Tiny Teeth and Living Life

teeth 2

The loss of my son’s first two teeth has helped me reshape my perspective on moving into new phases of life.

I dubbed the first tooth, “Toothy McGillicuddy”, “McGillicuddy” for short. When he first discovered his loose teeth, he was nervous. The teeth wiggled, and his mouth was sore, which made him believe this would be painful.  His adult teeth were growing behind the loose baby ones, attempting to push them out.  He was really happy about his adult teeth making their debut. I told him that once his first two teeth fell out, he was an official “big kid”.

Weeks went by until the tooth finally fell out.  Squealing with delight, he sped up the steps. I followed and found him in the bathroom mirror gazing at the gaping hole in his gums. I asked him, “Is it everything you hoped it would be?” He smiled proudly and said it was. Toothy McGillicuddy was free.

The second one, “Toothy McTooth” fell out after a week or so.  He ran to me excitedly exclaiming that his tooth had fallen out. As he ran, I heard the quiet, tap-tap-tap sound of something falling down the stairs. It was McTooth…he dropped it. Bless his little heart.

Soon after, during the Pastor’s announcements at church, my son started yelling across the sanctuary to his friend. “Hey! My second tooth fell out!” He pulled his entire bottom lip down to display the second hole in his gums right there in the middle of church. My son had absolutely no chill but his excitement was infectious. In his mind, he was finally an official “big kid”.

I cannot remember the last time I was as excited about moving from one stage of life to the next, nor can I recall the last time I proudly displayed a gaping hole left behind when God removed something from my heart.  I do not think I ever reveled in my discomfort knowing God was creating in me a clean heart, and renewing a right spirit in me.

That gum pain my son experienced reminded me of difficult seasons when God attempted to work something out in my heart, which needed to change in order for me to mature. As God moved me into a new season of life, the immature part was being pushed out and cast aside, just like McTooth’s tumble down the stairs.

Even with my son’s nervousness about losing teeth, he took it like champ. I, on the other hand, need to be ushered into a new season only after I have done most people’s share of questioning, kicking and screaming. This is usually after I spent time praying for change because I was so tired of being sick and tired. How ironic. Only when I realize what God is doing, am I able to look back at those hard times and see that the new phase of life is, indeed, everything I hoped for.

Watching my son embrace his new official “big kid” status  and the discomfort leading up to it has encouraged me to see the beauty in God removing the old to make way for the new.  Amid the soreness, discomfort, and eventual loss, I realize that God has my best interest at heart throughout His refining process. Just like we need teeth to eat, we need maturity to face the hard situations life sends us.

I will probably need to remind myself of this the next time I find myself kicking and screaming while God is trying to help me grow in some area of my life.

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