Comfort and the Brown Tooth

When she was about three years old, our daughter Chloe took a spill in a Pizza Hut parking lot and ended up hitting her mouth, specifically one front tooth.  As a result, the baby tooth turned an unpleasing shade of brown.  While most of the time she was not self-conscious about it, there was one time that I found her on her bed, crying.  “Josh  (a friend of her older brothers) called me Brown Tooth,” she sobbed.

I held her, gave her tissues, and said I would talk to Josh about his comment.  Before I left, I reminded her that her brown tooth was a baby tooth, and that anytime it could fall out and be replaced by a new, white, permanent tooth.  Despite the hurt, there was hope.

You see, when I was three years old, I also injured one of my front teeth.  I had endured the “why is your tooth brown” questions, and I had been called “Brown Tooth.”  So when I reminded Chloe that the brown tooth’s time in her mouth was limited, I knew what I was talking about.

In the same way, Christ comforts us and gives us hope when we are going through difficult times.  When he took on our humanity, he also took on our pain, both great and small.  Hebrews 2:14,18 says:

“Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death…That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life.  Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself–all the pain, all the testing–and would be able to help where help was needed” (The Message).

When we are suffering, whether it’s a life-threatening disease, the loss of a loved one, or hurt feelings over a nasty comment, Jesus Christ suffers with us.  After all, “We live and move in him, can’t get away from him” (Acts 17:28, The Message).  He understands our every emotion.  When we grieve, he grieves.  But there is a difference.

When we grieve, we cannot see how we will ever be able to get past this situation.  When Jesus grieves with us, he grieves with hope, because he knows that his Father’s will is to make sure “that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:28, The Message).  He feels our pain, just like I felt Chloe’s pain about being called “Brown Tooth,” but he grieves knowing that everything will work out.  Sometimes he even sends someone to comfort us, someone who has been in a similar situation and made it through, like I did for Chloe.  Sometimes he just gives us peace in the midst of not knowing how this situation will be resolved.

                I’m hoping that the clumsiness and the resulting Brown Tooth isn’t a family tradition, passed on forever to future generations.  But I’m sure that if Chloe ever has a daughter who falls, injures her tooth, and then suffers the embarrassment of a brown tooth, she will know what to say to comfort and encourage her.  Our Elder Brother Jesus Christ will provide the comfort and the hope through her.

 ~by Nan Kuhlman

photo courtesy of

4 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    Nan, I find it very sweet that you truly understand your little girl’s pain. Some might think it silly. Tell their daughter to get over it — that it isn’t a big deal. But it is to her. When we can offer our kids understanding when they feel rejected by others, even when in our adult minds we know it isn’t a big deal, we are being just like Jesus. Jesus knows “everything will come out in the wash,” but He gives us compassion anyway. He never belittles us. He gives us peace and helps us see it in a better way. My 10 year old daughter has one leg an inch shorter than her other leg. Sometimes this is very embarrassing to her. Other times she is confident in the funny way she walks (no one can walk like me, she says). In those times she is embarrassed I remind her how beautiful she is. Thanks Nan.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      Thanks for your encouraging words. It’s easy to feel alone in our hurts, whether it’s a brown tooth or a shorter leg. I’m glad for this opportunity to remind everyone (myself included!) that we are never alone, especially in our suffering.


  2. Jeannine on

    This was such a sweet post and, as the mother of a little girl, it touches my heart particularly.

    I have to tell you too that ever since your post on Pink’s song, “Perfect,” it is probably my favourite song to hear on the radio. I get tears in my eyes every time I hear it! It always seems to come on at just the right time too. 🙂

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      I’m glad the post resonated with you. As for Pink’s song, Perfect, I feel the same way. God can speak to us through a myriad of ways, if we just pay attention.

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