"... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)I’m still trying to adjust to seeing just two toothbrushes in the bathroom toothbrush cup. I remember when there were five, and three of them were short and chunky with cartoon characters on the handle. The other morning as I looked a little sadly at the two lonely toothbrushes standing in the cup, it served as a reminder that everything changes and that’s as it should be. As I stood there brushing my teeth and staring at a the toothbrush cup, I contemplated getting a smaller container, one that wouldn’t show so much empty space, but then, as He often does, in a completely random place, God began to teach. I know with absolutely certainty, the three little Wohlferts I love so much were never intended to stay here on Pratt Road forever. I know with absolute certainty Dave and I enjoy the young adults they have become and we find great joy watching them discover their own paths. Sometimes it’s hard to keep quiet about things. We’d like to offer advice we hope is steeped in wisdom and experience, but like all parents, we realize that some lessons are best learned by living. Our kids know we are always here if they need advice or help, but we try to let them ask first before we just spit it all out. I’m sure the Father is sitting there, anxious for us to ask for help too! Like earthly parents, He’s waiting in the wings with wisdom, experience, love and a way to navigate a situation with much less difficulty if we’d only ask. Those two little toothbrushes screamed a powerful message about my relationship with the Father. Although three toothbrushes are absent from the cup, my kids aren’t absent from my life. I don’t see them, I don’t hear them every day, but I know they are there. I suppose the Father needed to remind me of that; I may not see Him or hear Him, but He reminded me He’s always there. As I thought about each of the kids who now have their own toothbrush holder, I realize I’m not responsible for providing the vessel: That's their job. We were each given free will and we have the opportunity to make dozens of choices a day. We’ve been given a body or a vessel to get us through this earthly life, but the choice to listen to and follow Him are our responsibility; He won’t barge into our lives uninvited and take control of the vessel. How we fill it is up to our own choosing. It’s our job to remember He will always fill our vessel with the best stuff imaginable, but it needs to be empty enough to make room for Him. I always bought the toothbrushes. As far as the kids were concerned, they were just always there and were probably taken for granted. Let’s face it: Unless you are the mom, not much thought goes into toothbrush supply. I stood there brushing, wondering how much money I had spent on toothbrushes over the decades, and I couldn’t think of one single time anyone thanked me for providing a toothbrush. Just as I was about to feel a teeny bit unappreciated, I realized how many dozens and dozens of gifts, graces, and blessings God provides without my notice or proper acknowledgement. The last thing that popped into my head before I spit and swished was the fact that I reminded, even hounded, my kids to use those toothbrushes at LEAST twice a day and more often when they ate something sticky or gooey. Since those toothbrushes aren’t in my bathroom anymore, I have to trust that they remember what I told them. If they don’t, obviously there will be dental consequences. My mind quickly shifted to prayer. I hope we remember to pray more times than we brush … did I teach them that … will they remember that … will they realize that when things in life get sticky or gooey they need to add a little extra? Will they realize the consequences of a life without Him? And of course, will I remember that myself? I’m sure God was reminding me that prayer should be as automatic as tooth-brushing and hopefully a lot more frequent. He also made me realize that the time I spend brushing my own teeth would be a perfect opportunity to pray for the kids who have toothbrush holders of their own now. As I wiped my mouth and put my toothbrush in the cup with Dave’s, I thanked Him for the lesson and for the gift of all those years with five toothbrushes in the cup. A Seed To Plant: Think of five people to pray for this week each time you brush your teeth. Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2018 Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.