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, 29 October 2016

Push On & Push Up

My friend Pete, is currently on Day 49 of a 22 day challenge. That's 27 days longer than the allotted time for the challenge. The challenge is to do 22 press ups every day for 22 days, but he couldn't do 22 press ups, so instead he has posted videos of his adapted challenge; to do do as many press ups every day until he reaches the goal of 22. (The challenge is to raise awareness of Mental Health issues, especially for veterans).

This has become quite intense viewing as a family, as we watch each new video and count the press up total. (He is currently hovering around the 18/19 mark). And of course, with most things in this house, it has become an excellent teaching tool. 

In life, we all like to do things that we are good at, rather than attempt things that we're not sure we can do, or we might be seen to fail at, and this is why I love these videos. They show a man humble enough to show what he technically 'can't do' 
(22 press ups in one go) and we get to follow his journey of commitment, perseverance, fun, and hard work. 

One of my lads didn't do too well in a Rugby match and one was nervous to join a Boxing club, as he didn't know if he'd be any good at it. He was concerned that he would be embarrassed. And one of my lads was just having a tough time with something else. 

I used Pete and his push ups to teach into each one of these things. To encourage them to press on, and to explain to them that embarrassment and pride will be a real stumbling block for them in life, preventing them from doing stuff, especially from doing the right thing at times. I'm sure Pete may have wondered what people would have thought of him, and if he had stopped there...that would have been it. No perseverance, no example of humility for four self-assured boys, no 49 days of challenge, no videos for us to watch, no growth, no mental health awareness, no achievement. 
What a waste. Thankfully Pete didn't do that.

God's word, is full of weak people doing great things for God. They pushed through and trusted God when it was tough, when they felt like giving up, when they discounted themselves, when they had nothing left to give, when they were too old, too young, when they tried something new, when it was too hard, when it was impossible, when they got laughed at, or worse, when they went for it, when they didn't go for it, when people were at their lowest or even their greatest. God is in the habit of using our weaknesses to show His greatness.

And the beauty of the gospel is when we realise God is our strength. He alone can get us through the battles. But the challenge is admitting we need Him and actually letting Him strengthen us.

We are looking forward to the day Pete reaches 22 press ups, we really are!! I'm sure Pete will celebrate. But we're already so proud of him. He has done loads of press ups, and the bits he thought he couldn't get through, he now does with ease. I am personally grateful that there are strong bearded men for my boys to look at, who are willing to walk in humility. We are wonderfully loved by God when we've got nothing to bring. And even though it brings Him glory, He doesn't love us any more when we do well. 
He's already proud of us. And that alone should push us on to do great things.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Philippians 4v13

Thursday, 13 October 2016


When the husband decided he wanted to 'drive around Europe on a motorbike for a couple of weeks', as a Bucket list type adventure, we all went on the journey with him, so to speak. As he started to look at bikes, and began to speak about bikes, and dream about bikes, we gave him our attention and asked suitable questions, and we were as interested as he could hope for us to be....most days.

The husband and the boys watched 'The Long Way Down', a documentary following Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, travelling from Scotland to Cape Town, via Europe and Africa, on their BMW GS R1200s. (I had to look it up but the husband will appreciate the detail). And the day came, where he went off to his driving test, all of us hopeful and wishing him well and we excitedly hoped for the best, waiting to hear the good news, which didn't quite come. He hadn't done it. Dad, who can pretty much do anything didn't pass his bike test. 
Instead, we had to all deal with the disappointment. He was sad. I was sad and the lads were sad too. We had put high hopes in him passing. 

However, the day came for the husband to go off for the test once more. Hope restored. Fresh excitement in the house. Until of course, the second 'fail' was given. Oh man, that was tough for him, tough for them, and tough for me. Probably toughest for him, I expect.

In the midst of the house's disappointment, I decided to use it as a teaching moment. 
I personally think it was good for the boys to see their dad 'fail', as a lot of the time he is of course, their hero.  It was a great chance to talk into disappointments, which we all live with, explaining to the boys that "suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character and character produces hope". It is important for the boys to see that dad isn't a perfect standard. Anything which teaches them that we, their parents, are fallible, just like they are, has to be a good perspective producer for the kids. We then get to point them to the One whose standard is perfect and who never fails.

The husband just loved hearing me tell the boys that daddy's character was being shaped and that he was learning what to do with disappointment. He was deciding whether or not that disappointment was going to rule him. Was it going to define him? How was it going to shape him? He got to make those decisions with four sets of eyes watching him, and with a wife teaching into it all. The boys' dad had to hand even a failed motorbike test over to God. He knew he couldn't sit in it and wallow, although the temptation was great. 

There is a verse in Proverbs which says; "Hope deferred makes the heart sick".  Disappointment can literally leave our hearts feeling sick. And it can come in any form; a failed motorebike test, expectations which weren't met, someone let us down, promises which seem unfulfilled. We do have a choice to sit in the midst of the disappoinment, or try to climb out of it. Sometimes it feels nice to sit in that pit for a while, and throw a little pity party for ourselves. Thankfully Jesus came to sit in the pit with us, listen to us, and then drag us out of the pit, if we reach our arm out to Him of course. 

One of the hardest things about parenting is walking out what I believe the Bible says. I can teach them stuff every day, all day, about all kinds of things, but unless I'm facing things honestly with them, talking about my own failings and disappointments, and walking them through it the other end, via the cross, my words are pretty empty. They learn more from what I do, than what I say. I wish it were the other way round.

A few weeks later, one of the boys felt they had failed a test they were sitting at school, and the husband, possibly with slightly gritted teeth, got to talk to him about what is important in life and how the things we go through do indeed shape us. I smiled sweetly at the husband as he got to share his disappointments with our boy. A learning curve for us all. How we need to go through disappointments and even fails, in order to realise that our standing in God never changes, even when we fail Him, or let Him down. 

The husband would no doubt like me to add that he did go on to pass his motorbike test, buy said precious beaut, and indeed travel around Europe on it, looking uber cool of course. 

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5v3-5

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Socks And Sabers

Socks! We go through quite a few pairs in my house. I haven't yet solved the mystery of why the boys' socks always get a hole at the ball of the foot. Always! I understand the tip of the toe sock holes, especially if the brakes on their bikes aren't working, because this hole rather expensively matches their trainers. We try to enforce the 'Don't climb trees in just your socks' rule, the 'Don't ride a bike in just your socks' rule, the 'Don't tackle a lion in just your socks' rule. But it's a losing battle. 

One of my boys has an unhealthy relationship with socks anyway. He lives in them. He only isn't wearing them when he is in the bath, and as soon as he gets out he puts them back on. He puts warm, sometimes moist socks back on after a bath! If we do get round to challenging it, he will put clean socks on instead. He can't bear to go to bed without socks on. Aaarrrggghhhhh claustrophobic feet! I personally don't get it as I rarely wear socks, but he wears them all year round.

Occasionally, like every day, we run out of socks. They are somewhere 'in the system'. The system being in the wash basket, in the washing machine, in the dryer, in a different wash basket, in a pile on my bed, in a pile on my floor, in a wash basket, and the very rare, (usually because I have bribed some small person) in the sock drawer. The challenge of course, is to find two of the same colour, the same size, for six kids, not 'nearly the same', but 'the actual same'. This is something of great importance to the husband. 

But every so often, there are none to be found in the system. Usually this happens just before the school run, like most elements of any family's calm start to the day. The sock crisis calls for extreme measures. This is where I have to go find these wandering socks, and my search site; under and down the sides of  boys' beds. Many are found in my quest. Never a full set, but many many socks are recovered in this process. And the best tool for the job has to be the Light saber. It reaches beyond the Nerf guns and hidden teddies, and it can prod from the top to the bottom of bunk beds. 

On my recent mission, I actually thought to myself, 'I wonder what Luke Skywalker would make of how this powerful weapon is being used'. And then I had to laugh at myself, because I realised it had happened; the combining of the worlds of reality and fantasy. I expect Yoda would be fine with it. He's all about the wise apprenticing of younglings. Yoda had a tough job training Luke because he didn't know what he was called to do.

Sometimes, as a mum, I forget that my job isn't just to wash socks. It is in fact to train the next generation, to teach them God's ways, to reveal the Bible to them. The ground work I'm putting in day to day, is for a much bigger purpose. I don't want them to be used for the wrong things. 
I want them to know their purpose in life; to enjoy God, to live for His glory, to worship Him, to tell of the power of the cross, to help the poor...

I want them to be a powerful weapon to be reckoned with, powerful in love, in selflessness, in grace, powerful in their understanding of the gospel, powerful in peace and forgiveness. I need to recognise that there are giftings in my children which will cause them to be and do different things from what I have done. God has great purposes for their lives, with individual talents along the way. Sure a light saber is good for fishing out socks, but it is much better for tackling the evil in the world. 

"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the Earth". Exodus 9v16