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, 30 June 2013

May The Force Be With You

One of my boys was feeling a little melancholy the other evening. He had had a couple of days off from school, due to being sick and running a high temperature, and he was feeling nervous to go back. He couldn't quite explain his thoughts or feelings, he just felt a bit sad and teary and his head was full of sad thinking. He has felt like this before, where his mind has doubted our love, and it all just 'feels sad', even though he's actually pretty secure in our love for him. How often do I doubt my Father in Heaven's love, without reason to?

So we have a new strategy when his thoughts are a bit negative and glum; we've combined the wisdom of The Bible with the imagery of Star Wars, as you do. After all, his name is an Old Testament prophet and a Jedi Knight....The force is strong with this one!

We looked at the second part of 2 Corinthians 10v5;
"We pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ".

To take something captive, suggests that it is an actual 'action' we need to do, not just something which happens. So we wondered where we could lock these negative thoughts up; where there was a good prison. And we decided that Jabba the Hutt's palace was a good place to keep something locked up. So that's what we do, we grab each of these untrue thoughts and we shove them in Jabba's captivity.
The funny element tends to help break him out of his melancholy. And it helps our very visual boy, see these thoughts being locked up. Now I'm aware that this verse is actually about Paul defending God and the arguments which were being raised against Him, and I have explained this to my son. He has a few friends at school who don't think God is real, so he does know what this verse means. But I think it is important to train him to take both kinds of thoughts captive.
We then encourage our boy to fill his mind with things "which are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable" as it suggests in Philippians 4. In other words, we encourage him to think about God before he sleeps, to think about all the good things God has done for him and how much God loves him, and we pray for God's help. I needed to do this myself this week. I found myself dwelling in untruths, and I was left feeling glum and full of self pity as a result. So I wrote a page of Truths about God in my journal; He is my hiding place, my strength, my refuge etc and it helped shift my thoughts off of me and back to my Heavenly Father's love, Jesus' victory on the cross, and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit at work in me, which afterall, is always going to be the best Force to have with me.
See what I did there?! 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

You Are So Annoying

I was blown away by Charlie yesterday. He was ever so selfless, over and over again, when frankly his little sister just didn't deserve it. I was impressed with how he didn't tire of it, apart from the odd eye raise. I guess it might be easier to be consistently selfless when you're a cartoon. You see, Lola, the little sister, spent all her money at the Zoo. She also ate all her lunch and she used all the film on her camera. But her big brother Charlie helped her out. He gave her some of his lunch, he let her use his camera and he bought her a cuddly seal at the zoo shop, even though it meant he couldn't get the book he had been saving for.

Of course, my boys knew that they weren't going to get away with just watching it, without a little 'voice over teaching point' from mum. I pointed out what I could see happening, and they nodded, either to humour me or because the 'selfless' thing is one we plug a lot in this family. Towards the end of the programme, Lola had learnt from her brother's example. She ended up saving her money and giving it to Charlie, who was able to buy an even better book for himself. I spoke to the bigger boys about how they can be an example for their younger brothers to copy. And I acknowledged that younger siblings can be annoying, like Lola was. I  seem to remember poking my big brother constantly until he would whip me with a wet tea towel, and then get in trouble for it. Younger siblings just help people grow in love and patience!

After watching it, one of the younger siblings explained that he felt his older brothers didn't love him much because they don't give him a lot of time. I asked his older brothers how they could respond to this. One of them took the teaching point and put it into practise. The other one ignored the whole thing to the point where I'm not even sure he knows he has brothers. Anyway, off they went upstairs to play together. I encouraged the older one, reminding him that he was imitating Jesus, not just Charlie; that Jesus is the most selfless person there is. That He gave up His own life for us. He got it. Point made.

A few minutes in and the younger sibling sought to test his older brother's newly found kindness. I heard shouts of "No, no, please don't touch that bit of Lego, please, NO NO. Ggggrrrrr, YOU ARE SO ANNOYING". As I got upstairs, I found a cross older one and a smug smaller one, with broken up Lego in his hand. The moment was over. I understood the older one's frustration, and told him so. I released him from playing with his brother and told him that it's hard to be selfless all the time, but it is how Jesus wants us to be. I missed a trick though, and didn't mention that it's the Holy Spirit who helps us to imitate Jesus. It's the Holy Spirit that helps us to love annoying siblings too. I wonder in this house of five children, if there will be another opportunity to talk through 'being selfless'? Yeah I reckon so....

"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

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness...."
Romans 8v26

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day

So today is Father's Day; a day to celebrate fathers. For some, this day brings joy and fun and thankfulness. But for others, it's either not relevant or it's painful in some way. Maybe dad wasn't great, or he's unknown. Maybe he left. Maybe he was never around. Maybe he never cared. Or maybe it's harder than anyone can ever imagine! Maybe dad was wonderful, but he died too soon, and he's missed every day, not just today. Maybe for some mums, they're so busy bringing up their kids alone, that Father's Day is a bit of a joke to them. And then there are those who would love to be a father or once were, and those who father alone.

For me, I am grateful for a dad who loves me now and cared for me, as a child. When the midwife saw my dad 'still' cuddling me, she told him he was going to spoil me, and his reply was that he fully intended to. I was his 'little peanut'. To my mum's dismay, he used to push me far too high on the swings. He taught me to drive and came and rescued me when I ran out of petrol, again and again. He used to walk me to the Off License on a Friday night for a packet of m&ms. He made me the perfect bacon sarnies. He helped me plan for a trip to Uganda, without telling mum. (That's another story!) He took me to my first football match, well it was QPR, but close enough and he bought me my first VW Beetle. He walked me down the aisle. And he continues to father me, whilst being a crazy grandad to my children. My slightly sarcastic tone of humour, and the ability to find the funny side of things in most situations is from him too and also my secret love for The Travelling Wilburys, but don't tell the husband.

Now I actually forgot to get my dad a Father's Day card. How bad is that? Thankfully, he is on holiday so by the time I buy a reduced one tomorrow and send it off, he will never know it was late! He definitely deserves to get a card, a small gesture of thanks. I guess I'm so secure in His love for me, that I probably take him, and my mum for granted. And what about my Heavenly Father, does he deserve a reduced card thanking Him for all He has done for me? Or does He deserve so much more? There is no amount of praise and worship that I could bestow on Him, that would be considered enough. What He has done for me and given me, is amazing; His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His mercy, my name in His book of life, an eternal heritage, His adoption of me, His joy, His strength. The list goes on and on. And although I'm thankful to my dad for all he has done for me, it actually pails into insignificance when I look at what Abba Father has done for me.

Wonderfully, this amazing fathering isn't just for me. It's for those who never had a dad, or those who had a lousy dad or those whose dad walked out on them or their kids. Even the amazing dads, the ones who love and care, their love still falls a million miles short of the steadfast love of God, and that is worth my thanks and praise.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalm 103v11-13

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Be Prepared

So my half term antics were a lot calmer this time round, because for the most part of it I only had three out of the five with me. I'm not saying that having three kids is calm, neither is having two or even one for that matter. But any less than the maximum number, usually makes a great difference in this house. At the beginning of the week, the husband and his brother, took my biggest two off to climb Snowdon, in treacherous, adventurous, 'mum's not here, so let's keep climbing' type weather.

They had waterproofs with them, warm clothing, spare trousers and hoodies, maps of the mountain, climbing boots, head torches, thermal socks, Ben 10 aliens and snacks. So they were pretty well prepared, even though the husband forgot his spare trousers so ended up at the pub in the evenings, in his pyjamas. (I only packed for the boys, so no comment) It sounds like it wasn't the easiest climb, with poor visibility, sideways hail storms and crying boys. The two men ended up carrying a terrified child each on their shoulders, headlong into the icy wind, for quite a long way back down the mountain to safety.

I was pretty well prepared too, for the glorious, sunny day in the garden, which I was having back home. I had made a shady tent for baby to play in. I had suncreamed the littlest ones. I had given out ice creams. I had the juice ready for when they asked. I had set up Happyland, and I had positioned the sun lounger exactly where I wanted it, turning it to face the sun every so often. I had thought about sending a photo of all this to the husband, but had decided against it.

I was prepared in the evening too; tv remote, glass of white, and a bar of hazlenut chocolate, just before fluffing the pillows on both sides of the bed, allowing me to choose and roll at choice. (I'm sure the hostel bunk beds were just as spacious for the male-bonding Snowdonia survivors too).

And now it's the night before school starts. The preparation has commenced; the uniforms are ready in neat piles. Their shoes are out in pairs, in the porch. (Five pairs, which is confusing me somewhat) Their lunch bags have been washed from the experiments that were growing in them. The boys themselves have been washed from anything growing on them too. The sandwiches are made. The cereal is out.
(I sound amazing don't I? Don't be deceived. For a more balanced view of my organisational skills, take a look at my last blog post. Every so often, I do like to give the husband false hope that I am the dream wife he had hoped for all those years ago) And so I'm ready for what tomorrow brings. Or am I? I know that whatever preparation has happened, however well I've nailed it practically this evening, there is still something I need to do.

I know that I need to be ready for tomorrow, with the realisation that I can't actually do tomorrow!

I can't do it on my own. I can't do it in my own strength. I can't be a good mum in my own strength. I can't be a good wife in my own strength. I can't do anything in my own strength. The preparation which needs to take place, starts with me humbly admitting that I need God's help for tomorrow. I need His help when I feed the baby at 5:30am. I need His help when they forget to brush their teeth tomorrow. I need to confidently approach the throne of grace, before tomorrow even comes and as soon as tomorrow comes. I need God's help in order to glorify Him tomorrow, otherwise even with all the prep in the world, I know how my day will turn out. The days I think I can do it alone, just end up exactly like my last blog post. So, I aim to end today in His wonderful presence and I aim to start tomorrow, right back in it. I simply can't do tomorrow without Him. Thankfully, He has already gone ahead of me tomorrow, so He knows what I really need to be prepared for.
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me". Psalm 54v4
"Do not be far from me my God; come quickly, God, to help me". Psalm 71v12