As I fly around town with two shopping lists of school supplies in one hand and a mile long list of To Dos in the other, my mind races in a zillion directions. The pressures of back to school make me feel like I’m the one back in the classroom – learning new rules, handing in papers, and fielding an onslaught of questions.
Sports physicals are due to the athletic office today. Are they still sitting on my kitchen counter??
Will last year’s lunch boxes survive at least the first few weeks of school?
What time do we need to wake up to get to school ON TIME this year?
Whose class is the Nut Free Zone? Oh dear! How will my boys survive without PB and J?!
Don’t forget about the new rules for car line… Um, what were they, again?
There is so much to think about, I start another list.
At least these questions have straightforward answers. Like fill in the blanks on a quiz, with a little research, I’ll be able to cross them off my list one by one.
But then the barrage of worry-based essay questions begin. These don’t have definitive answers and usually lead to a string of more concerns.
From the time my sons were in preschool, these questions have had the power to consume me, if I let them. My reasons for fear have changed over the years, but they never go away completely. Now that the boys are in high school, my mind fills with concerns related to the safety of my oldest who drives himself to school and plays varsity football with really big guys. And for my youngest. He’s entering his high school freshman year… Need I say more?
My mind is spinning as I continue to run errands. I try to invent solutions to all of my concerns- most of which have me in the driver’s seat trying to control each and every issue. Sadly, that translates to trying to control my kids with nagging and helicoptering. Not the parenting approach I desire or recommend.
Shopping, driving, list making, worrying, controlling … the art of multi-tasking takes on a whole new dimension. My head is pounding. I need an Advil.
And then I see it.
I imagine what the scene at this intersection will look like in just a few days.
The cheerful yet confident crossing guard, sporting her neon yellow vest, slowly enters the busy street. As she angles her stop sign towards traffic, the cars halt and wait. A swarm of children buzz around eagerly and anxiously along the curb, awaiting her signal. The look on their faces is precious: a mix of nervous anticipation and excitement, uncertainty and distraction. And for some, dread and disappointment. As a mom, I relate to every bit of it.
But the crossing guard’s presence is bold and reassuring, making it easier for the kids to put their trust in her. And once the intersection is at a standstill, she motions for the youngsters to carefully cross the street. They walk safely, straight across the intersection.
As they reach the other side and the reality of summer’s end washes over them, the crossing guard’s smile helps lift them back up. She is full of grace and compassion for the kids. It’s obvious she loves her job. And I’m thankful for her.
Suddenly, my brain connects the dots.
In order to get across the chaotic intersection safely, the kids on the sidewalk put their trust in the crossing guard. They have to give up personal control and allow her to lead. Sure, she wears a uniform, which makes her look official. And she is friendly and authoritative, which draws the kids in. But none of the kids truly know her. She’s a stranger. Yet, each one is willing to surrender their fears and trust her to guide them to their destination without harm.
And, she does.
At the proper moment.
And in the proper fashion.
Jolted Out of the Daydream
God’s truth jolted me out of my daydream as Proverbs 3:5-6 ran through my head.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5-6
If the kids are able to trust a stranger to help them cross over from the security of home to the uncertainty of the new school year, WHY in the world am I not trusting God to do the same for me?!
The answer to that one is painfully obvious. My natural tendency is to lean on my own understanding. I feel comfortable there. I like the control. Never mind that it often has me wondering in circles, facing uncomfortable yet avoidable obstacles, and sometimes never even allowing me to reach my destination. Augh!
But every time I DO surrender to my Heavenly Father, I’m rewarded with a peace and comfort that totally defies understanding. He guides me exactly where I need to go, with straighter paths than I could ever find myself. He lifts my heavy backpack of burden off my shoulders and carries every ounce of it for me. He dusts me off when I trip and fall, and he loves me through it all.
The journeys I take with Jesus are incredibly rewarding. It’s the first steps of surrender that are tough.
And so He stands there, just like the friendly crossing guard, waiting for me to surrender my doubts and fears, take His hand and allow Him to lead.
The yellow school zone light is still flashing, and the back to school chaos continues. I hold out my hand and feel God’s presence instantly surround me. It’s in that crosswalk that I find the incredible intersection of God’s truth and grace. And I know that, in His power and strength, with His direction, and with his endless forgiveness and grace… this may just be the best school year yet!
26 Scriptures to Bring Your Back-to-School Insanity to the Intersection of God’s Truth and Grace
Wasn’t Davi’s post great? Be sure to check out her blog at TriParenting.com. Parenting, like a triathlon or marathon, is a genuine test of endurance. Through it, we face unthinkable challenges, celebrate priceless victories, and learn more about ourselves than ever imagined. It’s a journey like no other. And to do our best, we’ve got to give our best. Our Personal Best. Not perfection. There’s a difference. Davi shares encouragement and practical, proven strategies to be the best mom you can be.
I made you a list of 26 verses (one for each letter of the alphabet – X and Z were the biggest challenges!). Print off a copy for you and each of your kids. I chose verses I thought would help parents and kids alike navigate the stress and challenges of this time of year.
Scripture Memory Team Verse #16
If you’re joining me on the journey to memorize 24 verses this year, I’d love to hear what verse you are working on . I’ve decided to make Proverbs 3:5-6 my “verse” for this next couple weeks.
If you watched my Periscope broadcast last week about Achieving PEACE in the War on Worry and you want a copy of the verses I have been memorizing, here they are. Just click the image or button and I’ll email you a PDF you can print out. Cut them out make your own 3×5 spiral.
Blessings of truth and grace,
How about you? What do you find challenging about this time of year and how do you cope? You can leave a comment by clicking here.