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.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Bench and The Plank

Last week I helped a friend move house. Well, I say 'helped' in a very loose way; me and my youngest were definitely there. I drank tea, and made some for the removal men but that was my level of help. It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat on a little bench, while I gave my son a running commentary of what was leaving the house and what was going in the van. He seemed happy enough to repeat everything I said and occasionally get in the way just a little as heavy furniture was manoeuvred around him.

While we sat on the bench the window behind me opened and a little old, grey-haired head popped out. I smiled sweetly at the little old lady, and carried on the great furniture departure story with my boy. The lady smiled and told me that the bench was not communal. I said, "Ok...." in that kind of questioning way of saying, 'surely it's okay for me and my two year old to sit on it though?' But I had heard right the first time. The bench was not communal. It was her's and she'd like me and my son to not sit on it.

Aware that the two removal men were now watching this little moment unfold, I got off the bench and sat on the grass. The removal men made up a song about 'sad busybodies who had too much time on their hands' which I uncomfortably smiled at. And I sat and played with my youngest.

About ten minutes later, the little old lady opened her front door and asked me to come inside for a chat. So in I went to her little house. She started to explain to me that she lived with her old aged brother and his wife who was very disabled, and the noise travelled in from the bench by the window and disturbed her poorly sister in law. She thought I was moving in next door to her, and we had clearly got off on the wrong foot, so she wanted to apologise and explain her reactions.

I guess the whole thing got me thinking of how quick we are to judge one another. Without the little old lady's explanation, I wonder how I would have told the story to the husband when I got home. I presume I would have judged her as a busybody like the removal men had. I presume I would have judged me as the one in the right, and her as sticking her nose in, and being old and selfish. I wonder what judgements I make of others, their words and actions, without knowing the whole story or their heart behind those actions. I wonder what I take as a judgement about me, my kids, or my parenting when people say things. I wonder what my heart is like when I make these judgements or hear them back. The lady went from being a selfish busybody to a caring sister in law all in the space of ten minutes. Funny how a plank in the eye can really distort your vision!

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7v3-5

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Lamb Chop and Mint Sauce

I'm a bit behind with my bible reading at the moment, and I have to admit it's because I just hit Leviticus! I was really enjoying Exodus; the battles, the victories, the faith ventures and impossible miracles. But then I hit Leviticus and it wasn't as dramatic or tremendous. It's all about sin offerings, burnt offerings, guilt offerings, wave offerings, grain offerings and peace offerings. It's all about sacrificing rams, sacrificing ox, sacrificing unblemished goats, and sacrificing lambs for the people. And it is written in such immense detail, down to what should be done with the blood and the fat of the animal. It's not the most joyful read, especially if you're squeamish at all. So I admit that my eagerness died down a bit. I wanted battles, victories, faith and miracles not detailed descriptions of how to kill and chop a lamb, what to do with his kidneys and with not even a mention of mint sauce.

Yesterday morning, I had a quiet moment in the house, so I sat down on the sofa and simply closed my eyes and started talking to God about my day. My Heavenly Father in His wonderful, undeserved grace, gently rebuked me.  It just hit me; the reason I could just sit on my sofa and be in the privileged position of speaking to God, the creator of the universe, the giver of life and my own breath was because of the greatest sacrifice that had ever taken place. And so the repentance began.

The detailed sacrifices in Leviticus showed reverence and awe and fear towards God. Yet there I was showing no reverence, no awe and no fear towards God in how I was reading the bible. The sacrifices emphasised the vastness of sin and the requirement for it to be severely dealt with. And there I was not even trying to understand what those sacrifices meant, or the great relevance they had in relation to my sin being dealt with. The sacrifices were brought to the priest, showing his importance in representing the people. And there I was not giving Jesus a second thought as the great High Priest and how He represented me on the cross. The offerings and constant death of animals showed to what extent sin needed to be dealt with in order for God to not pour His wrath on the people. And there I was not even considering my own sin, not considering Jesus' death and not considering the wrath and punishment my sins deserved.

Thankfully, I didn't need to kill a lamb or a goat out in the garden before I sat on the sofa that morning. I didn't need to go and gather grain. I didn't need to present anything to a priest. It had all been done for me. My sin still needed to be atoned for. It still offended God, just as much as in the Leviticus days. But my sin had been atoned for when Jesus took the punishment I deserved, on the cross. The perfect, unblemished lamb was put to death, taking God's wrath from me. I wanted battles, victories, faith ventures and impossible miracles. What else does Leviticus point to? Undeserved grace and forgiveness sounds pretty dramatic and tremendous to me. Jesus' painful death and sacrifice means that not only have my sins been completely dealt with and removed from me, but now I can talk to God Almighty, in the quiet of my lounge on my sofa, and joyfully read the book of Leviticus.

"All Scripture is God-breathed
and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
                                                                                                      2 Timothy 3v16-17

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

To Infinity and Beyond

The Gym: so far it has been an amusing experience. I freaked out on the cross trainer because my legs were going faster than my body, and I learnt quite quickly that you can't just stop on it, because you do a kind of mid air hop while the machine keeps going. I freaked out on the running machine because I was convinced I would fall off the end. My friend, a personal trainer was very calm with me, but did have to talk to me like a child, "Where are your feet? Can you see your feet? They're nowhere near the end, are they? Look at your feet."

And then there is the changing room experience; trying to gauge when it's a 'wear a towel' moment and when it's not. Hoping my friends don't decide to use the gym the moment I've decided it's a quick 'non towel' moment. There's the horror of forgetting to even bring a large towel, and attempting all sorts of manoeuvres with the tiny gym sweat towel. But my favourite moment so far was when I decided tights were a good option for the day! I had successfully got through the moisturising moment; involving the complexity of holding my towel and the moisture cream bottle and the tights, which just felt like another workout. I then put on my 'keep the tights hoiked up' pants over the top of the tights and looked up at the other ladies who had got dressed. I assumed from their attire that they worked, their jobs mainly being in offices. And I realised that they must be looking at me and assuming from my attire that my job was indeed some kind of weird superhero. I found this far too amusing and continued getting dressed.

In that moment, thinking about what I was wearing, I knew there were other essentials I needed to have on for the day! I needed the belt of truth buckled around my waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, to name but a few. If I didn't have these in place then in my vulnerability, I would not end the day well. I would end the day doubting, after listening to lies, with a wrong self image, possibly bound up and easily tripped. So with my superhero pants on, my mind set on the truth of God's word, and the righteousness in which I stand, I put on my cape and went out to tackle the day - to infinity and beyond! Well, actually I just went down the road to the boys' school and back. But I knew how important it was to be fully dressed, even for the school run.

"Therefore put on the full armour of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
 and after you have done everything, to stand."
Ephesians 6v13 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I'm Lovin' It

So Saturday morning was meant to start with me alone with the boys, due to the husband being away on a Stag weekend. (I attempted to explain what a Stag weekend was to my eldest, and now he can't wait to arrange them for his brothers). Even though we were five not six this morning, we heard the key in the door at 7:15am. There was the husband with four McDonald's breakfasts, a bag of Granola, strawberries and yoghurt. The boys tucked into their sausage and pancakes and a cup of tea was placed in my hand. Then the husband was off again to shoot balls of paint at other men.

Brownie points indeed for the husband's grand gesture and it left us all feeling full, loved and thought of by him. As I was munching my Granola and strawberries, I was reminded of the book I read the youngest earlier in the week, "Guess How Much I Love You". It's about a little rabbit who explains to his dad that he loves him, and the daddy rabbit out does him each time with bigger love. I thought about what the husband had done for us; leaving his time away with his buddies, in order to drive to McDonalds in the early hours, and pop into Asda just to bring us breakfast. It left us feeling very loved indeed. But I knew in that moment that my heavenly daddy out does even the grandest gestures of love and sacrifice, He even out does McDonalds love. In His word, it says; 
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3v16-17

What's not to love about these verses? Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He gave us His son in order to save us. I also love this verse because it is unconditional and open to all. Even if there is no earthly husband or father to lavish their love with Granola and pancakes, this verse states that the Father's gift of Jesus is for "whoever believes". So His lavish love is for all, whether people know of earthly tokens of it or not. His love, His goodness and His kindness are displayed in what He has done for us and who He is. Also, the creation we see around us displays His love towards us, the earthly acts of love between people show His love and for us  and today, McDonalds shows God's love too.
I'm lovin' it.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A Camel's Perspective

I read 'Peppa Pig goes swimming' and 'The camel who found Christmas' to one of my boys, as they were tucked up in bed this week. We didn't get too deep with Peppa, but the camel's perspective of the Christmas story turned out to be quite helpful. The camel was a bit worried about meeting King Jesus. He was worried he wasn't big enough or important enough to meet a king. He was worried he wasn't smart enough or special enough to meet a king. (Even though I presume a talking camel would come across as quite smart and quite special) But the mummy camel reassured the little camel that everyone was invited to meet King Jesus, no matter who they were, and no matter who they weren't. No matter what they had done and no matter what they hadn't done.

As I read about the camel's physical and emotional journey to meet the king, I added a few of my own lines into the story, in my best camel voice of course. I said that the camel was a bit worried about meeting King Jesus because of the tantrums he had vocally expressed that day, and the disobedience he had shown to his mummy that day, and the rudeness that mummy camel had to put up with that day. I wasn't sure if my son was picking up on my subtle additions to the story, but he seemed fully engaged in the life of this camel, whose actions weren't dissimilar to his own. So with his mind fully engaged on this disobedient, rude, tantrummy camel, I was able to be the voice of the mummy camel and reassure him that he was still invited and welcome to meet King Jesus.

Sometimes I am tempted to express to my kids that they're only welcome to come to me when they're being good, well behaved, calm and polite. What if they think that Jesus only welcomes them in when they're like this too? Of course, I want my boys to be good and obedient. But I would be hindering their understanding of grace, if they thought they had to get it right in order to come to me. I would be hindering them so much, if they thought they had to get it right in order to come to Jesus.

I know that if I had to get it right in order to come to Jesus, I simply wouldn't be able to come to Him. King Jesus welcomes my boys in right in the midst of their tantrums. Which means that He also welcomes me in, standing bemused on the other side of that tantrum, or having a tantrum of my own. He welcomes my boys in when they think they're not good enough, or important enough. Which means He welcomes me in when I think the same. He welcomes them in even when they're being disobedient and rude. Which means He also welcomes mummy camel in, even when she's got the right hump with them too.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19v15