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.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Happily Ever After

So I did head up to London for the Royal Wedding celebrations. I went to Trafalgar Square, wearing Wendy Virgo's hat. I took my flags and my Pimms. I sang Jerusalem and God save the Queen with a few thousand people and waved my flag whenever I saw a member of the Royal Family on the big screen! I spent time with friends. I made whooping noises when I saw Prince William, and of course when I saw Kate's fabulous dress. I got lost somewhere in front of Buckingham Palace, behind the statue! Got stuck in a few crowds. Smiled and laughed and sang with strangers enjoying the day, and got covered in confetti. I said a few "ahhs" when the happy couple took their vows and when they gave each other loving glances, convincing us all that they may actually live "Happily ever after".

And after hearing the words of Romans 12 being spoken to millions around the world, I found myself praying for them as the service continued. If William and Kate choose to live their lives as the verses encouraged them to do, then they will live according to the will of God, and there is no better way to live.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

If they seek to let love be genuine, abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good, love one another with brotherly affection, outdo one another in showing honor  and  not be slothful in zeal,  if they seek to be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord, if they seek to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer, then they will be living how God intends them to live.

God puts rulers and authorities in place and I want to be committed to praying for this couple in the position they are in. I want to pray that they will live how the Bishop of London stirred them to live, as he quoted St Catherine of Siena; “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” I pray that God would reveal Himself to them, and draw them to His son Jesus, and I pray that they would seek to worship Him and live according to His will for their lives, their marriage and the influence they hold.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


Last night I was being a bit tired and grumpy with the husband. Even though I often say to the boys that they're not to let their tiredness or feelings effect how they are with people, that's often easier said than done. In my grumpiness I was expecting the husband to know exactly what I needed from him, without telling him what it was that I needed. And I've been married long enough to know that the husband cannot actually read mind! Anyway I said sorry to him, but still got into bed quite sad and grumpy.

The husband forgave me quickly as he does, and I said I was sorry again! He said if I had repented to God about it, then God had also forgiven me. Then the husband's question came; Had I had forgiven myself? Mmm... no I hadn't. The reason I was still grumpy was because I felt cross with myself. I thought I'd accepted God's forgiveness and the husband's forgiveness, but I didn't feel forgiven, and was still punishing myself.

The husband promptly challenged me that my forgiveness was no greater than God's powerful, undeserved forgiveness. I had no right to punish myself, and I shouldn't hold myself guilty, because Jesus had already been punished on my behalf and I had been declared forgiven by my heavenly father. What wonderful truth! And to wake up on Easter Sunday, and know that we celebrate today that Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered death and sin. He held all my sins and shame on His shoulders as He died, and today I can celebrate His mercy and grace.

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
                                      Psalm 103v10-12 

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Message of the Buns

This morning someone dropped round a bag of the tastiest hot cross buns I have ever had. They were still warm and smelt delicious. I thought it was a kind gesture to bring hot cross buns to us on Good Friday. And they were quite quickly consumed by us all.

I've bought quite a few hot cross buns recently in an attempt to talk to a man at Asda about Jesus, as you do! I bought some quite a while back and as we were standing at the checkout, the man said "I wonder what the cross is for" and I pathetically replied, "Don't know". Then I heard the cockerel crow, so to speak, as I realised that I had missed an opportunity to explain the gospel to someone. When we were discussing the sins of omission (things you should do, but you don't) at small group I used what I had done as an example of it. I was challenged to go and make it right with him, which I didn't particularly want to do. I was just using it as an example. But they were right to challenge me. What's the point of meeting with people regularly to talk about God and life, if we are not willing for them to then speak into our lives?

So I've been buying hot cross buns for quite a while now and trying to find the right man at the checkout. I did find him a couple of weeks ago and started the conversation. It didn't go too well, and the man wasn't really interested, and for some reason I thought having all four boys with me would be the best way to start quite a big, slightly awkward chat about the most important thing that the man will ever hear. I promptly bought an Easter card and wrote in better detail what I wanted to say; that God loved him so much that He put all the punishment that we deserve for our sins, on Jesus instead of us.

I was gently reminded by my hot cross bun encounter, that I need to be willing to use this Easter celebration as an opportunity to explain what it is all about. We've made a point of telling the boys that it is not about the chocolate that we will enjoy on Sunday. It is about what happened on Good Friday, when Jesus was punished in our place, and when He was separated from God in our place too. We will look forward to celebrating His resurrection with them on Sunday too.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
      Christ died for the ungodly.  
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
      though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 
 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
     While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
                                                  Romans 5v6-8

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Princess Emma of Brighton

As I drink coffee out of my new "William & Catherine" celebration mug, I'm aware that the Royal Wedding is drawing near. I've got my blue and red flower for my hair, and I've got my flags at the ready. Friends have been sending me pictures of Royal Wedding fridges and Royal Wedding play sets and knitted Royal Wedding people. I'm still undecided as to whether I am venturing up to the big city of London for it, or whether I'm putting bunting up and getting a better picture of it all from the tele, with some friends. I'm not staying at home though, where the husband and the boys are not entirely sparked with enthusiasm in the same way that I am.

The husband didn't write letters to the Royal Family when he was younger, and he's not overly bothered about seeing a real life princess, or the royal carriage, or wondering what her dress looks like. The husband isn't still hoping for an invitation like I am. Now the husband does think that the Royal Family are important, he's just not taking it to a new level of excitement like his wife seems to be. Maybe I will get him a stick on royal tattoo like I have got for the boys, to boost his enthusiasm for the whole thing. 

I met with some friends recently and we agreed to pray for one other person beforehand, and ask God to reveal something for that person. My friend felt that God wanted to remind me of my Royal status. She had this verse for me from Isaiah 62v3
"You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
   a royal diadem in the hand of your God."
She said that the diadem is a symbol of royalty, worn with dignity. Now I will of course be checking out Princess Catherine's version of a tiara. But my friend wanted me to realise that that is my status in God. He sees me as a 'Royal crown of splendor in His hand'. And as excited as I am about the Royal Wedding, it should not take place of the excitement and wonder of knowing the King of kings, and because of what He has done for me, I am now royalty too.

 "I delight greatly in the LORD;
   my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
   and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
   and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
                                                    Isaiah 61v10

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Proud Little Engine

I came down the stairs this morning and my son told me that he had been watching Thomas the Tank Engine. Now Thomas is not usually one of my favourites, but it had kept three boys entertained and allowed me to have an extra 40 minutes in bed, so today I love the programme! 

"Mum, one of the trains was really proud today." My son said to me. "He had been told not to go out in the fog, but the train said, 'I'm a fine engine and I can do what I want'".
"Oh" I replied "And what happened to the little engine?"
"He got lost in the fog mum. He didn't accept the advice from The Fat Controller". Came my son's response.

I grabbed the moment to open the bible and look at Proverbs 16v18
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
I asked my son what he thought the verse meant. He thought 'destruction' meant breaking things. So I asked him what bit had got "broken" then in the Thomas the Tank Engine story this morning, and my son realized that the "broken bit" in the story was the fact that the engine had got lost in the fog. The engine's pride had produced destruction. Simple but effective in making that verse seem so real to him.

I was pleased that Thomas the Tank Engine had given me a lie in and I was pleased that there was an arrogant little engine who hadn't accepted help and had therefore taught my boy something. I was pleased too that my son could spot the sin involved because that's the hardest bit sometimes.

I remember being pregnant with my last son and suffering from a bit of pre-natal depression. I was just laying on the sofa and I didn't want to do anything. I didn't think I could do anything. So my friend arranged for people to make meals for the family, for the rest of the week. I was so cross about it because I didn't want people to know I wasn't coping. I didn't want people to think I needed help. I didn't want to accept help. It was hard to see at the time that I was being proud; worrying what people thought and not accepting help. But the husband gently pointed out that that's what it was. The meals of course were a real blessing, as was letting people in when I was so low. And more importantly It allowed God to take me out of my destructive pride and teach me humility.

"Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life."
                                                                                                 Proverbs 22v4

Friday, 8 April 2011

When The Fog Clears

After dropping one of the boys at football training, I had 50 minutes to kill before picking him up again. So I drove until I found a park for me and the other boys. It was cold and foggy and it wasn't the best park in the world; lots of "interesting" things written in graffiti and some broken wood to climb and conquer. But I had supplies, because that's what mums do. We feed, we drive, we have supplies and we conquer 50 minutes in the cold fog. So I hid mini chocolate rabbits and lollipops around the park, one for each boy. The three year old was onto it and treats were found in a matter of minutes, accompanied by laughter and jumping. Most of his life is accompanied by laughter and jumping. He then helped the baby find his and again laughter and jumping filled the air. Ah the sweet sound of successful parenting...until the not so sweet sound of the 5 year old's complete meltdown because he was cold and couldn't see the park or find the treats. I helped the 5 year old find them, talked about his heart and his words and said that due to the tantrum he could only choose one, and then said the dreaded words "If you tantrum again, you can't have any". And like a bull to a red flag, the boy lost it. Tears, screaming, shouting, looks of anger, and off he ran into the mist.

I saw through the fog, that he had found a spot on a grass bank and could hear him screaming and shouting "mummy" very crossly. Now my boys are not allowed to scream and shout and cry for very long in these moments. They are spoken to and their outcry is explained to them; that they are demanding what they think is best for them, rather than obeying what we know is best for them. But I just couldn't do it today. If the husband had been there it would've probably been dealt with, but I was tired and cold and fed up too.

So I told God how I felt. I told my Heavenly Father that what had started off as a wonderful moment, my son had now messed up by making bad choices. I told God that he was screaming for me but wont come to me. And as I said this rant to God. I felt so clearly and so powerfully God's reply, "I made it wonderful for you and you have made bad choices and messed up. You have screamed for me but I don't make you come to me, instead I come to you. I pick you up. I hold you. I let you cry. I forgive you and I love you".

So with tears in my eyes, and the fog in my mind cleared, I climbed up the bank to my son. I picked him up and carried him down the bank, to a bench where I held him and hugged him and kissed him and told him that I loved him and that i forgive him. And he cried and said sorry. And we both learned  something about unconditional love that day.

"We love because he first loved us."
                         1 John 4v19

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Interview With A Legend

Some people get a 'once in a lifetime' experience, when they get to meet a legend. For example, I got to meet The Queen, or as I like to put it, The Queen got to meet me! But recently I got the chance to have tea with a very special lady indeed. Not only did I get to keep her hat, but I also got an interview for my blog. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Wendy Virgo...

As a mum, I would like to know how you managed your quiet time
I used to get up pretty early, 6 am. If I had a really young baby, regular time was difficult, but I lived on ‘bite sized chunks’ for a while. i.e, grab a few verses when I could and pray on the run! Terry and I tried to pray together but often it was pretty sporadic, depending on the state and ages of the kids at the time. When I had just 2 really small kids, I got them into bed early in the evening and spent a lot of time studying the Bible. A lot of my knowledge of the Bible was stored up in those years.  I had unwittingly created a storehouse from which I drew in the years ahead.
There were times I got rather discouraged about not being regular or systematic in prayer and Bible study, but I came to understand that God wasn’t clocking up merit points, and was willing to have time with me while I was breastfeeding, going to Sainsbury’s, or cleaning the bath! We just talked. As time goes by, things change, and your rhythm of life changes and you can be more structured.
What priorities did you put in place as a mum? 
I kept trying to focus on the reasons we were parenting: Our children were God’s gift to us, and therefore raising them was a serious commitment to him and to his will. Our goal was that they might fulfil his purpose for them and that we would eventually be able to release them into the world as responsible, caring people, with clear principles and guidelines for their lives. We tried always to be loving and affectionate; time spent playing with them wasn’t wasted.
What was the best and hardest thing about being a mum?
How long have you got?! Hard things were the relentless time pressure; always having to rush from thing to thing to get everything in. I am by nature not very organised and like to drift along with the flow…fat chance when you are trying to get 5 kids out of the door in the right clothes at the right time, with the right things in their bags, and then run a women’s Bible study or something else. It was hard not really getting any ‘me’ time to read, have a buble bath, or take up some pursuit such as French classes or learning a craft. Being consistent in discipline was also a hard thing.
Some best things were seeing children develop in all sorts of ways. We had lots of laughter and fun, and great holidays together. The endless bustle and interest of a large family is both demanding and stimulating.
How does God speak to you?
Through reading the Bible, prophetic words from people, through my husband. (I’ve learnt that if he says God has said something to him, then he usually has!) hearing preaching and circumstances backed up by the above. I hardly ever get meaningful dreams. I have had a few visions.
How did you make your husband a priority? 
Terry is not religious, but he was almost religious about always having a day off. Monday worked for us, and we still regard it as specifically just for us. We walk, talk, pray, have lunch out , go to a pub, make love in the afternoon if we feel like it. Its time to review, take stock, discuss, or just hang out. Also the children learnt I think, that Daddy always came first. God had called him to serve Him in a special way. When he was away we would put a map on the fridge so we knew where he was, and pray for him. I never moaned about hm being away etc in front of the kids.
How did you grow in the gifts of the spirit?
Mostly by having a go!
What are you currently reading?
I always have several books on the go. At the moment, “A History of Modern Britain” by Andrew Marr; “The Message of John” by Bruce Milne in the Bible Speaks Today series, (highly recommend) and Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.
How are you feeling about the move to Kingston?
Excited about the new challenge; exasperated with the slow pace it is going! We had been edging toward it, but were waiting for the green light from God. When we got it, there was peace that this is the next step. It might be easier to slow down and take it easy, but rather boring!
Can you share a funny moment about one of your children?
Some things were not funny at the time but became funny later when we looked back. One of my sons had a very sore bottom, and found a pink bottle of what he thought was baby lotion. We heard anguished shrieks of pain coming from the bathroom. His poor little bottom was pulsating and bright red. What he thought was lotion was hair removing cream….poor child. (That will keep us guessing as to which one!)

And lastly, would you rather buy new shoes or a new bag?
New shoes, every time!