One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Cogs Turning

My kids are well accustomed to me stopping them doing whatever they're doing, to vaguely or completely relate it to something Biblical. They sometimes take it in, and sometimes roll their eyes at my sheer audacity to try and bring a teaching point into it. It is one of my parenting roles, to 'bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord'.

For example, if they're fighting over Lego or Minecraft, I remind them that both those activities are for building up, not tearing down. (Technically not true in Minecraft if TNT is being used, but still...) So, a good verse to tell them might be, 'So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. And a favourite which can be thrown in daily is, 'Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!'. Even if it's a little 'tongue in cheek', it draws them back to God's word, without me barking law at them. 

And the more I teach them, the more likely they are to bring truth to me, "Mum, doesn't it say in the Bible 'it's better not to nag', and to 'let your gentleness be evident to everyone'. I then of course, can choose to take it in by 'setting the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity', or I can indeed roll my eyes at the audacity of my kids bringing Biblical truth to me! (Oh how much easier it is to give, than to recieve).

So yesterday morning's little grabbed moment, involved my son showing me yet another Lego creation. He had made a Gumball machine earlier the summer, which he conveniently now requires 40p for, for Gumballs, every time he gets the opportunity to show somebody new! Clever. He's also been making Lego safes with cogs and levers to keep the safe locked. The Parable of the talents comes to mind, 'You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much'. (Paraphrased; you've learnt to fleece your mum/store your money away).

My son showed me the cogs he'd been working on; you move the lever at the back, and it turns the first cog, which in turn, turns the next cog etc. All the cogs are then working together. I genuinely thought it was very cool, and told him so. I then told him that it reminded me of a bit of scripture; 'There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ.' 
1 Corinthians 12v12-27

I love this piece of scripture, because it has so many layers to it, for family life, work life, for church life... there's the 'everyone playing their part' layer, there's 'everyone needing each other for the good of the whole', there's 'you can't think your part is more or less important than another part', there's the 'do what your part is made to do', there's 'letting others do what their part is', there's the 'honoring of the hidden parts, rather than just glorifying the more obvious parts'. (Someone once told me I was like the mouth, and she was the spleen. Both as important as each other, and both needed, just one was more 'out there' and one was quietly doing its thing. Haha spot on me thinks). 

We talked about what would happen if he removed one of the cogs; a portion of it would still work, but the whole thing wouldn't work as it should. We looked at the importance of that one cog. I reminded him that in this family and in church, he had a part to play, we all do, in order for the whole 'body' to not only work well, doing what it was created to do, but to glorify Christ. A good truth for all of us to hear.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Rules for Living

We went on holiday with another big family, making it 4 adults to 11 children. And as the week went on, more 'rules for living' had to be put in place. 
I'm not convinced that every family would...
a) be able to holiday with us or
b) need these same rules
But for us, these rules helped us to have fun, not die, honour God and protect the building we were holidaying in. Like a modern day book of Proverbs; instilling wisdom, that kind of thing!

Do not wear shoes in the house

Do not wear socks outside the house
Do volunteer to wash up
Do say yes, when a mum volunteers you for the washing up
Do not climb out of the windows
Do secretly bless people
Do not lick sticks
Do help people, especially those younger than you
Do not walk behind a horse
Do not go under the bridge
Do jump over the river
Do not poo in the woods
Do choose your empire wisely
Do close the gate after you
Do not light fires without permission
Do jump over fires
Do be hardcore; use flint & steel
(And matches and fire-starters, and loo roll)
Do give parenting advice
Do not have alone screen time
Do watch movies together
Do not set the fire alarm door off
Do know the difference between a dead mouse 
and an old poo
Do not touch an old poo
Or a dead mouse
Do be kind
Do cook generously for 15
Do not put your head in the oven
Do not eat all the Blackberries
Do put dark chocolate and Brie together
Do not lose your temper

Do say sorry when you do
Do know grace
Do show grace
Do talk it out

Do chose your animal noise carefully
Do not be the amoeba
Do show forgiveness quickly
Do lean in
Do not hold a grudge
Do gather firewood
Do not be lazy

Do be responsible for the kindling
Do teach as you go

Do not nag
Do find a different tone
Do rest
Do read the Bible

Do read novels
Do use a tea pot
Do throw pooh sticks
Do not throw poo
Do climb
Do not run out of tonic
Do get muddy

Do wear clean pants
Do not flood the kitchen
Do feed apples to horses and children

Do always have plasters available
Do take a thorn out of a mum's leg
Do carry Piriton and Calpol
Do not respond to every scream
Do not scream, unless necessary
Do not lose the dummy
Do encourage one another
Do play spoons
And Uno, And Catan, And Picky Picky
Do not experiment with sandwiches

Do not hog the whole path/bridge
Do not leave your shoes behind
Or a child
Do hide behind trees
Do whittle sticks
Do not wear slippers near a fire
Do laugh
Do shower
Do not bring dead or live rodents into the house

Do use sweets as Denarius
Do talk
Do listen

Do ask good questions
Do give space

Do not use unkind words
Do hoover up bean bag contents
Do not spray a fire with deodorant
Do play Grandma’s footsteps
Do play 40:40/44 Save All/Pom Pom 123
Do not Hose-line your friend
Do roll down hills

Do not drink instant coffee
Do challenge
Do not dare
Do trust each other
Do walk
Do not grumble
Do slow down

Do eat squirty cream straight out of the can
Do marinate meat

Do recycle
Do not stuff the bin that full
Do not run out of milk or bread
Do use biscuits as bribes
Do squirrel away instant noodles
Do slide down the stairs in a sleeping bag
Do not put little people at the bottom of sleeping bags
Do thank God often
Do pray for one another

"Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips." Proverbs 22v17-18

Sunday, 29 July 2018

One man's Rubbish is Another Man's Treasure

Last night I was looking for my son's iPod, because he would really appreciate it for a long journey this week. I decided to venture down the side of the sofa, and pulled out a whole heap of rubbish. I stuck it all in a Tupperware, and was going to throw the contents away, but I left it on the side to have a little sieve through this morning. 

I've just had a sticky sieve through. My hands needed quite a wash after, especially to get rid of the hair that was stuck to them. Heave. 

I found;
a fidget spinner,
5 hair clips,
Lego legs,
Lego hair,
more Lego,
a tiny brush,
a Downfall key,
a pen,
a Spiderman badge,
a tiny car,
a Ballet slipper,
2 Playmobile plates,
a tiny gun,
2 unidentified objects
and a Harmonica.

I was struck by a couple of things. Firstly, that I was continuing to look for the iPod, after my son had gone to bed. I was reminded of God's fathering of me; how He goes out looking for the one, even though He knows the 99 are safe. Someone reminded me this week that I
was the 1 that God goes looking for. I always thought I was in the 99 in that Bible illustration...I've been a Christian since I was 6, baptised at 12, I'm the wife of an elder, I help lead a church site...pretty sure I'm in the 99. But my friend pointed out to me that the story isn't about me, and where I am, what I'm doing. It's about the Father, it's about the Shepherd. And He is always out searching for me, calling my name, reminding me of His voice. And to be fair, I had even been feeling quite lost, so it was a great encouragement.

Secondly, I was amused at what was salvaged out of the box. To be honest, I reckon I could have chucked the contents and it wouldn't have mattered much at all. A certain husband of mine, would have done just so.The harmonica lost forever, surely could only be a good thing! You know what would happen if I'd indeed chucked it all? In about 3 weeks someone would no doubt be crying because a tiny pink hair brush was lost. Apart from that, I'm not really sure anything else would have been noticed.

As I sieved through the dirt and wrappers, and sticky hair, I thought about parenting. My mother in law told me that some of mothering is just being a bin; our kids can off load their rubbish, so they don't have to carry it around with them. Totally makes sense, but feels a bit naf, a bit grimy, and a bit rubbish to be honest. (Excuse the intentional pun). Who wants that job?! 

The amusing thing is that my littlest girl loves our three burly bin men. She waves at them frantically on a Monday morning, and last week they even gave her a brand new pair of Bin Lorry gloves. She was over the moon, and took them in to show at nursery. They literally take our rubbish away, week after week. They do it with precision. They do it because it needs to be done. And they do it with joy. They are three smiley, waving men, making my little girl feel important to them! What a lesson to learn from the bin men.

And somewhere in what can at times feel like the rubbish of parenting, there are indeed treasures to be found. The tiny gun and the tiny plates will make two different people happy they've been found. The Lego will just go back into the boxes, so no-one will even know they were lost and now found, but I will know. Sometimes I do question what God is doing with me...some of it comes to be known, understood, appreciated even, and some of it only He knows the purpose of. It's the same with parenting... some of my choices for them, may one day be recognised, maybe even appreciated. Hahahahah.... Maybe they will wake up one day and call me 'Blessed', like the Proverbs suggest. But a lot of it, they may not even see, they may not ever realise the 'why' of what I've been doing, but I know the value of the things I've put in them, the Biblical principles I've aimed for. I also get that they learn from my muck ups, and my rubbish that there is only one perfect parent; their Heavenly Father. That's reassuring! 

I'm so thankful to Him that He doesn't just chuck me away. He knows there's treasure, gems to go after. He knows the value of things. He knows He had to get His hands dirty in the process of saving me from my muck. He sent His son to die for me, to get rid of the rubbish, the muck and declare all the treasure He sees in me. Parenting is sometimes just hard, and it feels a bit rubbish. Sometimes its an unbelievable joy, and makes me laugh out loud, and feel incredibly blessed, even if they don't call me it. But this morning I'm reminded to just go after a tiny plate, a hair clip, a thing at a time, not everything in one go, and to celebrate what gets found along the way.

"I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full." Proverbs 8v17-21

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Little Girl

“Heavenly Father…”
Oh wait a minute, I’m being called. She calls me because she needs a wee. I ask her if she needs my help. She says no. I leave the bathroom. She asks me to stay. She asks me if I need a wee. I say I don’t. She says I could try. We could wee together. I do a wee. We sing the weewee song. I wonder if other people know our song. Mums must know it. She says her wee was yellow. She asks about mine. I say yellow too. We wash our hands. She wants to stay and wash her’s for longer.
I leave the bathroom.

“Heavenly Father...”
Oh wait a minute, I’m being called. She needs me to turn the tap off. She asks me where the water comes from. I explain pipes. She asks where the pipes go next. I say they’re underground. I realise there’s stuff I don’t really know, or ask. She heads off to her room.
I put the kettle on.

“Heavenly Father...”
Oh wait a minute, I’m being called. She can’t make the microphone work. I show her the wire and the switch. The one I showed her yesterday. She asks me to sit on the bed and listen to her song. I don’t really want to. I listen to her song. Not sure what the lyrics are. I don’t think she minds. She says it is my turn. I really don’t want to. The microphone is wet.
I sing a song into the microphone. She likes my song.

“Heavenly Father, thank you for today...”
Oh wait a minute, I’m being called. She says she needs a plaster. I ask her why. I know it doesn’t matter. This will only end in her getting a plaster. She says her knee is bleeding. It’s not. She fell over. It was four months ago. I go get a plaster. She calls down the stairs. You’re not getting my plaster. I don’t call back. Sometimes it’s easier that way. I give her a plaster. I’m sorry about her sore knee. She gives her head-tilt. She’s thankful for the care. I suggest she plays with ponies. She plays with Barbies. I go down seven steps. She calls me.
I breathe. Or was it a sigh? She wants to know the pony’s name. I suggest a name. It’s the wrong name. She suggests a different name. It’s the right name.

I gather the washing from room to room. But not her room. I don’t want to disturb her. I head downstairs. Wet washing transferred to the dryer. Dry washing into the machine. I put the kettle on. I clear away the cereal boxes. I clear away the breakfast bowls. Someone has left their lunch behind. I unload the dishwasher. I re-load the dishwasher.

“Heavenly Father, thank you for today...”
She asks me what I’m doing. I said I’m talking to God and I’m cleaning the kitchen. She says she is so hungry. I ask her if she wants an orange. She doesn’t. I ask her if she wants toast. She doesn’t. I ask her what she wants. She doesn’t know. She suggests crisps. I say no. She says she’s so hungry. I say it’s not lunchtime. I suggest an orange. She says toast. I say please. She says please. She offers to help me. I breathe. Or was it a sigh? When she helps, it takes longer. I say of course. She drags the chair across the floor. She’s done this before. I hand her the bread. She pops it in the hole. We press the lever down. I put the kettle on. We wait for it to pop. Up it pops.

I put it on her plate. I reach for the butter. She says her can do it myself. She moves the knife over the toast. But not the butter. It doesn’t spread. She says my can’t do it. I say we’ll do it together.

She says I don’t love you mummy. I know what she means. She wants my shocked face with a follow-up tickle. I do my shocked face and the follow-up tickle. She leaves the kitchen with her plate. I make a cup of tea. I wonder if re-boiling does change the taste. I sweep the kitchen floor. I dustpan and brush the kitchen floor. I pick out a hair bobble. A Lego man. A marble. I put them on the side. I empty the black bag into the outside bin. I put out the recycling. The recycling bin needs squashing down. I wonder which days it gets picked up. I see a missed call from the school. One of them has left his lunch. One of them has bumped his head. I say I’ll bring the lunch. I spray the sugary kitchen table. I wonder about the solidity of Weetabix. I grab the bleach. I bleach the loo. I put the loo rolls in the bin. There’s no black bag. They’ve all gone. I put a make-shift carrier bag in the bin. The kids will all miss the bag. I make a mental shopping list. We need toothpaste. I should write it down. I breath.
Or was it a sigh?

“Heavenly Father, thank you for today…”
Silence. She doesn’t call me. Where is she? Why is it so quiet? I should check on her. No she will be fine. But it is quiet. I have a look in the lounge. She’s found her dummy. She’s hiding behind the curtain. She’s found the iPad. She’s locked out of it for seven minutes. I say she needs to ask to use the iPad. I remind her about her toast. She doesn’t want toast. She wants crisps. I wonder when the dummy will go. I tell myself I’ll make the call soon. I laugh at myself. No I won’t. It brings me peace. I mean her. It brings her peace. I don’t know where all the other dummies are. I’ll add two to the list. I need wipes too. I should do an on-line shop. What else am I getting? Black bags. I ask if she wants her bin lorry. She does want her bin lorry. I get her bin lorry. I gather washing from her room. I should have added it to that wash. I’ll stick it in the washing basket. What is that smell? It’s coming from the washing basket. I’ll do another wash later.

“Heavenly Father, thank you for today…”
Silence. She doesn’t call me. I grab my tea. It’s cold. I put it in the microwave.

“Heavenly Father, I’m sorry. I don’t think I remember how to pray”.
“That’s okay, precious daughter. I never sigh when you call my name. I love when you call my name. Even if you only get round to just calling my name. I also know your real name, not the name you’re called by. By the way, I made wee yellow. I know all the names of the ponies, real and plastic. I know where the water comes from, every-day water and living water. I always want to hear you sing. I sing over you. I delight in you. I know where you’re hurting. I care.
I’m with you in the every-day. In the mundane. I’m with you, even when you think you’re capable of doing life without me. Even when you can do it all by yourself. I’m just waiting for you to ask me. You can even ask me for crisps. I’m patient with you. I can soften hardened elements which need purifying in you. I can clear up the mess. I can feed you. Even when you don’t love me. Even when you’re silent towards me. I’m still here. I know where you’re hiding. Sometimes you lock me out. I know the code. I can wait. I know what you need. I am your peace.

One last thing, I made tea!”

Photo Credit: Her

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

5 A Day

I was reminded recently about my 'Fruits of the Spirit' Instagram stories, from a while back. Last week, a different friend asked me how my 'word for the year' was going.  And this morning two of my boys fed back to me about the 'Fruits of the Spirit' which they learnt about in their different Youth groups. My word for the year is 'intentionaI', and I don't think I've been very intentional lately, so I appreciated the nudge to be so. And as a result, I've remembered this blog post which I was meant to be intentionally writing! 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5v22-23) 

The fruit of the Spirit, is a bit of an odd thing to say isn't it?! It is basically the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian. The Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit produces types of fruit in us, that reflect His nature. If we're spending time with, and allowing God to shape us to be more like His son Jesus, then we will show these fruits in our lives.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes remember things better, or find it easier to teach something if I have a visual representing it. Even better if I have a taste to go along with it. So I got out some pens and paper with the kids, and a load of fruit. We listened to the Fruit song, and then I asked my children which Fruits of the Spirit they felt they showed a fair amount of, and which ones were lacking. We shared fruit, or drawings and some vulnerability with each other.

One of the younger ones said they were good at drawing, (missing the point a little) it was encouraging to see her brother point out to her, that actually she was really good at showing the fruit of love, because she showed love to their younger sister when she didn't deserve it. It even prompted him to say that he wasn't very good at that one, because he struggles to show love to younger siblings when 'it's not fair'. It was wonderful to hear that self reflection, which is hard for adults, let alone a child sometimes.

I took the plunge, and asked them which fruits they thought I was showing in my life, and which I could ask God for more of. They said I was very good at patience, which I struggled to not be shocked at, but I could do better at peace; an interesting one I thought, so I asked in what way. They said that when I raise my voice or shout, it takes the peace away. It was challenging but I think really helpful for me to hear how things affect them. It's helpful too for them to see that I'm also in the category of 'sinner saved by grace', someone who has also 'fallen short of God's perfect ways'. Yes I'm mum, so I have more wisdom and experience than them. I assume I know more Biblical truth than them, but when it comes to sin, I'm in the same camp as them. And when it comes to 'Fruits of the Spirit', again we're in the same camp. We can expect the same things in our lives, the more Jesus-like we become. 

I went forward for prayer at church Sunday just gone, and the lady prayed for a Spirit of Repentance to be upon me; meaning I'd be quick to see and know when I've fallen short, when I've got it wrong, when I've lived for me not Jesus, and I'd be quick to say sorry, accept forgiveness, and therefore get ready to go again. 
I thought that was scary, as I'd most likely be more aware of how often I live by the flesh, want I want, instead of the Holy Spirit, what He wants (and knows is best for me) but I also thought that would be really helpful, to not get tied down to the sin but set free from it. Because in Jesus, I am free, accepted, forgiven, loved, cherished, delighted in, redeemed and more if I  have repented, said sorry, for when I do fall short which is often. 

The Fruit of the Spirit is a helpful check to see if I need to repent. Let's look at the first of the nine fruits... Have I been loving? Could I have been more loving? Did I with-hold love? Well, what is love? "Love is Patient, Love is Kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs". (1 Corinthians 13v4-7) Mmm... so yeah that's really easily attained, isn't it?! No!! Ah this is why we need God's help. This is why we can't rely on trying harder, doing better (although actually it is good to aspire to be like Jesus, and therefore put the effort in). We need to intentionally ask for God's help, we need to ask for the Holy Spirit to help us and our kids, be more like Jesus. 

Although the activity I did with the kids was a great starting point, there's just so many layers in addition to it, and that's why we need to keep modelling it to our kids, teaching them, understanding it for ourselves, asking about the bits we don't know, showing them scripture, sharing with them when it links to something previous, encouraging them to listen to the Biblical truths in their kids' work at church, and so on. That could feel daunting or a great challenge, depending on the day, your mood, your character, your kids etc, but for me it helps me on one hand step up and be more intentional, and on the other hand to rely more on God, because I simply can't do it without Him, and neither can they. If we can aim to eat 5 fruits a day, for our health then surely we can aim for these 9 fruits for spiritual health too.

Monday, 14 May 2018

What's For Dinner?

As we continue through the Jesus Story Book Bible, we find ourselves at a slightly tricky chapter, a hard one to explain to little children; Abraham sacrificing his son. We must be wise in how we tell Bible stories, but we must tell them. I've spent far too long as an adult falling back to the New Testament, the gospels where Jesus is in all His splendour, rather than searching for Him in the Old Testament as well. I want to teach my kids to find Him everywhere. A friend of mine says that it can be like playing 'Where's Wally?' You have to really search for him. But when you do, when something is made clear about Him, the penny really drops and your eyes are open to seeing Him more and more. 

So tonight we told the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and we discussed what the story meant to us. My son had a realisation as I read the words, "Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on His back. Like Isaac, He would trust His father and do what His father asked. He wouldn't struggle or run away". (pg69 JSBB
My wide-eyed son simply said, "it's the exact same story". He had found Jesus in the story.

After reading, we went into the kitchen where I had acted out the scene on the dinner table, using tonight's dinner. My kids had asked the infamous question earlier, "What's for dinner?" And I had simply replied sausages. (I know they ask me this to gauge whether they're going to like it or loathe it). 

Sometimes my kids barely bat an eyelid anymore, but they were amused and grabbed a plate. One of them suggested that I should have put ketchup all over the Ram roll of bread, to show where it had been killed. But I reminded them that they have little sisters, and that may not have been appetising. (Obviously I could have gone for a lamb joint, but that's an expensive dinner to spread all over the table!!) 

I asked how the story had spoken to them. One of my boys said that it was hard to sacrifice what you want for someone else, one said that he was coming to realise that we, his parents, want what is best for him, even when he can't see it. (I just nodded along, gently, humbly rather than fist pumping the air and shouting rather smugly, "finally!!")

My example was that I had recently felt the cost, the sacrifice of leaving one church site for another, and how I had to trust that it was God's best for me, for my family, and for both those church sites. One boy said that sometimes giving away what you want, actually means you get something better instead, and sometimes it doesn't. My little girl tearfully added that she had to trust God with her best friend moving to another country, even though it was sad and she didn't understand. I was just shocked that she had grasped an element of what I was teaching, on a really personal level. And the three year old was cross with me that I had stuck her Playmobile people in the savoury rice!

It was good to remember at the end of chatting and sharing, what God had sacrificed for each of us; His only son that He loved dearly, because of His vast never-ending love for us. Someone said to me yesterday that they wondered when Jesus' death on the cross had hit home, was it when He hung there and died? Was it when He carried the cross up the hill? Or was it when Him and His Father made that hill in the first place?! 
What an eye opening moment that was!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

He Made Me Do It

As a family we have started reading The Jesus StoryBook Bible, again, and as I explained in my last post 'You are what you eat', we're attempting to link the stories with dinner, or pudding, or a snack, to help the teaching sink in more visually and more tastily! The world on a pizza took a while, with a comment from my oldest of "Maybe a little too much Pesto". He may have had a point, but it was for artistic purposes. He was on the phone to his friend, before he arrived at our house for a sleepover and he said to his buddy, "you may wanna eat before you get here". Rude!

"The Terrible Lie" (pg 28-37) was a great discussion for us. The older ones have to think of a way the story relates to them personally, or how it talks to them practically where they're at in life. The younger ones talk about what they liked, or ask questions. The three year old just asks for the apple, makes snake noises if engaged at all, or just grumpily says, "that's my Barbie", snatching her back and pulling off the Parsley modesty leaves, thus exposing Eve, and causing giggles throughout the family. Anyway, we plough on. They tasted the organic carrot cake nakd bar; two in favour, four not so much. 

One of the topics which comes up is of course disobedience. We talk about how Adam and Eve were not allowed just one thing, whereas it was a yes to everything else, and the disobedience was actually A&E not trusting God. 
They gave in to the temptation that they knew better than God, they gave in to the lie that God's best for them wasn't actually the best for them. It's such a great parenting topic, not to become all law-based, and use it as mum ammunition, but to teach our kids that we have their best interest at heart. Of course, with the humble admittance that we may well get it wrong, and the wonderful truth that God doesn't. His best for us is His best for us. No mistakes.

Our kids know that if we can trust them, their world gets bigger (boundaries stretched, independence upped) and if they break that trust, their world gets smaller. There's plenty of stuff I didn't understand as a kid about my parents wanting the best for me, because it didn't look like that at the time, but some teaching only comes into fruition when you're an adult; that's a long time for a mum to wait for fruit!

Another topic which came up was of course nakedness. Standard. The boys actually tried not to burst into hysterics, when it was mentioned; just sly looks at each other and a smirk. (As a side note, our kids aren't allowed to tell each other about sex, until the husband has individually taken them on a little camping trip, explained everything, and only then the older ones can talk to the younger ones about it. It's like a coming of age. It involves a library book, a campfire, and being able to laugh at a Sperm Whales. I'll get him to write a guest post on it! All the boys have had this chat so smirks are allowed...

We talked about the nakedness in Adam and Eve's story, and how it represented shame. We just thought for a moment how shame felt, and we understood why A&E wanted to cover up and hide. It was a great chat, with one boy really sharing about temptation in an area of his life, and another boy seeing how vulnerable his brother had been in sharing it. It's important that the Bible has application for us as adults, and for kids to grasp too. There's reasons for the Bible stories. They're not Fairy Tales or just moral teaching. And that's what The Jesus Story Book does so well; pointing everything to Jesus.

We all laughed at Adam's, "She made me do it". I sometimes say to a child, "I'm really sorry for shouting, you just made me snap". That's not an apology, and neither is it a taking of responsibility for my own actions. It may well be true! But one of the fruits of the spirit is 'self-control' no matter which kid pushes my buttons! (This is a life long lesson for me I'm sure). And the kids had to admit, that they all do throw the "he made me do it" excuse out into the justification speech. It may not be as clearly said as that, more like, 
"well we were both.... and then I....."

It was good to remind them that God has an enemy, and therefore they do also, and we shouldn't be fearful of the serpent, but we should remember that he is always whispering, "does God really love you? Do your parents really love you? Does God really want what's best for you"? Because if they learn to recognise their enemy's voice, with God's help they'll learn to ignore it, dismiss it, refuse it. Instead they can tune into God's voice telling them they are; 
chosen John 15v16,
loved Ps 86v15 
created Ps 139v13-14
 forgiven Ps 103v10-12
 loved some more Romans 8v37-39
righteous Romans 5v1
 protected Psalm 46v1
  blessed Ephesians 1v3
 and loved even more John 3v16 

Adam and Eve's garden story ends with God's compassion, God's love for them, even in the midst of their discipline, even in the midst of their sin, and their shame. Our story begins in sin and shame, but God's compassion, God's love for us had a great rescue plan attached to it; Jesus. A terrible lie outweighed by a tremendous truth.