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.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Wherever I Am, There's Always Pooh

Last week I experienced one of those moments, which really highlights some of the wonders of motherhood. I was in the park with three out of four of the boys, waiting for the last one to finish his after school club. My almost three year old was testing to see if the boundaries of disobedience were the same in a park as they are in the house, which of course they are. I had approached him as he wasn't responding to me, and that's when I realised that he had wet himself, which may have been part of the reason for him not coming to me.

I explained that I needed to change his trousers, so he held my hand and we walked over to the buggy. I quickly pulled them off, and it was as the poo rolled onto my hand and hit the playground floor, that I realised my son had actually had more than a wet accident. These are the moments in life which no one ever prepares you for, no matter what books you read.

I sat for a few seconds wondering what to do and gritted my teeth as another child in the park told me I shouldn't bring pooey babies there. I reached into my bag only to realise that I had made a rookie mistake; I had left the house without baby wipes! Who does that after eight years and four children? I even recently gave a mum-to-be a survival kit; consisting of wipes, anti-bacterial gel, wine, Calpol and chocolate. I could have done with this kit on that day.

My other two boys came to watch/help my disastrous moment. They offered to get me some leaves to clean my poo covered hand. I don't remember answering them with my best motherly, calm and gentle tone, and I washed my hand with Ribena instead. I pulled my boy's trousers up and tried to pull his shirt down a bit more to disguise his mishap. He then went off to play again, and I chose to ignore exactly how he was heading off to play for  a good ten minutes, before getting my other son from his after school club.

When we reached home, I showered my son while squirting bubble bath all over his rear. I threw his pants away, replenished my bag with wipes, cleaned the buggy, and then finally an hour later cleaned my odd smelling hand with anti-bacterial soap. As I was doing so, I wondered whether there was a God-moment I could grasp for. I thought back to the morning when I had met with some other mums and we had looked at Ephesians 2 together. The verse which sprung to mind was verse 10;"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I held on to the fact that God created us mums to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do. This whole experience could quite easily go under the 'good works' title for sure, like the clause on a job description "And anything else the job requires".

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Big Fat Mistake

Previous post; Big Fat Love

After reading the story of Jonah to my son, I decided to have a read of it in my own picture-less, grown up bible. I managed to save myself a fair bit of embarrassment by not asking the husband which book of the bible I could find it in and started reading.

I just love how the bible is full of characters who completely mess up, making big fat mistakes, and Jonah is one of those characters. He chose to ignore the almighty, all-powerful creator of the universe, and then run away to Tarshish and hide from Him. As if God didn't know where Tarshish was! It's a little like playing Hide & Seek with my youngest; his best hiding place is either in the corner of a room or in the cupboard under the stairs, after he has told us of course, that he is going to hide in the cupboard under the stairs.

It's quite easy to judge Jonah, he did after all make some pretty foolish mistakes. But then again, it's quite easy to relate to the guy too. I swing between thinking I wouldn't even dream of disobeying God and hiding from Him, to realising that I probably do both regularly. I find that I can sometimes look at the boys in a similar way too. It's just so easy to see their foolish mistakes, in comparison with my own life. I mean I don't scream and stomp, I don't laugh at my brother when he's upset. I don't remember the last time I snatched something off someone. I don't break up Lego models because I'm desperate for one of the bricks. I don't think I've ever drawn on newly painted walls and I never say willy and bottom just to make people laugh.
(Okay, that last one might not actually be true).

Jonah looked at the people of Ninevah and only saw their foolish mistakes. He was angry, because God showed them mercy and compassion when they repented, instead of destroying them. After all, Jonah thought they deserved to be destroyed because they had disobeyed God. Hang on a minute there Jonah, didn't you do a similar thing? Didn't you disobey Him too? And didn't God show you mercy and compassion when you repented, in the belly of a big fish? What gives you the right to judge them?

That Jonah, constantly making more foolish mistakes. Maybe God shouldn't have shown him such grace, he just didn't deserve it. But then, hang on a minute Emma, don't you regularly do a similar thing? Don't you disobey God too? And doesn't He show you mercy and compassion when you repent? What gives you the right to judge Jonah, or your kids or anyone else for that matter?

Thankfully there is only one great judge, and He was merciful and compassionate towards Jonah and the people of Ninevah, because He judged Jesus for their sin instead. In fact, God is merciful and compassionate to all who repent of their foolish mistakes, all who repent of their sin. And thankfully, this includes me, and my kids and anyone else. Would any of us really want it any other way?

"Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.
Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it.
When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.
But you – who are you to judge your neighbour?"
James 4v11-12

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Big Fat Love

Previous Post; Big Fat NO

As I read the simple bible story of Jonah to my boy, I was struck again by God's mercy and unfathomable love, not only to a stubborn, disobedient character but also to a God-less city of thousands of people.

I explained to my son that God continued to show Jonah His love, by providing a vine to shade him from the sun, even when he was having a tantrum at God. I explained that God also showed His love to the undeserving people of Nineveh, by not destroying their city. It was a great way to lead into telling my son again about the cross. I explained to my boy, that not only has he done wrong things, but that I've done wrong things too. My son again reminded me of when I get cross at him, and I explained that that was exactly what I meant. I reminded him of when he says NO to me, or disobeys me, or does wrong things. I also named a few other people, including people he thought very highly of, and I said that they had all done wrong things too.

I talked to my boy about the fact that when he does wrong things, he needs to be told off and disciplined for it. Jonah's discipline was a little harsher than my boys get. I have never thrown them overboard nor have I caused a big fish to swallow them. (Something they should be a little more grateful for, I think!)

I explained that Jesus had never done anything naughty or wrong, so he never needed to be told off and yet he got really told off by His father, God. My boy asked me why Jesus got told off. And I delighted in telling him, that God loved him so much, He told Jesus off instead of him, and that God loved me so much, He told Jesus off instead of me. And that actually that telling off was really big, it meant Jesus had to die on a cross.

It was a great moment to share with my boy, that every time he says NO, or gets cross, or is selfish, God keeps on loving him. And that every time I get cross, or I am selfish or I say NO (or 'not yet') to God, God keeps on loving me. He just can't stop loving us both, like He couldn't stop from loving Jonah or the people of Nineveh. My boy smiled and I smiled with him, because it is just such a wonderful truth to dwell on, even for just a minute before bedtime.

"keep yourselves in God’s love
as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."
Jude 1v21

Next post; Big Fat Mistake

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Big Fat NO!

Tonight's bedtime story for my four year old was that of Jonah. As I read the story, I realised that I was about to tell a story about disobedience, to a child who sometimes tries the whole concept of disobedience, so I thought this would either be a great teaching opportunity or a whole lot of fun!

I made the point clearly, that Jonah said a big fat NO to God and then he ran away from God. We read that after Jonah had said NO, God sent a fierce storm and then a fish to swallow him up. My son reminded me that when he says NO, I sometimes get cross, and then he proceeded to show me the cross face that I do. Putting that to one side, I started to explain to him that God knew what was best for Jonah, in the same way that God knows what is best for him, and that saying YES to mummy and daddy is part of that.

We looked at what happened to Jonah when he had said NO to God, and my boy asked me why Jonah had said NO. I explained that Jonah thought his way was better, and he wanted to do his own thing, in the same way that when my son says NO to me, he is saying that he knows better and he wants to do his own thing.

We then read how, in the belly of a big fish, Jonah said sorry to God and then said a big fat YES to Him. Jonah finally obeyed what God had asked him to do. I explained to my boy, that asking him to say YES to us, was us training him to say YES to God. I told him that as he got older, God was going to ask him to follow Him. God was going to ask my boy to go places, to give money to the church, to marry someone who loved Jesus, and that we want him to say YES to God when He asks him to do these and many other things.

I think it helped me realise again why I spend hours and hours a day training these little people I've been entrusted with. Any older person will tell you that these young years fly by so fast, and it's true. My boys are only going to be little children for a little while, especially in comparison with their adult years, and more importantly, eternity. So with God's help and grace I need to make the most of these training years, to ensure they get the knowledge, security and tools they need to go into their adult years. God has great plans and purposes for them. He wants to use them. He wants to use their strengths and their weaknesses. He wants them to say YES to Him, to follow Him and to serve Him.
Why? Because He wants good, well-behaved children? Big Fat NO, because He wants obedient radical sons trained up and passionate for His kingdom and His glory.

Bring on tomorrow's training!

"In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome, 
for everyone born of God overcomes the world."
1 John 5v3-4
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
 ‘Honour your father and mother’– which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
Ephesians 6v1-3

Next Post; Big Fat Love

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Smiley Faces & Sad Faces

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
Romans 12v15

This verse seems to sum up some aspects of motherhood. Laying in my bed last night, on top of 'vomit protective' towels with my poorly sad two year old, made me really feel for him. But doing the 'wee wee' dance with him, when he gets one in the potty is something to rejoice over.

Celebrating my son's high tree climb in gale force winds is something to 'whoop-whoop' over, and even video but comfort is required and a sadness is felt when he falls over at school and cracks his head open.

Smiley faces all round when my four year old comes home with a certificate, but sad faces arrive when I realise that I should have emptied the book bag sooner as the certificate is a few days old and now he's crying that I celebrated on the wrong day.

A high-five for my eldest who gets invited out to a friend's party, but an understanding hug for when one of his friends shows a lack of care towards him.

There are times when I rejoice with the boys and times I rejoice for them, when they don't know about it. Likewise, there are times when I mourn with them, and times I mourn for them. I can only guess that this will continue as they grow up. Sometimes I'm much better at the 'whoop-whoop, smiley, dancing, high-five' moments. They're definitely the more fun moments to experience together. The understanding, 'I'm sorry for you' moments, can be harder moments to go through, especially if I'm busy or if they're over reacting, or they're tired. If they're feeling sorry for themselves or sin is involved, then it is tougher to stop and hear them out. 

I know how important it is to enjoy their smiley face moments, and teach them that all good moments are a gift from God. But I know it is just as important to try and understand where they are coming from during their sad face times; to listen and mourn with them and teach them through their mourning. I seem to recall the occasional moment (and the rest) where I've over-reacted, or been emotional due to tiredness or felt sorry for myself, even when sin is involved. And in those moments I know that my Heavenly Father is totally available for me. He loves when I share my joyful moments with Him and equally He is willing to listen to my cry or rant, regardless of where my heart is at. I want to show my boys a glimpse of God's care for them by rejoicing with them and mourning with them. Again, His unconditional love and fathering of me inspires me to be a better mum, through the laughter and the tears.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Following In Father's Footsteps

Recently we had a family holiday which was everything it needed to be; sun, sea, rock climbing, cave exploring, ice creams, extra adults to buy those ice creams and a giant dead crab. It was relaxing and tan-enhancing for me, whilst being exciting, sandy, wet and adventurous for four little boys (and one big one).

There were two moments on holiday, where I caught glimpses of my little boys growing into little men. One moment involved my eldest boy. Me, him and the husband had gone rock climbing to look at some caves. The husband had jumped across some water and assured me that when I jumped I wouldn't fall over, even though it was extremely slippery and I was wearing flip flops. As I picked my self up from the inevitable fall, my emotions got the better of me. The husband asked my eldest to step away while I told the husband off, cried at him, forgave him and hugged him as I started to put my really sensible flip flops back on.

We carried on with the adventure; the husband's trainers on my feet and the husband sporting a nice pair of green flips flops. My eldest stayed close by, reassuring me, telling me how great I was doing, looking after me, and finding an easier route for me to climb. Part of me wanted to tell him that I was totally fine and that he should stop fussing, but I knew he was doing what his dad had taught him. He was being a little man!

The second moment involved my four year-old. We had gone for a walk in a forest, and the route back involved walking down quite a steep hill. The descent needed tiny little steps to stay upright. I had the buggy to keep me balanced and the husband and his brother were making headway with the boys. At this point, my son looked back up the hill to see my sister in law teetering down the hill on her own. He walked back up the hill., and after telling her that he was going to marry someone even prettier than her, he handed her a big stick. He had been using the branch to keep his balance as he scrambled down the hill. He told her that she needed it more than he did. He also said that because she was a lady, it was his job to help her. My little boy was being a little man.

I was just so proud of my little men. They were following in their father's footsteps; learning to care for the ladies in their lives and preparing to be considerate husbands.

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives,
and treat them with respect as the weaker partner
and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life,
so that nothing will hinder your prayers."   1 Peter 3v7