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.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

School Report; Could Try Harder

Drawing near to the end of term, not only brings on severe cases of End-of-Term-Itis, it also brings the delight that is 'Non-Competitive Sport's Day', teacher present buying and of course school reports. Sport's day; I just won't comment on, apart from to say that I jolly well cheered hard for my son as he didn't compete against anyone. Teacher present buying; I sent the kids into school as spies on a mission. They had to find out what their teachers and teaching assistants liked, but in a more subtle way than "What do you want my mum to buy you?" Restaurant vouchers, clothes vouchers, posh chocolate and alcohol seemed to cover everyone. 

And then there's the school reports and final chats with the teachers. You kind of want to stroke the teachers, say 'Well Done' to them, get them a duvet and let them sit in a darkened room somewhere. But instead you ask them to explain what the numbers and letters mean and how well your child has done and what they could improve on. You have to be able to read 'Teacher Code', when analysing the reports. Knowing my dear boys, I add my own interpretations when I read "lively and outgoing", "a great sense of humour" and "contributes well with regard to Christianity and sharing his own experiences".

There are joys too, when I read 'personable', 'shows respect', 'polite', and 'team player', as I know that some of that is down to training. You know, the every day stuff that you train and train and train and train, until eventually it shows up on a school report or even better 'out in public'. They need to work harder at some things, especially the dull old details of spelling and punctuation, and a little less silliness here and there. There's always ways for them to improve their learning and there's things to congratulate them on.

I asked the boys to do me a school report; how well I've done this term as a mum. A brave and stupid task. I didn't bribe them with snacks as they answered. But I was in a relatively stable emotional state as I listened at the door. Apparently I'm doing well at 'serving my husband and children, making meals, disaplining (Okay, so the teacher may be right about the spelling) and being a mum'. I can live with that. But apparently I do need to 'shout less and work on my gentleness, and self-control'. Ha ha how perceptive these little people are. Can't keep much from them. A fair assessment I'd say.

We had a good chat about the reports. I explained that I was just as interested in the character bits as much as the results and grading. Got to love working on the 'heart stuff'. And we spoke about God's view of us; how we were His enemies; evil sinners who were far away from Him. And how He loved us when we were like that, and how Jesus' death on the cross meant that we can now be His adopted sons and daughters and come close to Him.

We chatted too, about how perfect our Heavenly Father is compared to us. He doesn't need to work on His self-control or silliness. He doesn't shout at us and I reckon His spelling is outstanding too. There is always going to be heart stuff for God to work on in us. He wants us to be more like Jesus and live more of a life of worship to Him. One day we will all have to stand before Him as He reads every detail of our report to us. Gulp! And then He will accept us in or turn us away, based on whether we accepted Jesus' and lived for Him, or not. It's good to ask Him what areas He'd like us to glorify Him in more. Thankfully though, He never writes 'Could Try Harder' over us. Instead in His grace, He writes over our reports, in blood-red letters, 'Accepted', 'Redeemed', 'Restored' and 'Forgiven'. That's surely one to frame and tell everyone about!

"Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered."

Romans 4v7                                        

"A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.

 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." Proverbs 21v2-3

Monday, 22 July 2013


Looking at my latest blog entry, I see that it was quite some time ago. I could happily sit here and tell you that's it's because I've been busy with life; the kids, the husband, the friends, the church etc. I could say I've been so busy loving all the above people that I couldn't possibly prise myself away from the fun and training and imparting, in order to write. But that would be what we call a lie.

Two of the boys have come down heavily with a dose of  end-of-term-itis; they're not just tired, they are beyond tired. And they are hot and sweaty and grubby and tearful and cross and fed up and overwhelmed and over emotional, and I totally get where they are coming from! I can relate to this terrible disease. It's one that really knocks you down, and vitamins don't shift it, just long periods of sleep, which is hard to come by these days. When a mum is suffering with end-of-term-itis, and she comes into contact with two little people suffering from it too, it's not a pretty sight. So my parenting game plan has been on the defensive; 'react to what they're doing and just try to survive the match'. Somewhere over the last few weeks, I have forgotten that my job is to love them and train them, and I have re written my job description as 'Just get through 'til bedtime'. I've been scared to parent them, knowing that they are just going to kick off and walk away from me or they're going to burst out crying. Or I am.

Now I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But knowing it and living in the truth of it are two different things. I haven't been coming to Him in the kind of way which seeks Him, and spends time with Him and reads His word, or even just falls on Him humbly, sincerely asking for help. For some reason, I have decided that I can tackle this end-of-term-itis without God's help. Tackling anything with a strong burst of pride, is never going to cure anything. I just know I can't do the parenting, the wife-ing and the serving, without walking closely with Jesus. And I can't blog either. I can't write about grace when Im not living in it.

Last Tuesday, I had one of those 'sob-in-your-breakfast-bowl-I-can't-do-this-anymore' moments in front of the family. They graciously prayed for me, and then the husband left for Berlin for a few days. (Ha ha ha...silently rock in a darkened room). It was then that end-of-term-itis was either going to wipe this whole family out, and the husband was going to come home to a mess, or this mum was going to ask God to coach her, and change the parenting game plan to being on the offensive; 'plan beforehand and win this match', which mainly involved prayer, and water balloons. And of course, He did coach me. But more importantly I remembered that He also substituted Himself for me, and that it is by His grace I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Psalm 145 has been my friend during end-of-term-itis. Remembering what my coach is like, has helped me play the parenting game much better. 

 "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145v8,9,14