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, 27 July 2011

Be Our Guest

Recently we told the boys that some very special guests were coming for dinner. We wouldn't tell them who, but laboured the point of how special these guests were by asking them to go and get changed into their best clothes, complete with ties, and be on their best behaviour.

I prepared a wonderful dinner, and the table had a table cloth and napkins. The husband wore a suit and I a pretty skirt and top with a flower in my hair. The boys were asking if it was The Queen. (I wish, I thought!) And started naming important people. We asked them to go outside and look for the guests. So they all skipped off to sit on the front wall, and excitedly wait for them to arrive.

Me and the husband went back in and closed the door. Our eldest came back and rang the doorbell, at which point we enthusiastically welcomed our boys in as our very special guests. We explained that they were the most important people we knew, and that the party was in their honour. With a happy tear in one of their eyes and a beaming smile on the other boys' faces, we sat down to our wonderful dinner party, followed by a dance off. (That's how most events finish in our house.)

We totally stole this idea off of a family we know. (Tony and Jackie, I salute you!) They said they were constantly blessed by their three daughters and their son, and they often had people at their house at dinner time, and their children were great with them. So it was their way of saying 'Thank You' to their kids. We loved the idea, and enjoyed repeating it. This weekend we were going to a BBQ with some old friends and we said there would be some special guests there. One of my boys suggested it was him and his brothers, so I know the point was made.

I am reminded of these verses.

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14 v2-3

Because of what Jesus has done for us, in making a way to the Father, we have the privilege of being His special guests where he has prepared a place for us. I wonder if there will be a dance off?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


This evening could have gone one of two ways. It had been a bit of a full on afternoon; there had been an energetic wrestling match between the four boys, which had been going fine up until there were too many tears, there was extra washing to do, due to a poorly boy in the night, there was a brief thirty minute 'hello' from the husband between him coming home and heading back out, there was a head injury due to a car ramp being enthusiastically thrown by the baby, there was the dramatic loss of a Lego spaceman, there was an alien story to be written and that was all before dinner.

Putting the boys to bed alone, meant the baby followed me upstairs when I needed the four year old to settle. The older two were finding it hard to 'do something calm' before bedtime and the unsettled four year old got out of bed about six times. The last time he wanted his hideous red teddy bear which we got from the school fete for 20p. I was a bit short with him as I settled him back into bed, without his bear, and said a quick goodnight to them all.

I changed the baby and got him ready for bed, and I saw the hideous red teddy. I felt compelled to take it up to my boy. He gave me such a big smile as he took the bear and cuddled it. It brought him such comfort. And I tenderly kissed him and told him I loved him, because I do. Even when being a mum is hard, even when my boys are demanding, even when it's been a full on afternoon. I still love them. I just need to keep showing it and saying it. With the baby in his cot, I came downstairs and put some washing on, and sat on the lounge floor, frazzled and I wept.

At this point I knew I had a choice; I could put the television on and 'socially network' online, or I could cry to my heavenly father. I found myself doing the latter. I knew I could come into His presence so easily. There was nothing I needed to do or achieve or even say, I could just "be". And I could be comforted. I was reminded of how compelled I felt just to take my boy his hideous, but loved red bear. I remembered how comforted he felt over something so small, and I remembered how much I loved him as I kissed him goodnight. And I knew it was all just a tiny reflection of God's love for me, how compelled He is to love me, how He longs to comfort me, by His holy Spirit and whisper to me of His love and joy in me.

How beautiful it was to sit and weep at my father's feet. I didn't really say much. I just wanted to come into His presence and know of His love and His Holy Spirit's comfort, His refuge and His strength. And that's just what I did.

   "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a   serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
    If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
                                                                                            Luke 11v11-13

Monday, 18 July 2011

It's a Dog's Life

Watching my smallest boy play with his new birthday 'Woof Woofs', or dogs as they're actually called to people who don't have a toddler in their house, I'm reminded of how similar my boys are to dogs!

They are ever so cuddly, they enjoy a splash in a muddy puddle, occasionally they smell, and they even lick me at times. They have endless energy and love to run. The smallest one especially, bounds up to new arrivals at our house like a puppy would; excited and jumping up at them. They want my attention, a pat on the head, a treat. They love to play with a ball, and they've been known to dribble.

I have found my boys throwing things and making their younger brothers crawl on their hands and knees to go "fetch" the item in their mouth. I have found them with my bag handle or their grandparents dog lead attached to their trousers, while again the older ones walk them around the house and garden. And I know they are highly amused when they are caught short and get the chance to see how high they can wee up a tree!

My boys, like dogs need training in obedience, so I had a look on a dog training website to look for similarities (I obviously have far too much time on my hands) and the correlation between dogs and my boys continued. According to the website, dogs need to be trained consistently.They need to know who is in charge and which behaviours are acceptable and not acceptable. They need to know clear boundaries in order to have a trustworthy and cooperative relationship with you. And when all this is done, you have a happy, healthy, well adjusted, outgoing, well respected canine citizen!!!

Maybe I won't read any more parenting books, I will just follow the above advice from a dog website and buy a bag of doggie treats?! No, my boys need consistent heart training not behaviour modification. Don't we all?!

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly."
Proverbs 26v11

"Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverb 22v6

Saturday, 16 July 2011


In order to have the husband home for dinner in between the Brighton conference sessions, we went and picked him up. As we were waiting outside the conference centre for him, my eldest noticed a homeless man asking for money. His response was a wonderful challenge and encouragement to me.

  "Mum, we should do something." He said to me.

I loved that that was how he was thinking, but I explained to my son that I didn't have any money on me, and I didn't have any food on me. Again, another challenging response;
"Well, maybe just go and talk with him, because that might be nice for him."

I explained that my son was right, but that actually I could not leave all the boys in the car on a busy road and go to help the man. My son sat and watched him, and said how sad he looked. So we said that there is always something you can do, and we sat in the car and prayed for him.
As the husband came to the car, I explained my son's heart for this man. Wonderfully, the husband said that he had been taken out for lunch, so he still had his lunch that I had made him that morning. The husband and my eldest jumped out of the car and headed off to meet the man. The husband introduced my boy to this man and his dog, and told him that our son had spotted him and wanted to give him some food. My son shook hands with John and left him eating his food.

My other son's response was that I should always have something, like money ready to give to people. I tried to explain that his heart was right but sometimes its hard to give money. But as a result, I made two extra lunches the next morning, just in case. After the school run, I wanted to honour my son's request and cultivate his heart, so I explained that I still had the two extra lunches and off we went for a drive into Brighton, looking for a homeless person to feed.

I had to stop myself from laughing as the two oldest sat in the back, looking out the windows, pointing and saying; "He looks homeless, give it to him." So, rather than play 'Spot the homeless man' and offend all the alternative looking Brightonians, I just kept a look out. But after driving for an hour, we remarkably couldn't find anyone. I explained to my son that his heart had been right and that God had seen his heart, even if we didn't get to give anyone any food. The two lunches went in the fridge and I was blessed not to have to make any for school the next day. I was also blessed to have a fridge, a kitchen, a home...

“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply,
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, and sisters of mine, (John) you did for me.’ Matthew 25v37-40

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

To Do List

Yesterday, I attended the evening meeting at the 'Together On A Mission' conference in Brighton. What a privilege. I had had quite a busy day with school runs, nursery runs, sport's day, sweeping, washing, dinner making, picking the husband up from the conference etc... the usual things that make a mum's day feel a bit busy. So I was especially looking forward to some worship time.

As Phatfish and Kate Simmonds started to lead thousands of people in worship, I closed my eyes and started talking to God. The first thing I said was "Father, I am sorry that I haven't done my bit today."  I knew I hadn't managed a bible time today, and my prayers had been sporadic and mainly 'Help me' ones. I hadn't fulfilled my checklist of things that I probably should do if I'm going to come the presence of God. As soon as I had said it I laughed. I laughed because I heard how ridiculous it sounded, and I laughed because I know God is speaking to me about Grace at the moment! I laughed because I knew, and God knew that I was saying sorry for not having anything to bring to the table. When do I have anything to bring to the table with God? At what point can I suitably pray "Father, you know I've done so well today, so here I am for you." Ha! How ridiculous. I felt that gentle reminder again, that I don't actually have anything to bring to the table, ever. It's all about Him. His love for me. It's all about what He has done for me through His son.

 There is nothing I add to the deal. And even on my most super spiritual, bible reading, calm and gentle days, where I have trained the boys perfectly and led people to know Jesus, and served the husband, and spoken to him with the right tone and when I've prayed for hours about real issues not my own little needs....(I'm sure I must have had one of these days?!) Even when I have done all of this, what is it that I then think I bring to the table with God? 

Have I earned more of His love? Am I more accepted by Him? Is His death on the cross somehow more because I've ticked some spiritual boxes? I know it is right to obey God's word and live my life in a God glorifying way, but I also need to make sure I've got it the right way round. I need to ask myself, "Am I more righteous because of me, and what I have achieved, all the ticks I've done today or because of Jesus, and what He accomplished at the cross?" Thank God, it's because of Jesus every time! And that righteousness is then my foundation for obeying and doing. Thank you God for worship times where I am able to move quickly past self reliance and into your presence.

   "But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
    He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour,  
   so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3v4-7

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Turn to The Dark Side

There are brief moments in our household when peace and tranquility actually reign. But these are never found during the five minutes just before we do the school run. Organisation isn't one of my strong points, so the stress of searching for my own two matching shoes as well as eight little shoes of varying sizes, can be a little hectic. Mixed with grabbing two lunch bags, finding four coats, locating one baby, looking for two books in the right book bags, and the right amount of children can be a little on the stressful side for me. This is usually accompanied by a little brotherly shoving and joking, a timely dirty nappy and some high energy boys.

Such a morning was had in our house last week and the stress was added to by one of my boys making a few bad choices and not behaving well. I started to talk to him about how unhelpful he had been. But rather than calmly talking to him, explaining his mistakes and showing him his heart, I instead had a bit of an unnecessary rant at him. The kind of rant that is over the top, and not wise, not controlled, not godly, not gentle. I walked into the kitchen still moaning at him and as I turned towards him to carry on my rant, the song coming out of the kitchen speakers changed to the dark and gloomy  "Imperial March" from Star Wars, as if it it were my very own sound track.

Because of the dramatic song change and because of God's grace, we both burst out laughing! We talked about how it was the part in the film when The Emperor is telling Luke Skywalker to be consumed by anger, and that is exactly what I had allowed to happen. I had got angry rather than love my son. I had been consumed by my emotions rather than patiently taking time to explain. I had got stressed rather than have godly self control. I had tried to do the morning in my own strength rather than rely on God's. It was an amusing and humbling moment as I once again had to apologise to and be forgiven by my son and thank God for His faithful grace towards me. I'm so grateful that God never deals with me in anger, but is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

We decided it would be a great idea, if every time I got a bit cross "The Imperial March" started in the background, because then I would be aware of my emotions and would be reminded to change my behaviour. Thankfully, I know I have the Holy Spirit, speaking to me and prompting  me in these moments to go to God and giving me the power to change my behaviour and my attitude. Now I just need to convince the boys that The Holy Spirit's power and the Jedi Force are very different.

"And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming;
 “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.."
                                                                 Exodus 34v6