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, 25 June 2017

Panning for Gold

Some of the things I encourage my kids about, seem pretty small, almost insignificant. At the moment, we're on our final potty training season. It seems to be going a little easier this time round. Maybe when you have six kids, the last one just kind of gets the memo, and self trains.

The little dimpled pink one, takes herself to the potty, does a wee, Facetimes someone to tell them her achievement and the best bit, she doesn't even ask for her sweetie; her positive reinforcement, her bribe. At least one of the others worked out how to do his wee in stages so that he would get multiple mini marshmallows... but not this one. She does her business, and we all do the 'wee wee dance', and then she's happy. She hasn't nailed number twos yet, so they are found in the swimming costume or the knick-knicks. We've yet to have a trouser leg incident, or as one of mine did, the 'Bob the Builder incident', where we found them substituting one thing for another, and using their trucks to scoop up the 'mud'...

Anyway, I digress. It's so important to praise the little things, just as it is to recognise the huge things that they do. Sometimes I find myself saying, "well done", and clapping, when they eat one spoonful of dinner without whining. Sometimes in a slightly more sarcastic tone, it's a well done for finding a shoe, sometimes it's something they're explaining to me, and I have no real understanding of what it is that they're saying, but they're really pleased with themselves, so I go along with the excitement. 
Sometimes I hear the husband 'fake wowing' to a child's piece of junk modelling, usually followed by, "how long have we got to keep this?" (The husband does however refuse to 'let them win' at races with him, or bundles, because when they actually do nail him for the first time, he wants them to really know it was a win. And enjoy it. Many years of annoyance and tears for this one point he wants to make).
panning for gold
I especially encourage anything I see which feels gospel-based, or Jesus-like. When one of them is selfless to their sibling, without coercion, prodding, teaching or nudging, it's just the best. When one of them is kind, or empathises with a hurt sibling, oh it's such a beautiful thing. When they stand up for someone at school, or stand up for a belief that we have as a family, when they tell the truth, oh it's so precious. These little gems feel quite rare; there is a lot of digging and sieving to pan for the gold, but when you find it, it's priceless. The gold makes all the digging worthwhile. The constant training of kids in the way they should go, is worth it. Sometimes the husband or a friend has to point these gems out to me, when I feel like I'm just digging with little or no reward. And these moments encourage me, they make me feel like I'm doing an okay job raising my kids. 

Jesus spent His time on Earth spotting the gems in sinners' lives. When the religious leaders who pretended to be perfect, saw fault, especially in the women of the day, Jesus saw their hearts instead. I'm encouraged by this, because I know Jesus sees my heart and finds the gems in my own life, when I'm not sure how I'm doing. He sees a gem and shines it, and says "well done". Sometimes as mums, we just get so tired, that our head stays in the sand and we forget that God is panning for gold in us. He uses all kinds of things, including our kids to bring these nuggets of gold to the surface. He is our Heavenly Father who loves us and is proud of us. 

"The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16v7

Friday, 16 June 2017


Sometimes verses in the Bible hold a stronger image for me, than at other times. For example, when I was in Rwanda, the verses about farming and seed planting seemed to make more of an impact than when I was back home in England. "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully", this meant more to me when I saw the farmers sowing seeds and talking us through how best to cultivate a good crop, than when I just walk around Asda with no real idea as to the work which goes into sowing and reaping. I wouldn't even know which season is best for what, because Asda is 24hours a day, seven days a week...

And when I'm at a wedding where the wine is flowing, it's always fun to remember that Jesus' first miracle, was turning water into the best wine ever tasted, not the two for £6 at Mulberry's.

At this very moment, the verse which keeps running over in my head is, "...there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother". Proverbs 18v24 

And for what wonderful godly reason, is this image sticking with me? Because I'm in the Head lice cycle. And those little suckers are sticking around for longer than I care to mention. Three of my kids' hair is beautifully soft, because we are in the 'conditioner - comb out' stage. They also smell of Tea Tree oil, not so good, because then everyone knows what you're currently dealing with. Well, every mum knows. The kids are about to smell of Vosene, which is an even worse smell, but it's the next recommendation I'm going with. Two of my kids never get them, and one pretends he has them because he loves physical touch and the thought of me stroking his hair is a delight to him.

When I just had boys, I'm sure this whole thing consisted of hair shaving or at least a good old trim. But now I have little females in my life, with thick luscious hair. And I have to comb the little suckers out of that hair, day after day it seems, week after week, I don't know, it feels like year after year at the moment. I have to find their favourite programme on the tele, so they sit still long enough, and then bribe them with anything I can find! And as soon as I even start, my own head starts the nervous itch. Some of you reading, are wanting to have a scratch right now! 

So I'm struck by this verse that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Some of my 'brother combinations' are as thick as thieves, and other pairings, not so much. But the Bible talks of a friend who sticks closer. The Bible describes Jesus as a friend of sinners, one who will never leave us. 

So my encouragement at the moment, is that Jesus sticks closer than even a nit on a strand of hair. And no matter what I do to try and shake Him off, get rid of Him even, he still chooses to stick by me. Of course the analogy falls down in many ways, like Jesus doesn't drive me to despair, and I wouldn't even able to live if He ever left me, whereas I think I'll literally celebrate when I get rid of the nits, maybe with a little trip to Mulberry's...

But right now I'm embracing the notion, with my hair up in a ponytail, that He is sticking with me no matter what.

(One bonus of #nitgate is that there has finally been a use for the hundreds of loom bands lying around the floor).