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TITLE: Elijah And The Toothbrush
By Connie K Cameron
02/16/12
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A true story about getting my son to brush his teeth, and what I learned from that experience
My husband, Mark and I wanted our little boy, Elijah, to start brushing his teeth. He didn’t like the idea. He didn’t want to do it himself and he wouldn’t let me do it for him. So his teeth were going un-brushed. Elijah’s Doctor said that he was getting some build up and that he needed to start brushing. Mark and I decided to hold on to Elijah and brush them for him, big mistake. After that there was no possible way he was going to brush his teeth by himself. He ended up hating something that only would be good for him. After a week of hearing Elijah scream every time we would show him a toothbrush, we gave up for a while.

Then, we tried something new. Elijah loves juice. First thing every morning, he wants his juice. This particular morning, we said, “Sorry baby, no juice until you take the toothbrush and touch it to your teeth.” He took the toothbrush, and he threw the toothbrush. I gave it to him again, and he threw it again. I gave it back to him, and he took it and hid it. He was so stubborn, he went most of the day, drinking only water. He would ask for juice and I would say, “Yes, you can have juice, as soon as you touch the toothbrush to your teeth.” And the last thing he did was, he cried for his juice.

Then it happened, having that juice meant more to Elijah than having his own way. He found his toothbrush where he hid it earlier, in the living room. He brought it to me, and he said, “Brush teeth?” Then he did it, he touched that toothbrush to his teeth. I clapped and hugged him. Then I gave Elijah the juice, that I had ready and waiting for him. All he had to do was get what he wanted in line with what I wanted for him. The next morning he fought brushing his teeth again, but he did end up brushing his teeth, and getting his juice. Every day it got a little easier, until one morning I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and he came in and asked if he could brush his teeth too.

This taught me something about prayer. I used to think that I needed to talk God into things with my prayers. I realized that I was wrong. 1 Samuel, is the story about Hanna. She wanted a child. The longer she prayed and didn’t get one, the more desperate she got for a child. She finally got down and cried before God. She said, “God if you just give me a son, I will give him to you.” That was it, that was what God wanted all along. He was ready and waiting to give her that baby. He just wanted Hanna to do one thing, promise that baby to Him. She didn’t persuade God to do anything, God gently persuaded her to give Him something that they both wanted. When her heart was ready, He gave her what He had planned for her from the beginning of time.

I love Elijah. I want the best for him, bur forcing him to do what would be good for him, only made him hate it. Bringing him to a place where he would change his feelings about something he didn’t want, so that he could have something he did want, worked. Now on his own, Elijah brushes his teeth.

God sets it up so that we get to a place that we desire what He already wants for us. Then we cry out to God, “Please give us what we desire.” And when our desires and our hearts are in line with his will and His desire for us, He says, “Yes.”

Psalm 145:19, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him, He also hears their cry and saves them.”
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