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.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Life Of a Dishcloth (Part Two)

So now I have this daily reminder that the life of a dishcloth is not dissimilar to my own life; the clean ups, the dryness at times, the smell and the daily soakings. It got me thinking even more about the dishcloth. I guess when you spend a lot of time with the same object, such as the time I spend with my dishcloth, you start to bond....Who knows tomorrow's blog may be about the hoover!

Anyway, I felt God remind me of another cloth which was in the kitchen drawer; 
a new, pretty, flowery cloth!
I knew that God was telling me that He doesn't look at me and see a dirty, stained, smelly cloth. That's what I once was before I knew Jesus. Before He had redeemed me, and in fact when He met me, I was dirty, I was stained and I carried the stench of sin on me. I was less like a dishcloth and more like an gross old rag. That's what sin looks like. And no amount of cleaning that rag in my own strength, with my own methods would make it anywhere near clean. In the same way that  when my son took a sip of bleach, he was actually no cleaner. (He just smelt like a swimming pool and the A&E nurse sent us back home!)

But when Jesus died on the cross, He took all the dirt, the stains, the stench and put them all on Him. They died with Him and in return, I got His beauty and His Righteousness. He took a dirty old rag and replaced it with a beautiful, clean, stain free, flowery, unused cloth, in really loose analogy terms of course! He never sees me like my dishcloth on it's worst days, He sees me as a completely new creation. Not a better version of the old, but something completely new. What an identity!

In order to remain in the truth of this identity, I still need to soak in God's presence, His truth, His word. Otherwise I will start to see myself as the old rag again and that's just not who I am. The times when I feel like that old, stained rag, or yesterday's dishcloth, are the times I have let myself dry out on the side, rather than soak in the truth of what Jesus has done for me and the truth of who I am in Him. Ah how the life of a dishcloth can mirror my life indeed!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
        the old has gone, the new has come!"
                                                                 2Corinthians 5v17

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Life Of a Dishcloth (Part One)

Last Sunday at church, one of the elders had a picture of a dried up dish cloth. He said that God had shown him a picture of a cloth on the side of a sink, which was dry and really in need of getting in the water. 
I thought of the cloth which lives on the side of my sink, at home. It does get used quite a lot; slaving away at the plates and mugs and saucepans, wiping the table after breakfast, lunch and dinner, clearing up spills of milk, juice and coffee.

The life of a mother and the life of a dishcloth are closely intertwined it seems. The dish cloth can look quite tired and worn out. Yep, that sounded like me that day. The dish cloth can become easily stained as it delves into whatever mess it has to clear up. Yep, me again. Sometimes I look at my clothes at the end of the day and I can't even name what it is that has found it's way onto me. (The worst of these moments is when there is no time to change and we're out at a church meeting or guests arrive for dinner!) The dish cloth can even start to smell a bit, that slightly stagnant smell. Ditto! Ah how the life of a dishcloth can mirror my life indeed! I was feeling all washed up on the side of the sink of life.The every day jobs, (which I'd started seeing as chores) of being a mum and a wife had left me feeling washed up, dried up, stained, over used and possibly verging on smelling quite bad too! Was God really telling an elder at church that I was in need of a shower?

I knew that the cloth on the side of my sink was in desperate need of a soaking. In it's dried up state it was of no use to anyone. It needed to soak in hot, soapy water, washing powder and even bleach. Thankfully God wasn't telling me publicly that I needed to have a shower, but instead that I needed a good soak. So I told the elder that I was indeed the dishcloth, and He and some female friends prayed for me. My Heavenly Father was gently reminding me yet again to come into His loving arms and soak in Him. I humbly came into His presence and asked Him to revive and refresh this worn out, tired and stained old dish cloth. In my dried up state, I too was of no use to anyone. I realised that 'serving' only feels like chores when I'm not soaking in God. Stains only feel permanent when I'm not soaking in the truth of being washed clean. Feeling tired and worn out just remain the same, unless I jump into Living Water. And even that  unpleasant stagnant smell only leaves with a good soak in Radox. Now when I look at the dish cloth on the side of the sink, I do smile at the life that it has, and the reminder that it holds for me.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,

that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,"
                                                                                  Acts 3v19

I reckon there is more to say on The Life Of a Dishcloth.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Today my son lied to me. One of those 'little' lies. He said a no when he should have said a yes. When I asked him why? He shrugged. He wasnt sure, it just happened, he just didn't want to get in trouble.

Yesterday I lied to a mum on the school run. One of those 'little' lies. I said a yes when I should have said a no. I asked myself why? I shrugged. I wasn't sure, it just happened, I just wanted her to like me.

Why did we lie? Because we both feared man, more than we feared God. My son feared a telling off, so he quickly lied. And I feared the mum's rejection, so I quickly lied. If we had both feared God, we wouldn't have worried what man thought. We would have cared what God thought, and we would have told the truth! We would have both realised that a 'little' lie, is a lie. A lie is a sin. And God hates sin.

My son was disciplined because he had lied to me. And he had to say sorry, but was quickly forgiven. I humbly had to tell the mum I had lied to her, but was quickly 'let off' (as opposed to forgiven). And I had to say sorry to God, because the sin was actually against Him. Thankfully, I was quickly forgiven.

"Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart."

                                                      Psalm 51v6

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


A blog post written by a pregnant, overdue friend of mine. (Wife of 'One Blue Toothbrush')

Navel Gazing; (Oxford Dictionary Definition) 'complacent concentration on oneself or a single issue at the expense of a wider view'.

The last 6 days have been challenging. I have been somewhat absorbed in waiting for the arrival of the next Simmo baby! On Monday I had a few quiet moments while the two big girls were at school and the little one was sleeping, so I decided to open my bible. I have started reading the Chronological Bible this year; I’m a few days behind but turned to the right date and read “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man” Job 38:1-3

Ouch!! There I was thinking I was going to turn to a comforting piece of scripture and instead my heavenly Dad, who loves me and delights in me, thought it was time I stopped sulking and started looking up! In the passage, God continues to question Job; asking Job where he was while He was creating. As I read on I felt my gaze lifted to the God of heaven who holds all things in His hands and is more than able to sustain me in the last weeks of pregnancy. 

Since then I’d love to say that I have responded with grace to all those well meaning people who ask if I’m ‘still here?’ or ask 'has the baby come yet?', I'd love to say that I’ve been kind to the girls when they’ve frustrated me, that I’ve put Matt first but it wouldn’t be true! However there have definitely been times when I’ve chosen to lift my eyes off myself and onto the One who can help me.

Today, I could have chosen to stay shut away, waiting impatiently for this baby or instead believe that God has things for me to do today. It was such a joy to be able to pray with a friend this morning, to help lift her gaze, to point her to Jesus and hopefully encourage her. 

Lifting our eyes off of ourselves and our circumstances and fixing our eyes on our Heavenly Father changes everything. It changes our perspective to look to the One who has laid the foundations of the earth. Declaring truth to one another and to ourselves gives strength and stops us navel-gazing!

“I lift my eyes up to the hill. 
From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.”
                                   Psalm 121:1

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Marlon and Me

A rare treat in our house; my son chose 'Finding Nemo' to watch today. It's a treat because the older two have grown out of it, or so they think. And the younger two (influenced by their older brothers) tend to choose films with spies in them, or superhero dogs or Jedi knights. So I was happy that calm and gentle Nemo was chosen today. I made the choice to sit and watch it with them, zone out for a while, rather than think about the washing and the dirty plates which wanted my attention.

As I was watching, I realised that the whole story of Nemo getting lost, is pretty much all his dad Marlon's fault. He starts off a bit on the over protective side; so fearful for his son. He jumps to the wrong conclusion about Nemo. He assumes he was about to make a bad choice, and swim out to the butt. But actually Nemo was explaining to his friends that his dad wouldn't want him to. He then doesn't listen to Nemo, and then embarrasses Nemo in front of his friends!

Oh Marlon, why must you remind me of my own parenting? Must I really compare myself to a Clown Fish? Why cant I just watch the film, and enjoy it? I don't want to be challenged about not listening to my children. I don't want to think that there is the possibility that I may jump to the wrong conclusions about their actions. I definitely don't want to think that sometimes I tell them off publicly and embarrass them, rather than deal with their behaviour in private. It would have been easier to go and do the washing and the dirty plates, rather than think about these things.

Oh Marlon, Marlon, Marlon why wont you accept Dory's help, when you need it to help your son? Are you really that proud? She may have a few issues, but does that mean you can't give her the time of day? I wonder if I've missed someone's advice because I've pre judged them? Or missed their help because I was too proud? What if they were right? What if they could actually speak whale?

Marlon, my fishy friend, I watch and see how wrong you get it, but I also see the love that you have for your boy. And I'm happy to compare myself to you now. You make some bad choices, and you do let your boy down. But you do fight for his life, you do go to extreme measures in order to rescue him. Like any good parent, you happily take on the jelly fish!

As I watch the film, I start thinking. Im drawn to think about my Heavenly Father's parenting of me. I think about how grateful I am, that He never makes bad choices. He never embarrasses me. He always knows my heart's motivation behind my actions. He always listens to me. He protects me but allows me to make my own choices. He still accepts me when I mess up in my pride and swim towards the butt! He most victoriously fought for my life when I deserved death, and He went to extreme measures to rescue me!

I also get to thinking that if I'm comparing myself to a fish, then I should probably turn the television off and get out a bit more!

 "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
 but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,
  by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.."
                                                                                             Romans 8v15-16

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Heavenly Jelly

This morning, my four year old was taunting his younger brother by holding his new Christmas present just out of reach. The way that only an older sibling knows how to. (I would know, I have one!) When I questioned his actions, he explained that he was helping his little brother to be selfless!

Now we do use the 'selfless' word quite a lot in our household, but I guess after hearing his response, it needs more teaching into! We give the boys lots of opportunities to be selfless. When there is only one jelly available after dinner, we explain that some boys need to be selfless and go without, and let their brother have it. 
When it's DVD time, everyone chooses their favourite, and then we ask who is going to be selfless and let their brother have the best.

One of my boys is naturally more selfless. He is made in the image of God, as all of us are, but this characteristic really shines brightly through him. He recently asked us if he needs to be selfless every time, and to be honest, I understand why he would ask. He regularly sacrifices what is best for him, in order that one of his brothers has the best instead. So much so, that we have to choose for him sometimes, so that he does get to enjoy a jelly or a DVD at times.

Sometimes it's hard to give the right answers to the boys. Sometimes I want to soften the blow of the gospel. It is shocking. But softening the blow of the gospel, would result in me watering down the word of God, which I definitely don't want to do! But the answer to his question is 'Yes'. Yes he is to be selfless every time. And not in a legalistic way, but in recognition of God's selfless, undeserved grace that He shows us. Every time we are selfless, we are remembering how selfless God the father is. He gave us His only son to die in our place, for our sins, and take the punishment we deserve. And every time we are selfless, we are worshipping Him! So, the answer to my son was  a resounding yes. Not a watered down, "No it's okay to put yourself first sometimes" response, to make it easier for him. But what a challenge it was to say that Yes to him. Thankfully of course, that 'Yes' comes with great grace, and I get to teach him that too. I also get to teach him that what he gives up here, His Heavenly Father will give him back many times over - Heavenly jelly probably rocks!

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
 not looking to your own interests
 but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2V3-4

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I Want It Now!

Over Christmas, we watched some great old films with the boys; 'Honey I shrunk the kids', 'Home Alone' with the oldest and one of my favourites, 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate factory'. Once the boys got over the hilarity of 'willy' being in the title of the film, they watched in awe at all the magical moments which I remember enjoying as a little girl. One of my favourite scenes features the wallpaper that you can lick which tastes of strawberries and snozzberries. In my magical childhood world, this would be wonderful. In reality, as a mum, I think this would be sticky and unhygienic and my walls would be covered in spit!

I love the characters in the film. If I could choose a part to play, I would go for Veruca Salt. She is immense! She is spoilt, demanding, selfish, precocious, arrogant and she has her daddy wrapped around her little finger. She wants an Oompa Loompa, she wants a golden goose, she wants pink macaroons and a million balloons and performing baboons, (who wouldn't?) And she wants it now!

And thus Veruca, what a teaching point you are....

As my boys watched her, I told them that they would be just like her if I never disciplined them, if I never told them off, if I never said no to them. If I said yes to all their demands and gave them all they wanted, they would be just like Veruca Salt. The four year old didn't necessarily see what was wrong with this wonderful spirited girl, she looked like a lot of fun! But my older two really saw what I was saying and didn't like her ugly characteristics. I explained to them that Veruca was the one in charge in their family. She got whatever she wanted and her daddy hadn't done her any favours by giving into her. I explained that actually Veruca was not to blame. Her daddy should have disciplined her.

As the Oompa Loompas sing their song, and you will be tempted to as you read; "Who do you blame when your kid is a brat, Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat? Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame, You know exactly who to blame: The mother and the father!". They were obviously paraphrasing Proverbs 13v24; "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them."

Even though the Oompa Loompa's version comes with an upbeat song, dungarees and a dance routine, the proverbs verse seems to come with more of a punch. It suggests that Veruca's dad, through his lack of discipline, was actually hating his daughter. If he had said 'no' to her and disciplined her in the right way, he would have shown his love to her! It was a helpful moment for the boys to grasp. And as usual, it's a helpful moment for me to grasp too.Thankfully God knows that if he gave me everything I wanted, whenever I wanted it, I would end up going down the 'Bad Egg' shoot, like Veruca did. Instead in His love, He sometimes has to discipline me and say 'no' to me, no matter how much I make a song and dance of it!

Friday, 6 January 2012

This One's For You

So my New Year's resolution last year was to write a blog about every day life as a mum and a wife, honing in on the moments where God reveals Himself more to me. I think it's the only resolution I've ever kept. And it's been much more enjoyable than giving up chocolate! I have a couple of personal favourites; What's On Your Finger and When The Fog Clears. They are quite different from each other; one made me laugh and one made me cry. But that seems to be how it is as a mum. The husband's most memorable post is Come On Lad. And I like that one is simply called Knickers!

For the stat lovers out there, or just for the husband, I wrote 75 posts in 2011, and had 20,300 views. One Pink Toothbrush has been viewed in several countries; India, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Pakistan, Canada, Qatar, Ukraine, Australia, Russia, Venezuela, Lebanon, America, United Arab Emirates, Poland, and New Zealand to name but a few. Oh and a few from Brighton! I have read many encouraging comments and messages about the blog, and not just from my mum, (although she is my biggest fan).

So, in true Oscar style, this one's for you! I would like to thank everyone who has read a post, shared a post, stumbled across a post by accident on Facebook, been interviewed for a post, written a post or just said something which has ended up in a post! I'd like to thank the husband for his role as 'the husband', and my four little boys who keep me and others entertained. And of course, I want to thank God for using my crazy moments to draw me closer to Him and to somehow bless and encourage others, especially other mums. The wonderful fact that God chooses to use the weak so that He may show His strength will always astound me. He could've chosen to use a perfect mum to write a blog about her perfect children, but she and they just don't exist, so you've got me instead! With gratitude in my heart, thank you for reading.

 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
 and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3v16