.
The people who loved me yesterday won't love me any more today, just because I got my braces off. Sure, they'll be happy for me, but they liked me just the way I was.
My husband loved me before I got the braces. He loves so much more about me than my smile, my body, the way I dress. He loves the deepest part of me. He's patient with my weaknesses and he celebrates my strengths.
The other night I confessed to him that even though I've been exercising and lost some weight and I'm toning up, sometimes I still just feel "fat". I'm constantly presented with images of what beauty is and start feeling inferior sometimes. I can confide in him because his love and acceptance of me is so deep and I know that he loves me exactly the way I am.
|Seriously, who loves their dentist? Me, that's who! They are the best!|
This is the greatest kind of love. I've had the wonderful opportunity of going through the process of getting braces as a thirty-something. As a wife of more than a decade and a mom of three. As a friend of God. I've experienced that Jesus is the lover of my soul. He is the lover of every single part of me. He rejoices over me with singing. I remember when I first heard those words from Zephaniah. They literally stopped me in my tracks.
How can it be? I'm so messed up. I'm so flawed, physically, spiritually. The idea of Jesus rejoicing over me, singing over me, it's almost embarrassing!
This is all I can compare it to: One of my favorite movies is The Family Man with Nicolas Cage. He plays a man who gets to go back and see what his life would have been like if he had chosen the path of family instead of career. The house is a mess. No more designer suits. He drives a mini-van. But he truly, deeply loves his wife and is willing to make a fool of himself over her. He finds a video of her birthday party and he's singing to her, in front of all their friends and children. She's a little embarrassed. But she is captivated by him. His eyes are fixed on her as he belts out a love song. Their love is something special and as everyone else stands around watching, they are captivated by it too.
You were beautiful back when I made you. I've always loved you the way you are. You were just as beautiful then as you are today.
This was the love song He sang to me yesterday as I looked in the mirror at my smile.
It can't get any better than that kind of love.
I think of the young girls who are getting braces and are so worried about what people will think of them. Or maybe it's not braces. It's probably their weight or maybe a scar or a birthmark or maybe just their second-hand or Walmart clothes they are so worried about. I want to tell them that the people who really love you will still love you! And that the other people are not worth your time or energy or one single care. I want to tell them that Jesus is rejoicing over them with SINGING!
He's singing you a song, girls! He couldn't love you more. You couldn't be more beautiful to him.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with God's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love which surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine... to him be glory...!