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.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Gospel And The Dragon

Today my son brought home a dragon named Dan. Dan arrived in a box full of straw, in the arms of a grinning child. Dan the dragon likes to eat chocolate and be stroked on his tummy. Apparently we are looking after him for the night, and then he needs to be safely returned to school for the next willing parents to take him home. My son carried the box carefully home and has fed Dan the dragon chocolate, raisins and Cheerios. Dan has watched Mary Poppins with us, played games and has had a wonderful time. *

My son has to read Dan the dragon a bedtime story and then he has to write in Dan's dragon diary. This is the actual reason for his visit. How clever and imaginative of the teacher to use such a simple thing to get a slightly reluctant five year old to read a whole book and fill a page of writing. If my son's teacher can use her imagination to add to his reading and writing skills, how much more should I be using simple every day occurrences to teach my boys the gospel. William Farley, in his book 'Gospel Powered Parenting' suggests that we need to go after our children's hearts, not their environment and that we change their heart by teaching them the gospel. He says that us parents need a clear grasp of the cross and it's implications for daily life.

I discussed this today with some mums that I pray with. We looked at teaching the gospel in every day moments so the children can grasp what Jesus has done for them, and relate it to their world. We looked at a few examples;

 - while watching Tarzan where the daddy gorilla jumps in front of Tarzan and takes the bullet instead of his son, I took a minute to have a simple chat about who did that for us. I spoke to the boys about how Jesus rescued us, He took our place. He took the punishment for us.  He died on a cross instead of us.
 - a child not inviting a friend to church because they are a bit naughty at school, and mum being able to give a sentence to explain that that child needs God in their life.
- a child feeling guilty that they sinned, even after the discipline and restoration had occurred, and pouring soil from a plant around the sink to show the sin, but turning the tap on  and washing it wash away, to show the forgiveness.
- a child complaining that getting the smaller piece of cake 'isn't fair' , and reminding them of how selfless Jesus is and attempting to explain that grace 'isn't fair' but it's not fair in our favour. We don't get what we deserve. Sometimes just one line will do it, other times a more detailed chat about it.

I want my boys to grasp the gospel. I want them to know that they deserve punishment for their sin, that they deserve to be separated from God, but that Jesus took that punishment and separation so that they didn't have to. I want them to get this wonderful act of selfless love. So I need to be willing, and creative and take the time to explain this again and again to them.

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
      who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;
      reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."
                                                                              2 Timothy 4v1-2

* (On a side note, the husband took my son's 'Dan the dragon project' a little further as he alarmingly called us out to the garden because young Dan had set fire to a cardboard box. There it was in the front garden, a cardboard box with a burning corner and only Dan to blame. I'm not sure if the already wild imagination of the five year old knows it was his dad or not!)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Mary, Martha and Me (Final Part)

....continued from Part Three

My last encounter with my new friend Martha finds her coming to terms with the death of her brother. When she hears that Jesus is on His way, she goes out to meet Him. Martha talks to Jesus. She either is questioning or stating that if He had been with them, then Lazarus wouldn't have died. She also states that she knows that Jesus could ask for anything and it would be given to Him.

I love that Martha goes to Jesus. I love that she doesn't wallow in any self pity, thinking that she got it wrong last time Jesus was around, so maybe she shouldn't go to Him again. Whereas I know that when I have sinned, when I've made a wrong choice, I can sometimes live in the guilt of my sin, and feel condemned and therefore miss out on just coming to Him again, approaching the throne in repentance and receiving His grace and forgiveness. Martha doesn't hide in the guilt of her last meeting with Jesus. That was then, and this is now. She goes straight to Him in her mourning and she talks to Him. I need this encouragement to keep going to Him, and not allow my emotions to control me.

Martha when she talks to Jesus, she pours her heart out to Him. Last year I was suffering with a terrible back pain, and my small group leader told me that it was okay to tell Jesus how I really felt, and cry out to Him like in the Psalms. I'm reminded of this as I read about Martha. She had such a close relationship with Him that she could approach Him in her frustration and grief and be real with Him. Her heart may not have even been right if she was questioning His actions, but she follows it up acknowledging Jesus authority in any situation, that He can ask His father for anything and it will be given. And she shows her faith as she presses in to Him. Again Martha encourages me to press in to my Heavenly father, in faith, and acknowledging His authority.

So my journey with Martha has come to an end, and I'm sure she will come to mind when I think I am too busy to pray and sit at Jesus' feet. I'm sure she will come to mind when I find myself moaning when I'm next cleaning the kitchen floor or serving my family or church in some way. When I hear her being used as an example of how not to be, I will smile and secretly be rooting for her. And know that she was much loved by Jesus and was in a close relationship with Him where she could pour out her heart to Him, even when she got things wrong or didn't understand.

"With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
      with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before him;
      I tell my trouble before him.
 When my spirit faints within me,
      you know my way!"
                         Psalm 142v1-3

Friday, 25 March 2011

Mary, Martha and Me (Part Three)

...continued from Part Two

So sticking with my new found sisters Mary and Martha... I know that I am to enjoy more 'Mary moments' sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to His voice, and wrapped up in His presence. I also know that Martha was loved by Jesus just like Mary was loved by Jesus, just like I am loved by Jesus. But I want to look once again at my dear friend Martha.

Martha welcomed Jesus into her home.The passage in Luke 10 says that Jesus entered the village and Martha welcomed Him in. She was hospitable. She opened her home up to Him. She wasn't too busy to have people round. I want to be that kind of woman. Matthew 25 talks about giving food to the hungry, a drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, visiting those in prison, looking after the sick and inviting the stranger in to your home. I want to learn from Martha's example in doing this.

Martha was servant hearted. She wanted to prepare for and serve those around her and surely this is an admirable characteristic. It is good for me to serve the husband and my boys, friends and family, those in church and those outside of church. But where did it all go wrong for Martha? What can i learn from her mistakes? Martha's attitude is what went wrong. She was moaning about serving. She was complaining  about what she had to do and anxious about getting it right. She felt sorry for herself and wanted her works to be noticed. She was seeking attention for her servant heart and pointing out Mary's lack of serving.

Martha sounds familiar to me once again. How often do I serve the husband and want him to notice? How often do I serve my family or my church and moan about it? Do I complain about the jobs I have to do, and point out when others aren't doing them? Do I expect some attention when I have served in some way? And feel sorry for myself when no one notices? Do I even feel sorry for myself when I am too busy to have a 'Mary moment' and life is full of 'Martha moments'?

My example to follow, of course doesn't come from Martha or Mary. But from Jesus Himself, who loves me even when I serve with the wrong attitude, who loves me even when I complain, who loves me even when I seek attention from people, who loves me even when I remind Him of His beloved Martha. And most of all, He is the one who did the ultimate act of service, by obeying his Father's will and dying the death I should have died. Once again I am thankful for God's grace.

     "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
             but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
                             Matthew 20v28

    "Create in me a pure heart, O God,
             and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
                             Psalm 51v10 

Click here for Final Part                                           

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Mary, Martha and Me (Part Two)

...Continued from Part One

So yesterday I shared about my 'Mary moment' in amoungst my many 'Martha moments'. And today, I read the account in Luke's gospel again, and thought about the two sisters. I kind of feel a bit sorry for Martha. She is remembered throughout history as 'the one who was too busy to sit at Jesus' feet'. She is used in illustrations about priorities, and quiet times and some people have even blogged about the poor woman!

I feel sorry for her, because I can relate to her. I know what it's like to be "distracted with all the preperations that have to be made". I know what it's like to be distracted by serving, to be the one serving the family, the one making sure everything is thought of, making sure everything is in the nappy bag for any eventuality, the one making a pudding for small group, the one serving the church in some way, and at times the one missing out on the preach because I get called out to change a nappy.

As a mother, there is a tendancy for me to see myself as just a 'Martha'. I do feel drawn to be like Mary and have 'Mary moments', sitting at the feet of jesus, resting in His presence. But I have often resigned myself to the fact that I am a Martha, at least for this season of life. ('The messy years' as Phillippa Stroud once put it.) But how wonderfully encouraged I felt as I read Alie Stibbe's book "Barefoot in the kitchen". She pointed me to John 11v5 "Now Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazurus", and commented that 'Martha is as dear to Jesus as her sister is'. Martha isn't a lesser version of Mary. Martha, the one who was too busy was loved by Jesus, no more than Mary and no less than Mary. Mary's time spent at Jesus' feet hadn't earned her more favour from Jesus and Martha's busyness hadn't discounted her from Jesus' love either. So if Jesus loved Mary just as she was and He loved Martha just as she was, then I rest in the knowledge that He must love me just as I am too.

 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."      Romans 8v37-39

Click here for Part Three

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mary, Martha and Me (Part One)

Yesterday was busy with the usual moments which make my days seem busy; dishwasher empty, dishwasher full, washing in machine, washing on the line, juice spilt, juice moped up, dinner cooked, dinner cleared away, clothes in piles, clothes in drawers, nappies on baby, nappies expelled to an outside bin!! There were a few added moments too; waiting at the doctors, waiting at the chemist, sorting out the football kit and driving one to football.

In a quiet moment, when the baby was asleep and the three year old was doing some 'I feel poorly DVD watching'. I grabbed my bible, my journal, a pen, a book on God's character, a book on godly parenting and a short booklet on grace and I sat down to read... The three year old decided that the nice comfy bed I had made up for him on the sofa, wasn't what he needed and he climbed onto my lap. I laughed to myself as I sat surrounded by my books. I had about a twenty minute window. What was I thinking? How much was I really going to be able to get through? A study on God's character, some parenting tips, a read of the bible and then journal about it? I had somehow even made my quiet moment, busy!

I thought about what two of my friends had said recently. One of them has a baby, a busy husband and a house renovation all going on at the same time. So she now has her very own 'Park and Read' system, where she goes for a drive so the baby falls asleep, she parks up and because it is impossible to be busy in the car, she reads or prays or snoozes. My other friend after hearing I was going to try to press into God and try to get refreshed in His presence, suggested that maybe I just needed to climb onto God's lap for a cuddle. As I looked at the three year old on my lap, who was seeking a cuddle and my time, I felt God embrace me too. So I closed my eyes and prayed. I sat on my Heavenly Father's lap and thanked Him for revealing His character to me and His parenting of me without the books this time.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
   “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”    
               Luke 10v38-42

Click here for Part Two

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

God Plus Nothing

This week I watched some of the news with my oldest boys. I wanted them to see the terrible situation in Japan, so that we could talk about it and pray together for the country. We couldn't quite believe the devastating pictures we were seeing. I told the boys that we needed to pray. And we needed to thank God that he was sovereign and ask for Him to help. My eldest asked why God didn't just stop it, and I said I didn't fully know, but that God was still in control. My boy looked puzzled. I know he was thinking 'How can God be in control of such a bad thing?' And I felt puzzled. But I wanted them to know that God is in control, all the time.

I'd heard this recently in a preaching series from Job, by PJ Smythe*. He said that Job didn't worship God because He was blessed with children and prosperity. Job didn't worship God because he had property and good health. He worshipped God because He was God. When all Job had was taken away, he still worshipped God. PJ asked which way do we live our lives?

'God + something = worship',  or 'God + nothing = worship'.

The two are very different. One is living in an understanding of God's sovereignty.  And the other is not. The 'God + something' way of life is saying that we will worship God if we have something else added on. I wonder what the 'somethings' are that I want, before I will worship God? Could it be that I worship God if I have good health or if my prayers for healing get answered? Or is it if I understand certain situations or if the kids are being good? Do I worship God if I've had a peaceful night's sleep, or if I know the answers to the "Why?" questions in life or if I'm not experiencing a natural disaster? These are all definitely good things to worship my Heavenly Father for, like it says in the book of James, 'every good and perfect gift is from God'. But what if I don't have these things, do I still worship Him? Do I acknowledge His sovereignty at all times, in all things?

God is ultimately sovereign over the good and the bad that happens. Either He is actively instigating it or permitting it to happen. Knowing that He is God and He is in charge of it all; the good and the bad, is hard to understand. I find it easy to worship God for all His answered prayer and blessings in my life. But sometimes I put clauses in, like the ones above, as to whether I worship God or not. If it's going well, I may praise Him more. But I realise that He is to be worshipped regardless of the situation. Regardless of my emotions. Regardless of whether I understand or like what's going on. And I want my boys to see me worshipping God at all times, during all situations. I want them to know that He is God. He is in charge. His sovereignty rules.

"...he who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
           the king of kings and Lord of lords..."

"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
       Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
      and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
       may the name of the LORD be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
                                         Job 1v20-22

*PJ Smythe's preach;

Friday, 11 March 2011


When I attempt to have a worship time, a grown up worship time on my own, I sometimes find myself singing songs from my childhood; "My God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty, there's nothing that He cannot do." I don't think I have as yet, launched into the actions alone in the kitchen, but maybe I should give it a go. My boys now sing a song they have learned from COGs, the kids work at our church; "Our God is a Great Big God...and He holds us in His hands". I try to remember the wonderful worship songs that I know from the wealth of songwriters at our church, but I do seem to get stuck on the chirpy little ones that are quite simple and easy to remember. 

I think that maybe God likes to remind me of some simple easy truths through these bouncy musical numbers. I don't think I dwell enough on just how big God is. I come to Him with my prayers; about me, and my life, and my boys and my marriage, and my problems and my needs. And I don't always remember that I come before God Himself. I come to the creator of the world. It's not actually about me, and my life. It's about Him. I don't always stop to consider His wonderful magnitude. His awesome creativity. And just how amazingly big He is. Big is such an understatement. But for simplicity's sake it will do.  

I read the following chapters and verses today which made me dwell on God's bigness. I had a bible study with a friend, via the wonderful medium of text! We sent each other verses which made us stand in awe of God's bigness and sovereignty. By the end of it I felt small like grass, and amazed that such a Great Big God would also have abundant love and lavish grace for those who fear Him. Isaiah 45v18-25, Job 38&39, Isaiah 40v9-31

I am also reminded of Andrew Wilson's "Incomparable" book, and in particular a quote from Nicky Gumble;On 20th August 1977, voyager II, the inter-planetary probe launched to observe and transmit to earth data about the outer planetary system, set off from earth traveling faster than the speed of a bullet (90,000 miles per hour). On 28th August 1989 it reached planet Neptune, 2,700 million miles from the earth. Voyager II then left the solar system. It will not come within one light year of any star for 958,000 years. In our Galaxy there are 100,000 million stars, like our sun. Our galaxy is one of 100,000 million Galaxies. In a throw away line in Genesis, the writer tells us, ‘He also made the stars’ (Genesis 1:16). Such is his power.’

Today my song shall be "My God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty, there's nothing that He cannot do." And I will attempt some actions whether the kids are with me or not.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Other Husband (Part Two)

...continued from Part One

So the husband may at times be in a different zone to me and the boys. He may be physically busy or mentally busy. He may find himself ill, the kind of ill where you have to keep bringing him toast in bed. And ask the boys to play secret agents in an attempt to keep them quiet so he can sleep. He may be tired. He may be working late or away from home. He may have done a hard day's work and need some downtime. He may be serving someone else. And sometimes he may just not notice my needs or meet my expectations.

God's grace is available for all such ocassions. But I am only able to show grace if I am dwelling in My Beloved's presence, experiencing His grace, His word and His truth. At times, I don't do this though. Instead I attempt to show the husband 'my grace', in place of God's grace. My grace quickly forgets, and quickly runs out, and is actually downright selfish and isn't really grace at all!

In our early married days, in these moments I would go quiet on the husband. I've stopped that now after he brought to my attention that it felt like I was punishing him. Or I would say all was fine, and give a smile. But it was ever so fake, and we both could see that. (We once watched a film, where FINE was an acronym for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, which pretty much summed it all up!). God in His grace, over the years has used many ways to show me how I can live in the good of that grace and let it affect all my relationships.

This includes how I relate to the husband. Do I only love him when he is being all that I need him to be, when he's meeting all my expectations? Do I only love him because I want to be loved in return? Do I only love him when he is ticking all the boxes? Do I only love him when he is well, and energetic and attentive? Do I only love him when he is helping out with the boys? Or do I love him unconditionally, like the vows I took, said I would? Do I love him with a selfless love? Do I love him with the unconditional love that Jesus has modelled to me? Do I want my boys to see examples of selfless and unconditional love? Do I remember that God's grace is sufficient for me even when I haven't done any of this? Mmm...time to delve deeper into God's grace and go love the husband.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
                                                            John 15v12
"Love is patient, love is kind.
       It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
      it keeps no record of  wrongs. 
 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
       It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails.."
                                                           1 Corinthians 13v4-8

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Other Husband (Part One)

The husband is a wonderful man. He's committed to me and our family, he reads a marriage or parenting book every 6 months or so. He asks me whether I am feeling more like his wife or "just a mum" on a regular basis. He listens when I ask for a date night. He puts the coffee and sweetener in my mug and boils the kettle so that its ready for when I need it, and makes me laugh so much.  However there are the odd occasions when he is not quite in the same zone as me. He may be in the work zone, the tired zone, the ill zone or the iPhone zone. He may be unable to be at home due to work commitments. He may have worked so hard that he falls asleep when he's at home. He may be at home in body but not quite in mind.

And this is when I need to remember that I am my beloved's and He is mine. And by My Beloved, I mean Jesus. According to God's word, I am part of the church, and the church is the bride and the bridegroom is Jesus. He has made me spotless and righteous. He is an attentive husband to me. He is never too busy. He is never asleep.  He is available to me at all times. He knows me so very well. He loves me. He understands me. He chose me. He is consistent. He is faithful. And He is never on an iPhone.

I often go to the husband first when I should go to My Beloved. I sometimes try to be content in the husband's love, when I actually need to dwell in My Beloved's love. I seek acceptance from the husband, whereas it is My Beloved who accepts me fully. I expect alot from the husband, whereas it is My Beloved who will actually fulfil all my needs.  This is always true and would be true even if God hadn't blessed me with a wonderful husband at all.

"As a young man marries a young woman,
          so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
         so will your God rejoice over you."
                                              Isaiah 62v5

Click here for Part Two