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, 21 June 2014

Pot Bound

For my birthday last year, a friend of mine brought me a lovely plant, with beautiful white flowers. And I've actually managed to keep it alive! It sits on my kitchen window, soaking up the warmth of the sun and is near enough to a tap that I'm reminded every day to water it. Recently, the leaves from the plant were taking over the pot that they were in, and the roots were starting to circle around the pot inside. There were lots of buds in the middle of the plant, which didn't seem to have room to extend. 

The green fingered husband told me that he thought it was on it's way to being 'pot bound'. So we needed to get fresh compost and re pot my lovely plant into a bigger pot. I read somewhere that, "Allowing root-bound plants to continue to grow in this fashion will not only stunt the plant’s growth, but also it can bring about the plant’s overall demise."  I was determined to not let that happen to the only plant I'd ever kept alive.

Around the same time, we got a letter from the boys' school, saying that our eldest had been chosen as a School Ambassador, and would therefore be going on an activity week in the Lake District, via a 7 hour train journey with a train change in London! As my son read me all the potentially dangerous activities he would be doing, I explained to him that I was very excited and a little bit nervous at the same time.

My mum worried a lot as I was growing up, anxious about what 'might happen', which wasn't always easy to live with. (I've checked with her that it's okay to share that, and she said it's fine because it was true, and she now lives more in the truth that "God has given her not a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self control". 2Timothy 1v7). I think I made a decision of faith, with prayer not to be an anxious mum myself, but to trust God with the crazy risk-taking warriors he has given me. (In saying that, I recently spoke to a friend whose own mum had never cared about her at all. And humbly came to the realisation that I'd rather a mum that loved too much, than one who didn't love at all). 

I explained to my boy about the plant. And likened him to it. I said I could choose to keep him all to myself, restrict his choices, not let him take any risks, keep him safe at all times and not allow him to branch out or become independent. But in doing this, I would have to also accept that I would then have to watch him become 'pot bound', which would 'stunt his growth and lead to his overall demise'! The other option, if I wanted to see him grow into the man God wants him to be, meant that I would have to allow him to step out of the comfort of his home soil, and flourish on his own, making his own choices, and budding beautifully as a result.

It's hard sometimes to know how to get the balance right. But trusting that my kids are more loved by God than they are loved by me, allows me to trust that He has their best interests at heart. He knows what they will need to go through in order to grow and mature into the men and the woman that He has plans for. My job is to make sure their roots are healthy, that I teach them what they need to know about the gospel of Jesus, and how to live according to His ways, which has eternal consequences, not merely childhood memories. And I need to water them daily with Biblical truth and encourage them to grow in the warmth of the Son.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13v11

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

You Stink!

Yesterday, I sat on the sofa with three of my boys. I leant down and then it hit me - what was that smell? My next comment was "Boys, stop what you are doing and smell your own feet. If the smell makes you want to be sick, then you need to take your socks off and put them by the washing machine immediately". 

They were quick to obey. It's always easy to obey when it involves possible amusing gagging. The three amigos, put down their book, iPad and computer and proceeded to smell their own feet. The faces two of them pulled, were priceless. Faces of disgust as the stench made their eyes water. One of them however, just smiled a cheeky grin and said that his were okay. I said that if I smelt them, and I proceeded to feel sick or I was indeed sick on him, then he would have to come off the iPad. He had another whiff and said "they're fine by me, but I don't think you would like them". All socks were quickly put by the washing machine, in the 'pre wash' pile, and the lounge resumed a more neutral smell.

I'm realising that if you are a growing lad, you are unaware of what you smell like until someone points it out to you. Sometimes as adults we are unaware of the aroma we give off, unless a brother or sister in Christ points it out to us.

The old testament talks about the aroma, the smell of sacrifice, being pleasing to God. It isn't necessarily the smell that pleases God, but the reason behind it. God knows when we are living a life which is pleasing to Him; sacrificial and worshipful. And He knows when we are living a life which is pleasing only to our selves. 

My son was happy with the smell of his socks, until I told him it wasn't good. We get used to the things that we let into our life; the sin and the selfish choices, the habits and the comforts. They become the norm. We get comfortable with them, and it's only when someone tells you your feet stink that you notice you may need a wash. 

Have you ever asked a friend to point out when you smell? To point out when your life isn't giving off a pleasing aroma to God? I have a couple of people who will graciously tell me if I stink or if there is a faint whiff, (I mean in the spiritual sense, but I'm sure they would point out any physical issues in this area too). We all need to be able to take it, when a friend points something out to us, and grow from it. And we need to be willing to gently inform a friend whether they stink or if they are a pleasing aroma. 

"Better is open rebuke than hidden love." Proverbs 27:5 

Thankfully, God knew we stank of sin and ungodliness, and so He sent His son Jesus to wash us, to make us right with Him. He even washed his disciples' feet. That's like me actually washing my boy's bare feet after they have played in the park and run through the deposits the dogs leave. Well, when Jesus died on the cross, He took all our sin and grubbiness, and stinkiness with Him. He was the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate pleasing aroma to God. And because He died in our place, we now have that same aroma. No matter how bad our socks smell, God can only smell the 'post wash' version.

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 2 Corinthians 2v15

Monday, 9 June 2014

Knock Knock Knocking On The Door

Last week, it was a friend of mine’s hen day. I wanted to spend as much of the celebrations with her as I could. So in order to do this, it took some epic planning on my part. If I was going to be out all day and all evening, then the little people that live with me, needed to be covered all day and all evening too.

I wanted them to have a fun day, and for it not to be too much of a task for the people watching them, so that basically meant splitting them all up. It took me an hour and twenty to drop them all off, to the wonderful willing babysitters (and their unsuspecting husbands/partners).

I got back home and beheld the first joy of the day; the house was quiet. Ahh…I breathed in the silence. The house was also a mess. The husband had left early for the stag equivalent, and I’d had to get five of them ready and out the door by 9am, which isn’t my greatest strength on a weekday, let alone on a Saturday! So a quick tidy up and then I dressed up as Minnie Mouse. I don’t normally dress up when the kids are out, but we were requested to come as Disney characters. 

After a top-quality game of Volleyball with two Pocahontases, (or is it Pocahonti if there is more than one?), and various other characters, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon; eating cake, playing games, guessing who twenty pairs of knickers were from, and I won a Whoopee cushion, a fishing net and an innuendo apron! 

Two babysitters offered a sleepover. Or at least, gave in to the request of one. So I only had three kids to pick up and settle into bed, before the last babysitter for the evening turned up. Quick release of the Minnie Mouse bunches meant I had wavy-ish hair, so a blast of hairspray, a quick outfit change, and some mascara, meant I was ready to leave again.

A lovely evening was had with the hen and the girls. I had a cocktail called Barbara, and she was a beaut! The husband text me to say there was money on the kitchen table to pay for the taxi home at midnight. And I text him back to say I'd like him to bring the money out to me, because I knew I didn't have keys.

As I arrived home in the taxi, I rang the husband. No answer. So I went and knocked on the front door. No answer. So I rang his phone again. No answer. So I knocked on the kitchen window. No answer. I smiled one of those false teethy smiles at the taxi driver. He didn’t really smile back. I knocked on the kitchen window again. No answer. I rang his phone again. No answer. I went back to the taxi driver and said how sorry I was and that I did have a husband somewhere in the house, in a ‘trying to be jokey not stressed’ tone. I did the routine again; front door, phone, window, phone. I went back to the taxi driver and asked him nicely if he could possibly, maybe, perhaps stop clocking up the money and informed him I would try round the back of the house, insisting again that there was a husband in there somewhere.

In the dark, trying to get into our back garden, I couldn’t decide whether the husband was indeed dead or work out just how to kill him. I knocked on our back door. No answer. I knocked on the lounge window. No answer. I rang his phone. No answer. I looked up and saw our bedroom window. And knew it was the only way...  I hoisted up my long dress, tested how slippery my flip flops were, and started to climb the shed up to our bedroom window. I got to the top of the shed slope, held on to the wall and my dress somehow, and knocked on the bedroom window, as loudly as I could - at midnight, after my relaxed cocktail evening, in my dress!

Eventually a man who looked like he had no idea whatsoever why someone would be knocking on his bedroom window, opened it in a startled, sleep deprived way, to a manic woman shouting something about a taxi driver and hyperventilating the words, “ANSWER YOUR PHONE. ANSWER YOUR PHONE”.

Well which Bible verse shall I link with this little gem? 
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you"?
How about "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come and eat with that person, and they with me"?

No, I think I'm going for the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. She wanted justice against her enemy. In other words she was pleading "Help me, Help me" until she got the help she was after. The encouragement here is of course to pray, and to keep on praying. I needed the husband to open the door, (or the window as it turned out), and I had to keep knocking until he heard me. 

Now God hears us the first time we pray, but He does ask us to persist in prayer, to be faithful in prayer, to climb a shed in prayer sometimes. The end goal for me was to pay the taxi driver and get into my house. If I had only knocked once and then given up, I wouldn't have been able to do these things, and I really really needed to. 

What are the things that I really really need to see God answer? And to what lengths am I willing to keep knocking for them? And what am I learning while I have to wait?