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, 16 January 2013

Mothering & Working

This is an interview with a friend of mine, who has three children and works both in and out of the home. It is the sixth post in the Mothering series.

What job do you do and how often do you work?
I am a solicitor and I work 3 days a week.

Why do you work?
I find it provides a helpful balance. When I had my first daughter I was going a bit stir crazy as a 'stay at home mum' which was leading me to resent her. When she was 18 months old, I got a call out of the blue from my old boss about a job in Brighton. I had been looking for a job in Brighton for 2 years before I fell pregnant and so to suddenly have a good job fall into my lap felt like real provision from God. Now that I have two more children I still find that it works well for us as a family for me to be working. This is partly a question of finances and partly a question of my character.
Both my mum and my mum-in-law worked while they had children, so for both me and my husband there was a precedent of mothers being busy both outside and inside the home.

I have some great friends and colleagues at work. I am the only Christian that many of them have in their lives and I am open about my faith. I feel that God has a role for me in demonstrating His love to them in what can be a highly pressured environment.

Did you always want to return to work after having kids?
I had anticipated taking a long-ish career break after having my first daughter.
I knew I could not/would not go back to commuting to London for my job as the demands did not fit with having a family (it didn’t really fit all that well with having a husband). I always expected that I would go back to work at some point, it was just a matter of the right opportunity arising at the right time. 

How did going back to work make you feel?
I felt a whole range of emotions on going back to work. Any change that momentous is going to stir things up. I felt anxious about my daughter at nursery and guilt on the mornings she didn’t want me to leave her there. I felt relief to once again use my lawyer brain and happy to be able to go to the toilet on my own and make myself a cup of tea when I wanted one. Each time I’ve gone back to work we’ve reassessed whether it’s the right thing and agreed to revisit it after 3 months when things have settled.

Who are your children with, when you're at work?
My older two both went to nursery and thrived on it. The juggling with two at school and one at home was just too much and so we used a childminder for about a year. When she moved on we employed a nanny.

When you're at work, do you think about the kids? How do you feel about not being with them?
Of course I think about the kids when I’m at work and they’re part of my conversations with my colleagues too. I look up and check the weather when it’s time for the school run and I remember where they are and what they’re doing throughout the day. I know that they are safe and well looked after and so I feel comfortable about not being with them. I don’t turn off the “primary carer” role just because they aren’t physically in my care. I trust and like my nanny, so I don’t worry or feel guilty about the children being with her.

Is it hard juggling work and time with the kids?
Life is full on with three kids whether you’re working or not. In some ways it’s easier to be working because I can afford to employ a cleaner. I can pop to the shops in my lunch break for the things we’ve run out of at home. Or go and buy school fancy dress or birthday presents or any of the other emergencies that life throws at you. In other ways it’s hard not to be the one picking them up from school and enjoying music groups etc with them.

My job is quite demanding and being a mother does mean I have to say no to things at work and make it clear that I have commitments outside work that I can’t break. I do feel at times that I have to fight to keep work contained into my three days. It would easily spill over if I let it.

How do other people react to you being a working mum? 
I don’t know if people judge me for working, but I do feel a residual guilt as a Christian mother who has chosen to work. It’s easy to get the impression in church circles that mothers don’t work, which is perhaps because the non-working mothers are more visible. This is compounded by the fact that the more traditional model of family, is for mothers not to work. I do find that some people at church are still somewhat tied to the more traditional family model, which can be hurtful at times though it’s not intended. (I keep Deborah, Lydia and the Wife of Noble Character (Prov 31) in reserve for any awkward conversations).

For me, it has been a challenge to be very clear on why I am working. I keep reassessing with my husband, if it is the right thing for us as a family. I do still feel the “mummy guilt” every now and then, because as a mother you absolutely want what is best for your kids and can worry that you are not doing your best. I’m confident for now, that me working is for the best but I’m open to that changing.

How do your kids feel about you working? 
I think that if I asked them they would say they’d rather I was with them all the time, but if they had what they wished for I expect they might change their minds!

What's the best and hardest thing about you working?
The best thing is being able to be myself; both lawyer and mother. I wouldn’t manage to be myself if I did only one of the two roles. The hardest things are leaving my littlest with the nanny in the morning and not being the one to pick my big two up from school.

Do you think your kids miss out or get the best out of you because you work?
I think they get the best out of me because I work, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t miss out on other things.

Are there any worship songs which have blessed you in this season?
Lou Fellingham’s “Promised Land” because it talks of the magnificence of Jesus and His salvation but also underlines that we’re pressing on towards something more as we go through life. It helps to give me perspective. It also reminds me that I am His and whatever I do each day, it is all His and it is all for Him. There’s one line: “With the Spirit’s help I can journey on”, sometimes I’m simply clinging on to that in both work-life and home-life but that’s all He asks of me. The whole album is a real help and encouragement to me.

What has God taught you about Himself, while being a working mum?
God has taught me that He is faithful and reliable. I firmly believe that he has sent me this job and that he has had the childcare in hand. The childminder was perfect for her season and now our nanny is perfect for this season. He sent them both to us.

What has God taught you about yourself?
I find that being a working mum can leave me quite isolated. I drew a lot of support and friendship from other women in the church when I was on maternity leave but my working pattern means I can’t now attend the Mums’ Prayer meetings. There are times when I feel I’m out there on my own. The consequence for me of feeling out there on my own and facing the constant juggling is to fall into self-sufficiency. This is, of course total madness as there’s no way I can do it all on my own. I’m now meeting up with a friend more regularly who is brilliant at bringing things back to Jesus and at encouraging me in my faith.

How do you feel about being a mum? It's the most challenging, rewarding, frustrating, relentless, joyous thing I could ever imagine. It's a real privilege and responsibility but so full of laughter at the same time. I love it.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mothering Many

This is an interview with a mother who has nine children. It is the fifth post in the Mothering  series. It's quite a long one, but definitely worth a read, because it has holds such richness for us mums to grab hold of. So put the kettle on and sit at the feet of a mum who has gone before us.

How many children do you have?
I have 9 children aged 12 to 31. My kids were 18, 17, 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, 3, when I had a new born.

Did you (and hubby) always want a big family?
We prayed about birth control. I saw in the Bible that children are a blessing from God, and believed that God is the ultimate planner. We received faith from God to trust Him as much as possible with planning our family. Whether He would give us ANY children was up to Him. He kept giving us fresh faith to receive another baby. It wasn't a one-time decision; we needed to receive grace and faith from God often along the way. We wanted to welcome any child God would send us. We often felt that we were "in over our heads", even when we only had ONE child, so clearly it was not about our feelings of inadequacy, but about God's grace giving us all we needed to do what He called us to do.

What is the best thing about having a large family?
I LOVE seeing my kids love each other. We recently had a family vacation, 20 of us together at the beach; our grown kids, the youngest few still living at home, plus spouses, a fiance and our kids' kids. A richness of relationships. My husband and I can hardly believe how RICH we feel. It is worth every bit of time and energy invested.

What is the hardest thing about having a large family?
The stretching of resources, although as my husband says, "you can't out-give God". Somehow He has given us all we have ever needed.

Was there a particular stage of development you really enjoyed/found hard?
Having only pre-schoolers is hard because you spend all day giving, with no adult conversation. I found it important to make sure to schedule at least one get-together with a friend each week.
From age 6 to 10 is a fun time where they are fairly capable, but you still can be in control of most things. With the teens, the challenge is to give them increasing
freedom and responsibility; becoming more of a coach or helper. It is scary, since there is a lot of trouble they can get into if they make bad choices. Remaining sane through this stage requires putting your hope and trust in God, which we have had varying degrees of success with. Any feeling of control that we might have is an illusion. As Christians we know the One who IS in control, and can go to Him for help, grace and wisdom. He loves our kids more than we do.

Was mothering many easy for you?
Life is not easy. So no, it was not easy. There are a lot of years of sowing into children with little return. God knew this, so he made these little ones cute. But the cutest little cherubs know how to bring out the wrath of mom. Previous to having kids I thought I was pretty easy going, but found out how mad I could get when crossed.

What does God thinks about mothers?
"He gently leads those who have young" Isaiah 40:11. God is not a cruel taskmaster but a kind and loving father. By His grace, He will not give a mother more than she can handle. He sees every sacrifice a mother makes and collects every tear in a bottle. He is merciful toward us and doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. It is so easy for moms to feel guilty about not doing enough or not loving them enough. They can beat themselves up over it, but God is not looking at us that way.

Did you manage to spend time with God while having little ones?
A scheduled ‘time with God’ went out the window with the birth of my first child. Maybe I'm just not that good at keeping a schedule. But God doesn't care about the scheduled times we think we need to have with Him. He wants all of us, all of the time. I had seasons of talking to him throughout the day. My best times with God were in the night; awake because of pregnancy, awake because of a crying or sick child. I used to get so irritated, lying there wakeful, thinking of how tired I'd be the next day. I began to keep my Bible by my bed, and would read it when I couldn't sleep. You always get something good from reading the Bible; maybe inspiring or comforting things about who God is and what He is like. Other times, He speaks something intensely personal that changes your life and fills you with hope and joy. I used to feel guilty, that God had to speak to me in the night, since I ignored Him all day. As if it was second best. Now I see it was His provision for me and that He was thrilled to meet with me then.

How did having so many children benefit or hinder your children?
People lament being an only child, being an ignored middle child, having to be the oldest one who cared for younger brothers and sisters, being the youngest in the family who got dumped on by everyone else. By the grace of God, He uses our circumstances to bless us, even what we perceive as difficult. One benefit is that they were actually needed to help run things at home, so they learnt to serve.
I am sure that various kids, at various times felt like they didn't get enough attention from me, but they seem to have come out of it ok. They probably have had opportunities to go to God for inner healing. I really love getting to see all the good things that God has put into them.
Having Simon our youngest born with special needs (he has Down syndrome) may have been the biggest blessing of all of us. He has taught us about the love of God not being dependant on our accomplishments or abilities. His brothers and sisters all did a lot to help him, and loved on him and played with him.

What did God teach you about Himself?
"In that day they will say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation" 
Isaiah 25v9. He never disappoints those who hope in Him.
I used to cling to the verse that says "I was young and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Now I am ‘older’, I can say it is true. He is faithful, even when we are not.

What did you learn about yourself?
There is not an unselfish bone in my body except for what the Holy Spirit does in and through me.

Were you a perfect mum?
I definitely did not feel like I was cut out to be a mom. After my first baby was born, though, I found out that the love God puts in a mother's heart makes it all different. Not that I didn't grumble and complain often. The way God has done most of His work in me, is through being a mom. A perfect Mom is not someone who holds up a standard that no one can reach, but someone who is growing. It involves being honest about your weaknesses, asking the kids' forgiveness when you sin against them, sharing with them what you are learning from God and what you love about God. It is about loving and following God in front of your children.

Would you encourage mums to have lots of children?
I would encourage them to obey God. It is not about how many children you have. I would encourage them to go for what God puts in their hearts, and not listen to the wisdom of the world, or others pushing their views on them. He will be their provision in every way.

What advice would you give any mum?
Do not compare yourself with other Moms. Comparisons kill. Either you come out feeling above or below others, proud or depressed, neither being how God is looking at you. I wasted way too much time doing that. It is a fight not to do that. Paul talks in 2 Corinthians 10v12 about "when they measure themselves by one another...they are without understanding." I think another version says they are foolish. Thinking you should be like someone else also robs you of your uniqueness. God gave YOU your kids, not someone else.

Did you still manage to have time with your hubby?
This was a challenge. Kids need your attention physically and emotionally all day (and night) which can leave you depleted for your husband. I was far from perfect about this, but it is important to put his needs before mine. God helped me with this. Bill needed to have grace for me too. Somehow we did manage to grab bits of time to connect with each other. Once our oldest was old enough to be in charge of the others, we had a weekly breakfast date. Early morning, the beginning of the day, the kids didn't have much time to cook up

How did you raise your kids spiritually?
First, I just tried to keep on following and responding to Jesus myself. A full life in God is attractive. We prayed for them, and still do. We read Scripture aloud together, which my husband was and is especially good about. He doesn't let squabbling, complaining, or fidgety kids keep it from happening. We would all sit around the living room, and each person who could read had a turn to read a verse. Younger kids just sat and listened, often in Dad's lap. Sometimes Bill would assign parts to various kids; a narrator and someone to say each character's lines.
Sometimes we memorized Scriptures together. We would recite them at the dinner table. Bill would recite them when tucking kids into bed. I put some to little tunes that the kids can still sing/recite 25 years later (and laugh about). We often felt we should have done more. There were gaps of time when we were struggling or distracted, but every bit adds up, like drops filling up a bucket over time. Nothing good is wasted.

We included our kids in what we were doing in church, prayer meetings and sitting with us during the preach. We worshipped at home together with the kids, giving them instruments, and having a lot of fun.
We are a team, and welcomed people into our home together. Kids served by helping visiting kids feel at home, so we could chat with the adults after dinner.
They might take coats at the door or set or clear the table. They knew we were serving people because Jesus loves people. They would help fix a meal to take to another family. Bill would take older kids to help people move house. Kids had chores, since every member of the team contributes to the running of our home.

Did you find discipline hard with so many?
By God's grace, it seemed that there was only one issue to deal with at a time. We trained the older kids and they set an example to the younger ones. Younger kids learn that this is the way we do things in this family. We spanked kids for disrespect, defiance, and wilfull disobedience. We were not perfect about this or anything else. We let them know that we were doing our best to obey Jesus, and that we were responsible to teach them to have a willing heart of obedience. We aimed to never spank in anger.
The biggest offence in our home was to disrespect mom. Bill always backed me up, which really helped them obey me when he wasn't home. I am really thankful for his support in this. This is a hard situation for single moms, not having the back-up. We noticed the three day pattern; realising there was a big discipline issue that needed to be addressed (these sneak up on you gradually) we got serious about dealing with it, and we pretty much always saw results by the third day.

What's the best thing about being a mum?
To be completely honest, all my material that is worth anything is His. My mothering life has been one rescue after another by His Holy Spirit giving me wisdom, endurance, and conviction of my own sin. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is the most rewarding.

And now, looking back...
This morning, I was reading Psalms 127 & 128, and I am tearing up over how generous God has been to me. "BEHOLD: Children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." Looking back, I can see how as my husband and I have trusted the LORD to build our house, our labor has brought reward. And that reward has ten times more worth than all we have put into raising our children (well in our case, 9 times more). There are blessings that we are receiving from and through them as they are becoming adults. We are seeing them love God and throw themselves into His purposes. God has multiplied our efforts, and now we get to also be part of all He is doing through them!

Assuming some of those reading my interview are considering having a lotta kids, I want to encourage anyone feeling God tugging you in that direction to go for it! "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." But if the LORD is building your house, your labor will bring a huge reward. "Those who sow generously will also reap generously". 2 Corinthians 9:6


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mothering Twins

This is an interview with a friend of mine and is the fourth in the Mothering series...

How did you react when you found out you were having twins?
We found out at the 12 week scan and obviously were just hoping that the 'baby' was healthy. When we were told there were two babies in there, our initial reaction was shock! For me it was very exciting news to receive, I felt really special straight away, knowing that God doesn't make mistakes and must know we could handle it. Then I remember asking James how we'd get a double buggy through our front door?! We left the hospital muttering "Wow" every few yards. We definitely felt that it was a huge blessing.
How did your son Frank deal with the double addition? 
After the excitement my thoughts turned to Frank. He was just over a year at the time and I knew the babies would make quite an impact. Newborns obviously take up a lot of attention but 2 of them would mean making extra effort to spend time with Frank and make him feel special.
How was your pregnancy?
 I felt really sick for the first  20 weeks. That was so hard. We had just moved house and I was a nightmare. James would come home from work in London and do most of the cooking, cleaning, unpacking boxes that I'd left- I had no motivation which is really unlike me. James had A LOT of grace for me at that time!
The twins are identical and shared 1 placenta (blood supply/oxygen) which meant we had to go to hospital every 2 weeks so the specialist could scan and check for something called 'twin to twin transfusion', (a rare condition that occurs in identical twins which causes one baby to take more blood/oxygen than the other). If one started to grow disproportionately larger then the doctors would need to intervene and operate as the weaker baby could die if not. So every couple of weeks we would be praying that all was well with the babies. Always such a relief to leave the hospital after hearing everything was fine with them both. 

I was concerned about the delivery. I wasn't allowed to have them naturally because of the twin to twin transfusion issue which is a big risk with a natural birth, so the specialist booked me in for a c-section. Not only was I scared about the operation but also the fact that I wouldn't be able to lift Frank once the babies were born and I wanted to be there for him. I was also concerned about feeding them.

 I had breast fed Frank and wanted the same for the twins but unless I fed them at the same time (tandem feeding) I would be sat there for hours.

Did you think you'd cope with two?

James was and is such a great man. It was never a case of "would I cope?" as he was so supportive and had committed to being there for me and Frank. We went to a twin consultant we knew from church who was a midwife and is a mum of twins, and she prepared us for what to expect. Our parents live roughly 3 hours away from Brighton so neither set of grandparents would be around day to day. It was clear that this would be a team effort for us both. I knew we would cope. I knew that God had given us these babies and we needed to trust Him if we were to enjoy the experience.

When they were born, what were your fears and feelings?

As soon as they were born, Jude was taken up to Special Care as his blood sugar was very low. I was high on morphine so not really aware of the seriousness of the situation. Once I came round it was quite upsetting to just have one of my babies with me. Jude's blood sugar had returned to normal (nurses blamed a faulty machine for the original reading but we knew better). He was stable but being fed through a tube while I was breast feeding Seb, so it was disheartening and sad that I couldn't be with him too. The next day we asked the nurse looking after Jude if he could come down to be with us while family visited and she agreed. We prayed that Jude would start breast feeding so he could stay with me and he did. So from then on I started tandem feeding which went really well.

What was tough & What was a delight? 

My mum stayed with us for the first 5 weeks which was a great help-especially with Frank. He was 22 months so quite a tricky age. During those first few weeks I found it really tough at times. Tracy, the twin consultant we'd seen during pregnancy, was available if I needed to call for advice which was such a help. When I doubted myself or didn't know what to do, she reminded me that I'd done it all before with Frank and that I was a great mum. I got engorged quite a few times which was so painful and I found it really upsetting and stressful because I needed both breasts for feeding. If ever it happened, usually in the middle of the night, James would wake up and pray with me. It never turned into Mastitis. I remember one time my boob felt like a brick and after James prayed for it, it completely softened and I could feed normally again.

Walking around town with a double buggy was fun. We felt like celebrities. We'd get stopped all the time by people who wanted to see the babies or tell us about their own twins or someone they knew who had twins. Some people made you want to give up there and then with the "Oooh, rather you than me" or "Double trouble" comments. Even though we'd found a buggy that fitted through our front door, getting into some shops or cafes was a mission. I learned quickly which places to go for coffee that accommodated us!

In the early weeks I didn't leave the house much. Lots of feeding, changing and spending time with Frank. Once I'd got into a routine I would go out between feeds. We live in the centre of Brighton in the North Laine so it was easy to leave the house and in minutes be in touch with civilisation! I don't think I'd have coped so well getting in and out of a car with a toddler and 2 babies every time I needed to go out. 

What practically worked for you? 

We found that having them share a cot for the first few months was great. They'd been in such close contact pre-birth, it was a good idea to keep them close once they were out. One interesting thing was that you can leave one baby crying next to the other and the other one won't stir. Apparently twins are comforted by hearing each other making a noise. So we learnt not to tip toe around them or rush in if they were crying while settling themselves. They were so cute lying side by side; once we found Seb sucking Jude's thumb!

I would usually make decisions based on what made my life easier. I figured that if I was happy and peaceful then the children would be. So things like dummies were good. Not stressing about what to feed Frank, if he didn't want to eat vegetables or had pasta and cheese 3 days in a row it was no big deal. We got a cleaner for a while. I really love having a clean home but didn't have the time or energy to clean the house properly so that was definitely a good decision. We learned to say 'no' a lot. We had to be quite selfish with our time in order to survive. Routine was good for us all. I had bought the Gina Ford book for twins but 2 chapters in I was crying and felt like I was getting it all wrong. So I got rid of the book. I went with the much more achievable 'EASY' routine - Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (which basically means the bit when you do all the washing).

Did you dress them the same? 

We have never dressed Seb and Jude the same. In fact we never call them the twins. They are 2 people with 2 different personalities and identities and I think that dressing them differently has helped them to be confident and independent. Having an older brother has meant that they're less 'twinny' which we're happy about, although we know that having twins is very special. Now that they're 5, they dress themselves and sometimes choose similar clothes, but that's fine as it's their choice. At school they are in the same class so Seb wears a grey jumper and Jude wears a yellow one. We also get their hair cut differently. 

Did you get any time with God during the first year?

During the first year I rarely sat down and spent time with God but knew that He was with me in everything and I would ask Him stuff all the time. Lots of SOS prayers in the early weeks! James was so good, always praying for me and supporting me when I needed it. I think I spent a lot of the first year feeling so grateful for what God had given me; an amazing husband and 3 wonderful sons, the convenience of us living so close to town, supportive friends and family. I often just gave God glory for all these things.

What did having twins do to your marriage? 

Having twins has been a real blessing on our marriage. It definitely brought us even closer together. I needed James so much with the kids and we became a real team. We still are. God spoke to us about wanting us to do things together. So now even though we're not in a crazy feeding, nappy phase, we still love being together and doing things together whenever we can. 

Any worship songs or verses which strengthened you?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3v5-6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4v6-7

What excites you/worries you about their future?

I don't really worry about their future. I'm excited for them. I do hope that the 3 of them remain as close with each other as they are now. I hope they're a blessing and a joy to those around them like they are now. I hope and pray that they continue to love God with all their hearts and that they have lives full of fun!

What has having twins taught you about kids? About yourself? About God?

I suppose having twins taught me that you just don't know what God has in store for you. Ha! The last thing I thought I was going to hear was that there were 2 little babies growing inside me. God has a unique plan for my life and it's not like anyone else's, and when I don't know what to do next I can ask Him who crafted that plan. I've learned that when I feel like I can't do it or I'm in doubt, to lean on Him as He is their Father before I am their mum and that they've been given to me to look after but ultimately they're His. He's trusted me with them and it's amazing to have Him with me all the time to tell me what to do. I love thinking about how much the boys love me and trust me and ask me for things and how God wants me to be like that with Him. They are always a reminder of the relationship that God wants with me. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mothering at Christmas

Continuing the Mothering series...

I remember when I was a child, hearing grown ups say strange things like " well, that year flew past" and thinking that comment was just silly. Well, I guess I'm officially a grown up now, because that year did indeed fly past and we've just had Christmas again.

Mothering at this time of year is a highly skilled, multi tasking role (as it is the whole year round really). You need to have some organisation skills, not my strongest point but even I need to get this one down. You need to know your best window of opportunity to go into town. You need to go when you've got the least amount of kids, leaving enough time for the school run and fitting in a baby feed. You need to make the 'bus with a buggy' decision or face the car park queue. You need to know your children well enough to know what presents to buy within the budget you've set. You need to explain to the husband why stocking presents are completely different to main presents. You then need to make the time to hide the presents, find the presents, wrap the presents and label the presents. 

You also have the sheer joy of seeing the kids' Christmas plays, what a delight! Time you'll never get back. You and the husband have to try to only laugh at the right times, and not all the way through it. You have to buy enough food and decide whether you're going to force the kids to try sprouts this year. And Mothering at Christmas seems to involve buying multiple bottles of Calpol.

You have to remind the kids and yourself what Christmas is actually about; an all powerful God, humbling Himself to baby status in order to rescue the world from their sin. You have to remind them that we give gifts, because God gave Jesus to us. And you have to train the kids to be grateful with the gifts they receive, which my boys did well to their credit. It's amusing over the Christmas season when any new adult walks in the door, they get asked the "have you got us a present" question, with me quickly behind them telling them not to be so cheeky. But their expectation of a gift got me thinking about how we are to be with our Heavenly Father. He has multiple gifts for us, and He wants us to cheekily ask Him what He's got for us. He wants us to be expectant every time we talk to Him that He has something for us. The boys' faces were a delight when they opened Lego, bugs in slime, and Star Wars gifts. God knows exactly what we need and what we want, and it delights Him to give to us. So in 2013, we are to cheekily ask God for new gifts and to be expectant that He wants to give them to us. 
What presents will you ask for and unwrap, at the beginning of this new year?

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" 
Matthew 7v11