Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Of toothbrushes and surrender

Savannah has two Dora the Explorer toothbrushes. Before I wised up and put a stop to it, I used to let her carry around her toothbrush after my (pitiful) attempt at brushing her teeth every night, because she would insist that it was "her turn". Only problem was, she would get distracted, and the toothbrush would be cast aside at various and sundry places around the house. Which meant that we would sometimes go a few days without proper dental hygiene because of said lost toothbrush. Plus....probably not so sanitary, because my floors? They leave a little to be desired.

So after two of her toothbrushes had mysteriously disappeared, I bought another one and told her that she couldn't carry it around anymore. This announcement didn't go over so well, but she learned to deal. And then a few days later she unearthed one of the missing ones, so now we have two.

Ok, as a side note, I have something to admit. I hate brushing Savannah's teeth. Frankly, if I didn't think I would be doing permanent damage to them, I would skip it all together, or just let her chew on a toothbrush and call it close enough.

I sit her on the bathroom counter and we have a scuffle because she wants to hold the toothbrush, and then the tube of Diego toothpaste, and then my toothbrush, and then if she is feeling particularly uncooperative, she giggles and clamps her mouth around the toothbrush so that I cannot see her teeth. By the time I get a few good brushes in, my patience is gone and I comfort myself with the fact that they are just her baby teeth and if I ruin them with shoddy dental care, we'll get another shot at it in a few years with her permanent teeth.

She likes to play a game with me every time. She picks up both toothbrushes and holds them out to me. "Which one, Mama?" She knows that we only use the newer (and presumably cleaner) toothbrush, the Mermaid one. "Dora Princess? Or Mermaid?"

And I make a grab for the Mermaid. "This one!"

She giggles and pulls it away from me and tries again. "Nooooo. Which one, Mama?" This time only offering the Princess toothbrush and hiding the Mermaid behind her back. "Which one you like, Mama?"

It always makes me laugh, her childish way of getting me to pick the one that she wants me to use.

And it makes me think. Lately I've been feeling a lot like this myself. My conversations with God have been eerily similar to the ones I have with Savannah. I put the things that I don't want to give up behind my back, and then reach out my other hand to Him. "Which one do you want God? The Princess, right? Surely not this, not the Mermaid, not the thing I can't imagine surrendering. What if I give it up to you and I never get it back? What if that is Your plan for me, and I don't LIKE it?"

And much like I do with Savannah, He probably smiles down at me, wondering at my childishness, wondering why I can't just trust Him with it. I know it is only in surrender that we will find His true peace, and even if He does call me to place my precious Mermaid toothbrush, my hopes and dreams, in His hand, He will bless me a thousand times over with His perfect plan. Not mine. His. He sees the big picture, and I know that picture is gonna be beautiful. Whether it has a Mermaid toothbrush in it or not.


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30 comments:

Jules from "The Roost" said...

What a wonderful analogy you got from the toothbrush! Isn't it amazing how God speaks to us....he can even use Dora! Thanks for sharing. :)

Cheri said...

Sometimes it just CRACKS ME UP how often I'm talking about how frustrated I am with parenting, then it occurs to me - just like in your post - that we do the same things with God as our children do with us!

photomama said...

what a great ilustration of what we are willing to give the Lord. Cute story and thanks for the reminder of giving everything to the Lord.

Rachel @ Unexpected Blessings said...

What a great illustration!

I too have been struggling with surrender. My selfish desires have such strong roots. Just pulling the weeds at the surface does not work. I have to dig it out and trust that He will fill the hole. Not easy.

Thanks for sharing.

kaleytaylor said...

Beautifully written. I love finding analogies like that in everyday life - seems they are all over the place!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

*GULP* You have to hit where it hurts huh? :)
It is so true Jackie. I too just love how our children are used by God to show us precious truths. I have learned so much more about God since becoming a parent.

Rach@In His Hands said...

Beautiful post...it is obvious why God calls us "His children"! We are in constant need of protection, direction,love and correction from our Father.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

Krystal said...

So true! It's so hard to surrender. If we would just do it, the peace would be amazing. Your post always inspire me!

I laughed at the teeth brushing scene! At our house it is the same way! Except Griffin wants EVERYONE'S toothbrush and his! And of course, most days we can't find his because he put it down somewhere and lost it! I guess I should be like you and make him stay in the bathroom with it...I'm so weak!

Have a great day!

Gretchen said...

So, so, so very true, Jackie. Thank you for the reminder that He sees it all, so when we try to hide our junk, we're only being silly. Ah...growing pains.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

This is so great and so true. I will come back to this one :)

Aspiemom said...

What a great analogy, Jackie! I love to read stories like this because it also will serve as a reminder when I see a toothbrush (or whatever object lesson was in the story I'm reading).

Thanks for sharing this. It was beautifully put - and I can just see Savannah, in my mind, doing this!

His Girl said...

okay, that was gooood. wow. I'll be thinking about this all day long!

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

I love this...such a great illustration. I so want to be in a place of complete surrender, where I'm trusting HIM for everything!

Elena said...

Great post. Now, I know what I have to look forward to getting Mary to brush her teeth. I'm sure she will have a similar response to Savannah's:) I can so identify with your spiritual application to this story, from past experiences. I say a hardy amen, to your closing conclusion, my life is a testimony to that. God bless you! Elena

Colored With Memories said...

very well written, friend! easier written than done, i'm sure. isn't is great? all these life lessons we learn through parenting...definitely a sanctifying process.

Erin K. said...

Isn't it funny the things we learn from our kids?

Also, I can totally relate to the whole dental hygiene thing. Kaitlyn used to love having her teeth brushed; now it is a huge battle. And I often think the same thing as you - at least it's just her baby teeth, right? ;-)

mamajil said...

What an awesome analogy!!! oh and on the tooth brush thing....Sawyer is my kid that loses his tooth brush daily...
We play dentist every night...and sit them on the counter Madeline pretends to be the dentist counts the teeth with the tooth brush as she is counting she is brushing....then they get a turn....and we get through it...This is not one of my favorite things at all! Thank goodness for my older kids that think its fun :)

Tracy's Porch said...

Fabulous analogy! And cute to boot. I needed this little reminder.

Jenn said...

What an absolutely beautiful post!

Casey said...

Ummmm- have you been reading my journal? ;) This hit way to close to home.

Beautiful writing.

ttm said...

Oh, what an inspirational lesson you have just taught me! Thank you for sharing your heart about this.
On the brushing note, I found that if I make funny noises while brushing EJ's teeth it causes him to laugh harder and harder and his mouth stays open!

SarahHub said...

Haven't you learned so much about our Heavenly Father since becoming a mother?

This is all so true. But, I still hope you get your Mermaid toothbrush...

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

I loved this, Jackie. It hit very close to home, and not just the hating of brushing the kiddos teeth.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Beautiful post, Jackie.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

That's when you know you're really walking with Him, Jackie: when you hear His voice in the everyday of life. Great post, my friend.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

(Total side note: I can't stand brushing my kids' teeth, either. I finally got those battery-powered ones and they are WONDERFUL! Very quick. I think they're plastered with Dora, even.)

Lisa said...

Hmm...the picture that makes of holding one hand behind our backs. Hmm...and hmm. Good stuff!

Life In Progress said...

Love this post - very well said!

MoziEsmé said...

I love this post! Esme does pretty much the same thing with her toothbrushes every night, and I usually just resign myself and consider it good if I get a few swipes in her mouth. I love how you found something so meaningful in all of that.

Huse Yo Mama said...

This was BEAUTIFUL!!! You're so right. It's amazing what we can learn about ourselves and God when we look at our children!

I'm so glad I found you! Praying for you now.

Savannah - she is just a DOLL FACE!