I’m in braces…again…for the second time in my life. The last time was eighteen years ago when I was a teenager and having braces was considered sort of “cool” at that age.
There’s a reason you don’t see many adults parading around with braces on their teeth. Advanced technology has allowed individuals the option to replace a mouthful of wires, brackets, and a rainbow of colorful bands with Invisalign, which corrects your teeth using clear aligners that fit tightly and gradually shift your teeth into the right position and provide little to no evidence of visibility. Also I’m pretty confident someone out there considered the fact that most adults aren’t going to want to wear a mouthful of metal while verbally training their young children. Plus I’m not sure about all thirty-something year olds but I feel like once I hit thirty my body showed a few signs of aging and apparently my mouth must be drooping somewhat these days because I now have deep cuts on the inside of my lip…caused by…braces.
Originally when I scheduled the orthodontist appointment it was simply to have my retainer adjusted as my teeth showed proof it wasn’t serving its purpose. The doctor warmly greeted me, took a quick look, and much to my surprise asked how I’d feel about wearing braces. To make the idea more appealing he keenly added I wouldn’t need to wear them for long. Without speaking a word the look on my face surely gave him my answer, ‘I’m a homeschool mom and I’m poor, how am I going to afford braces…’ He must have sensed my feeling of despair because he ended up making an offer I couldn’t turn down and within minutes my top teeth were accessorized with what my children like to refer to as “train-tracks”.
Don’t get me wrong, braces or Invisalign, they’re both genius and a blessing to have, but I certainly don’t want to accompany them for too long.
What I’ve realized is that my teeth shifted even though I was wearing my retainer faithfully every night, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the requirements of holding my teeth in place. They needed more―more orthodontic care, more solid alignment, more attention.
I can’t help but think of my faith in a similar way. My faith is in need of MORE. If I’m just rattling off a prayer without heart-felt meaning behind it then I’m just speaking empty words. If I’m attending church but not listening attentively to the lesson given then I’m just hearing broken speech. If I’m not focused while reading God’s word, then I’m not absorbing His message.
I never imagined I’d be making a parallel between teeth and faith, however the more I write and study God’s word I see how different parts of the Bible can easily apply to certain parts of life. Reality and life lessons ALL have a Bible verse or sometimes many verses they can appropriately pair up with.
For example and to stay on topic, I may currently be bummed over braces on my teeth, but Philippians 3:20-21 records that our citizenship is in Heaven and when Jesus returns He will change our weak mortal bodies into glorious bodies. In other words physical and mental ailments will be removed and exist no longer when Christ returns to take His followers home. That means broken limbs are absent, sickness is conquered, and cancer is a forgotten thing of the past.
I want my hope to lie in the truth that Jesus will return one day― He will see that my faith was shown through a commitment in following Him with passion and He will raise my body up, transforming it to resemble perfection like His own perfect resurrected body.
In the meantime, my faith needs filled by a genuine prayer life, desired church attendance, a whole lot of scripture reading, producing of good deeds, and so much MORE Jesus.
So like my faith, my teeth are comparable in the assuredness that maintenance is absolutely necessary.
Yes, being a person of healthy faith takes work and effort, but the rewards once we get to Heaven are so much MORE abundant than the misery of spending an eternity in hell…where I’m almost certain braces could be permanently slapped on teeth just to increase the torture.