Jenna wriggled and worked on her front tooth that was sticking out sideways for hours yesterday. In the middle of our Valentines day dinner with our small group and her friends cheering her on and giving her tips on how to pull out that stubborn front tooth, she finally, bravely, yanked it out. We all hooped and hollered for her and there it was staring back at us, the big gap, the smile of my baby now changed forever. It’s moments like these you know will come, so much more quickly than you imagine, and they don’t stop. Pieces of your childhood literally being pulled out and left behind.
She kept looking in the mirror saying, “I look so different” still smiling sweetly. I kept thinking back to the pictures of me at her age, a giant gap that was left, and then years of awkward stages that follow until you actually fit the giant teeth (or arms, or legs, or feet) that come in. I look back and and cringe at how funny I looked, remember how kids can poke fun at you when something changes. Growing up can be brutal. I want my sweet girl to be shielded from the rude comments, the pain that comes from the awkward of growing up, to never doubt she’s beautiful, even when she’s toothless. To me, the doting parent, she’s still as beautiful as ever.
I think about how in the process of growing up physically it can be painful, awkward, and filled with lies from others that you are not beautiful. But we all go through it, you don’t reach adulthood until you cross through the land of awkward adolescence.
I think about how that’s true spiritually as well. Some stages in our lives are just awkward, painful, doesn’t look very pretty, but in the end, when we have matured, looks so much more beautiful. Some things have to be yanked out to make room for bigger and better things. And we have a Father in Heaven who the whole time thinks that we’re wonderfully made and beautiful to gaze upon.
At the end of the day, I want to be able to look in the mirror too and say, “I look different……….better, more mature, beautiful” thanks to the grace of God changing me and growing me. (I just wish it didn’t have to be as painful as pulling teeth sometimes.)