In the middle of class one day, a Kindergarten-er asked me, “Why do your teeth go in and out?” I had never heard it phrased that way before! Thinking quickly, I responded, “I never got them straightened.” That seemed to satisfy him, and he went back to work.
My entire life, my crooked teeth have been an embarrassment to me. It has always been something that my Mom has regretted – not being able to afford to get them fixed. As an adult, I have dreamed of the day when I could have it done and have a beautiful smile, yet just when it looked like the kids were through college, and I could save up for it, I lost my job.
These crooked teeth have been such a source of interest to children! One day, as we were moving into the parsonage at a new church, the little neighbor boy came to meet us and watch us unload the truck. As I took a break and stood on the front porch to chat with him, he asked, “Why are your teeth so crooked?” Those kinds of questions have been an embarrassment to many mothers when their children ask, but I realize that very few people today have crooked teeth – it is just a part of life to get them straightened when kids are young. I just answer the questions and try to make the children feel as comfortable as possible with my response.
As much as I hate how it looks when I open my mouth, it has never stopped my children from loving me, letting me kiss them, and they have not been ashamed to be around me because of my crooked teeth. My husband fell in love with me, married me and loves to hear sweet nothings come from my mouth. You will almost always find me laughing with my mouth wide open, or talking, without any regard for what anyone else has to see when I open my mouth!
When I think about my mouth, my biggest concern is that I am able to please God with what I do with it.
- I don’t want my mouth to be reckless and cause pain.
Matthew 12:33-37 (The Message)
33“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.
34-37“You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
· I want my mouth to be truthful
Proverbs 12:22 (The Message)
God can’t stomach liars; he loves the company of those who keep their word. Or in the NIV: The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
(Those who know me, know that honesty in all things is so important to me!)
- I want my mouth to utter positive things
Ephesians 4:29 (The Message)
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
- I want my mouth to worship God
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Or as The Message version states:
11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
There is still a lot of work to be done on my mouth. The part where I sit in a dentist’s chair may never happen, but the part where I continue to try to make everything that passes through these crooked ol’ teeth pleasing to my God will be an ongoing thing.
How does your mouth look?