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.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Second Opinion

"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22v6 

That's my opinion on raising my kids. Let's get a second opinion...

Dinner-time's finished, time for pudding and I know what's coming. Mum puts three mousses onto the table and says "Boys, who is going to be selfless and give way?" 
Same saying every day. Selflessness, selflessness, selflessness. Why do I have to? 
I wait to see if someone gives way first, and if not, then I do. I know that's not being selfless, but I'm only ten.

For years, my mum has said there's always an opportunity to give way. It's like she knows it's going to happen even before it does. But being selfless isn't easy, unless you're my brother. He always gives way. He's younger than me so I should be the one setting the examples. I struggle to not show off once I've been selfless.

Today I was selfless. I did it. Today, my dad was taking me and two of my brothers to see 'Frozen' at the cinema. I gave my ticket to my youngest brother so he could go. I felt that it was right to put my brother first. And even though I gave way, he was still crying because he wanted to make cakes.

My dad's always explaining to me that life's not fair. He says "Fair is getting punished for my own sins; but Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment for me". And that's not fair!

I wonder how long all this teaching will go on for. Probably decades or until I'm dead. I can't wait for tomorrow's dinner-time. I know what's coming.

"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 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

To The Moon And Back

One thing I'm learning from being a mum, is that the little people in your life do as you do, and they eventually even start to do as you say. I know that I am one of the biggest examples in their lives. They copy me and the husband, which can be wonderful to watch or embarrassing to witness, depending on which bit of you they decide to imitate.

One thing I teach my boys, is that if a relationship has broken down, they need to sort it out. Usually this means that they need to say sorry, or they need to forgive the person. Maybe they need to ask the other person if they're okay, or choose to love them by showing them practically. It pretty much always involves talking.

"Use your words", is a highly used phrase in this house. Along with "change your tone", and the more than occasional "get your hands out of your pants".

The thing is, sometimes I think I haven't got time to practice what I preach. The boys need to leave the house at 8:30am, so if they all do everything that needs doing at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way, everything is good and they leave on time. 
But this is a house with kids in it.... So it just doesn't happen that way!

More often than not, there is a moment which needs dealing with. I usually make sure a 'sorry' has been said. It doesn't take long to do. Either I need to be quick with mummy forgiveness, or humble enough to admit that I'm in the wrong. I don't like the boys leaving without a kiss and a hug. Sometimes we shout "I love you, I love you more, I love you most, I love you infinity.... to the moon and back, I love you a zillion" until they've walked round the corner. 

However some mornings, family harmony doesn't happen quite so well. We end up bugging each other, or the kids upset me, or I simply snap. I feel overwhelmed, or I only love them to the bottom step and back, and even that's pushing it. And there isn't time to practise what I preach. 

(There is actually always time!!) 

Last week, I had one of these moments. There was lots of nagging and shouting on my part. One of the biggest flaws in my parenting, is that I lecture them. I may well be upset with them. They may well have done something wrong. But instead of speaking into it once, I go on and on and on. (Which any male will tell you, just makes them glaze over). Anyway, it was school time, and there was "no time" to mend relationship. So I just closed the door, without a hug, a kiss or any declaration of love, even to the other side of the road, let alone a round trip to the moon. I felt sad, but in my heart I justified it because of the stress and the time and the volume of kids in my kitchen. 

As I sat with the other elders' wives a couple of hours later, I got a phone call from the school. It was a learning support assistant ringing to say that my son was upset. He had informed her about our argument, told her he was sad and explained that we hadn't sorted the problem out before he left. He knew that it did not feel good to be in a broken relationship with someone. He was unable to get on with his day so he had asked to call me. It's always fun when you teach your kids something, and then they put it into practice. And by fun, I mean humbling!

But I'm pleased that he did it. We had a chance to say sorry and put this verse into action over the phone. "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3v12-14

God calls each family to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, even at 8:20am. And that is not easy! But it must be possible, with His help. He asks us to bear with each family member and forgive each other. He asks us to 'put on love', as if it's an actual item of clothing. Why? Because He is clothed with compassion. He is clothed with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. He bears with us and forgives us. And because God sent His son to die for us, so that we would no longer be in broken relationship with Him. 
He loved us to the cross and back.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Teabags & Tissue

So having a one year old is indeed a delight! Especially when it's a red-headed pink one, and you've been so very used to the blue variety. I'm getting to grips with tights under shorts and hair in bunches. I've adapted to there being a mini handbag in the house, and I'm secretly pleased to say it usually has a car or two in it, as well as a puppy of course.

She's a busy little bee, which seems to involve her mainly tipping stuff out and tipping stuff in. She opens the cupboards, and has her own little sort out. Much more than the boys ever did. She thinks the Tupperware looks much better if she tips the Soy Sauce in it. She thinks the Weetabix is better placed in the lounge. The tea bags taste better once spread out over the floor and the contents of the bin look better in the bath. She's discovered that her shoes turn a darker shade of purple once they've been down the loo. The toilet tissue should be released from the captivity of the loo roll, and the wet wipes should definitely not be imprisoned in the packet. Socks shouldn't be kept on feet and she gets a much better view of the DVDs, when they're in the washing machine. Yesterday she decided that she would prefer our green stair carpet to be yellow, so she added a hint of mustard powder. Of course, the best time for her to do any of the above is when I'm already late and about to rush out the door. 

I get lulled into that false sense of security; The boys are at school and the little redheaded one is quietly busy, so I try to fit in a quick job before I head out. I'm a mother of five children. I should know better. Yes there are moments when quiet equals calm, and these moments are like gold dust. But the house dust to gold dust ratio in this house, is a million to one. Most quiet moments in this house mean that intrigue has set in and therefore house wrecking will commence. I seem to wander around after her, clearing up her discoveries. Or I leave it 'til I get back in later, at which point I've usually collected the boys and forgotten about the random mess, which the husband then finds and wonders and what point during the day we were in fact burgled.

I can get a bit frustrated with all of this at times, even though it's simply just the developmental stage she is in. I know that she is just growing and working it all out for herself. But when you're not the tidiest person anyway, this just adds to an already slightly chaotic house. 

Sometimes she even asks me for help with the mess she's making, unaware of my day and my plans. This is where it's encouraging for me to remind myself that I'm God's daughter. After all, I find myself asking Him for help, even when I've stepped out of His purposes for my life, and I'm trying to work things out for myself. He watches me make a mess of this and a mess of that, making my own choices as I go. The difference with my mess and my baby girl's mess is so vast. Yes, tea bags on the floor take a bit of time to pick up, and yes rolls of ripped up tissue is a bit of a hassle to sort out. 
But my mess, my sin, is a vile stench to God. 

In every moment where I have not chosen His way, for every time I have been self seeking, and in every way that I have disobeyed Him, it all piles up into a hideous mess which I am unable to clear up. It didn't take an extra once over with the hoover, to clear up my mess. Instead He cleared up all my sin, by coming into the midst of it Himself. He gave up His only son to die a painful death on the cross for me. This is the only way I could receive His forgiveness. It always puts my frustrations into perspective, as I remember how wonderfully patient God is with me. How available He is to me too, to come right into the middle of it all. Maybe I should ask Him for His help with the things He has planned for me, and patience for the daily frustrations I face. And maybe I should sit down in the midst of the teabags and the tissue, and be as patient with the gorgeous red-headed one, as my Father is with me.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1v18