Brace Yourself

My youngest brothers just got braces.  That makes us five for five in orthodontia, although not all of us have had the same problems or the same fixes.  For instance, 3G and Sister only had brackets on the upper teeth, while I had them on both upper and lower, as do the twins.  I had to wear a bite plate to help with my atrocious overbite.  We all had headgear for some portion of our time in braces, although TJ had a different style than the rest of us.  You might think that because they’re identical twins (yes, Mom and Dad had them tested) their teeth would be identical, but no.  Their teeth are different, just like their tastes, pursuits, and personalities are different.

Yesterday, after getting their brackets on, they hung up their brushing guide on the mirror.  Talk about bringing back memories!  I wore braces for only two years, but we used almost the same guide (if not the exact same one), and my other siblings got braces while (3G) and just after (Sister) I had them.  I remember how hard it could be not to be able to eat Mom’s good cooking because my teeth hurt too much from wearing a powerchain (for those of you not initiated, they call it a powerchain when they leave all the little colored circles connected when they put them on the brackets).  I remember the getting tired of brushing my teeth after every last meal and snack.

I also remember the joy when I got my braces off, just before my fourteenth birthday.  The smiles were not only better looking, they were more frequent!  At least, more frequent than they had been while the braces were on.

All this reminiscing makes me wonder whether sometimes God gives us spiritual braces.  Something to guide our learning for a time.  Maybe it’s a person, maybe a book, maybe a job, but it gives us a structure and helps straighten out our growth.  If we allow braces to do their work, wear our headgear like we’re supposed to, and keep our teeth clean, we can get the braces off sooner than if we fight the orthodontist, wear the headgear for the minimum, and forget to brush.  With spiritual braces, God may move us on sooner if we let Him teach us than if we fight against the braces and complain.

Braces aren’t fun, but they do produce great looking teeth.  I’ve gotten compliments on my nice looking teeth from several professionals in the dental realm (part of that is just good brushing habits, which I established when I was small).  My good looking teeth would have come without the pain of those two years of braces.

Perhaps you are “wearing spiritual braces” right now.  It may not feel very good, but we know that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  He’s preparing you for the beautiful smile that comes after braces.  You’ll be better fit for the rest of your life because He gave you this trial or teaching period.

Because I wore braces, my teeth are now straight, my overbite is gone, and I can expect to have good teeth for a long time to come.  Spiritual braces will different in type and results, but whatever lessons you learn are ones you can carry with you for the rest of your life and use to bless others.

Like I use my smile.


Explore posts in the same categories: Growing Up, My Family, Siblings, Theological Musings

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2 Comments on “Brace Yourself”

  1. smiley Says:

    I like your comparison, and I absolutely agree! I had braces too – train-tracks top and bottom.

    By the way, I hope you enjoyed the Bible conference at the weekend. 🙂

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