Saturday, January 12, 2013

smiling is my favorite

today i was singing and dancing in my room (as normal). i have been putting on these concerts since i was a little girl. the difference is that back then i had the dopest mic stand that had lights on it and a pedal to control what the lights did. best. present. ever. today i was singing and dancing because i love Jesus, He loves me and i'm getting back to that person in me that was never afraid to just say what i knew to be true about Jesus. i remember sharing at a banquet for a christian youth organization about the work i was doing with kids. i started dropping Jesus' name a lot, so much that the head of that organization said i should watch how much i say His name because people get turned off to it and we needed those donors to give money. little by little these kind of instances happened and instead of standing strong, i slowly compromised my mouth, said His name less and put on a shame that didn't belong to me. i've missed that girl. she was passionate. she was set apart. she was His and He was hers. the beauty is that it remains true that i belong to Him. living for Him is another story. speaking on Him is another story. and i'm here to tell mine and while i do, i tell His. one of the greatest things that i've allowed to hold me back in life is insecurity. no, people around me that should have been a better aid in this were not, but in the end, it is my choice on what i allow to lead and guide me. when i was about 8 years old, i went to the dentist. one of my baby teeth was not loose yet, but the permanent tooth began to grow in which meant the tooth was a whole row behind my other teeth. braces were not an option at the time because not all my teeth had grown in yet. i was a joyful spirit, smiling was my favorite and now i had this "snaggle tooth" as my older brother called it. i didn't want to smile anymore. i didn't want my flaw, my imperfection to be seen. i was embarrassed. what is crazy is people always told me how beautiful my smile was, but all i could see was the less than aspect. i learned how to just smile with my mouth closed. i would practice in the mirror how to smile just enough to show my teeth but cover up my shame. i would be photographed from only my left side, i learned my angles and i worked the camera so that i could hide. only half of me was seen, my full self was not accepted or exposed. almost two years ago i realized how deeply this had affected me. i was crying so hard one day about it and i knew i had to do something. it's a little embarrassing but on several occasions i prayed that God would just heal my teeth, that He would just set them straight. i believe with everything in me that this was possible. God had a different plan though. He did plan to straighten my teeth, but it was a PROCESS. lots of times we just want the miracle. we just want the fix without the work. i began the invisalign process and i was stoked. then the nurse told me that it was going to take two years. she looked at me and said, "you didn't know it was going to take that long?" clearly, i didn't. she smiled and said, "look at my teeth. they were the same as your and now look, they're straight. i promise that your teeth will be straight. the dr. wants your teeth to be perfect and he will make sure they are." i was all in. i wanted my teeth to be straight and time didn't matter and here was this woman showing me what the dr. had done for her. with regular braces you have to make sure you floss and clean your teeth after every meal, you go in and they tighten them for you, but they are on all the time. with invisalign you are an active participant. when it is in, i can only drink water. so in order to eat i have to take it out and remember to put it back on. part of my straightening is up to me. i have the tools and support to make it happen, but i have to choose everyday to put it on. i also had to change some things. i love eating, like all day. i'm a snacker. but it wasn't possible with invisalign because i would have to take the aligners out too much. i had to change the way i ate. i had to learn to plan ahead, to think about when i was going to eat and to remember to put them back on when i was done. what a life lesson! to be healed, to see change, to be different, we have to BE different! we can't ask for freedom and go on living the same. we can't ask for joy and continue to live in our sorrow. we cannot ask for change and remain the same. i look at pictures from when i first started the process and compare them to now. huge difference! it's noticeable. it's drastic! and yet it's still not done. i could choose to stop now, my smile is decent enough, i love smiling again. but i've got 4 months left to my goal. will i stop or do i want the WHOLE BLESSING? i want the whole thing. it's been hard at times. it hurts SO bad sometimes, but then i see the change and the pain is something i can rejoice about. and how much more can i rejoice as God is changing my heart, my mind, my spirit, my life, my brokenness, my family, my clients and their families? my last point and lesson i've learned is this. i chose invisalign because as the name suggests, it's invisible. i was just beginning as a therapist and my fear was that people would see this metal mouth and think i was too young to help them. at first no one could tell when i had it on. but then change started to happen, my mouth started to look different. i was also smiling a lot more and people started to see it. they knew i was wearing it. they wanted to know about this thing i had that was changing my smile. i could say i love Jesus, i could do good works, but if no one could see Him, it would mean nothing. as my life changes, as my choices change, people start to see the invisible and want to know what it is. what is this thing that is changing my life? it's Christ. it's His love. it's His call on me to live a life less ordinary. to be set apart. to be on display for His glory. to show the world that even our insecurities can be used to manifest His glory and power. and on this journey to a straight smile, i learned that the journey to His full abundance of life He promised me requires work, sacrifice, pain, trust and something, SOMEONE, outside of myself to do it fully and completely. without invisalign, i could not make my teeth straight. without Christ, i cannot live the promised life or do the work He has called me to do.

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