Back to it

New Years is the time of year most people become resolved to change or set and strive for fresh goals. But for me as a stay-at-home mom and ministry leader, back-to-school time is the golden ticket!

My sweet kiddos started a new school year yesterday, and in many ways my year begins again, too.

Seriously. Have you seen sweeter kids?

It’s time to get back to it!

I’ve missed posting here on my blog. For the past year, I’ve allowed my ministry to-do list to crowd out my writing time. This fall, I’d like to change that, because God uses blogging in my life to punctuate how He is at work in the details all around me.

Earlier this year, knowing what God was calling me to, I asked Him to increase my capacity (aka the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10). The vision He had given was impossible to achieve without His presence and power — and Him stretching me even further in faith. God answered that prayer by giving me more to do and more people to love and serve. That’s just like God! 😉

I can say truthfully I haven’t “handled” it all well. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve burnt out in my own strength. And, God has allowed me late this summer to solely focus on my first ministry — my family — to rejuvenate my heart and clarify my priorities.

What God calls us to, He equips us to do. But you know how He does that? It isn’t that God suddenly gives you new skills or management techniques or aligns all your people in an orderly manner so that leadership is easy. He gives us Himself. He requires us to be with Him, stand with Him, depend on Him, trust in Him, and release control so He can work — in US.

That’s why I want to get back to recording God’s words and encouragement here in blog form. I want God to keep me on my toes, recognizing His work in the details of life so that I can stand firm in Christ, as He calls me in Ephesians 6:10-20 (note all times we are urged to “stand”). And, I want to be able to share with you the amazing blessing and miracle it is that God chooses to move and make Himself evident in our everyday lives — the places that real life happens, those in-between moments that define us.

This restart may not be perfect. It’s a beginning, again. That sounds a lot like grace.

Thanks for joining me in the journey!

Finding peace in the midst of back-to-school crazy

Backpacks ready for the first day of school

Backpacks ready for the first day of school

In the rush of back-to-school, it’s hard to keep perspective. The last few weeks of summer are spent shopping for clothes and school supplies, squeezing in last-minute fun, attending open houses and gearing up for much earlier mornings. Add to that the emotions of starting a new school year (for both children and parents), and it’s easy to max out your family in a hurry.

This back-to-school season has been especially monumental for me because both of my children will be in school, with my daughter’s entrance into pre-K. As I’ve anticipated this life-change for our family this fall, it’s hard to know how to feel, besides incredibly nostalgic that my babies aren’t babies anymore.

I know I’m not the only parent who will struggle to hold back the tears in the next few days and weeks as school begins, and I would like to share with you some truths God is teaching me.

My mission hasn’t changed. God has blessed me with two amazing children. I am their mother, and my mission to raise them in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” does not change when they go back to school. Our priorities as a family don’t change. My ministry remains to plant God’s Word in their hearts, demonstrate and model what it is to passionately follow after Christ, pray continually for the development of their personal relationship with Jesus, and help guide them to honor God in their decisions.

I must not neglect personal time at the feet of Jesus. Just because life may get crazy and schedules fill does not mean that my one-on-one time with God gets bumped. Back-to-school often brings a buzz of activity. But, my priority of time in God’s Word and in prayer cannot take a backseat. I need Jesus more than ever! My husband and kids need me to spend time with Jesus! Carve out your sacred time with Christ now, and look for ways to include Him in the entire day. Post verses around the house and car. Listen to Christian radio. Start the morning with prayer. Stick with your daily Bible reading plan or begin one on YouVersion’s Bible app, so you can bring your Bible with you on the go. Bottom line: give God the best of your day and the best of yourself.

I need to make the most of my family time. At the end of the day, when kids are picked up and parents arrive home from work, it’s easy to slide into “getting things done” instead of prioritizing relationship building. Dinner needs to be made, dishes need to be cleaned, homework needs to be done, kids need to get to sports and other practices, showers need to be taken and all of a sudden it’s bedtime. In between all of those necessary check-marks can come zoning into phone apps, social media and TV shows. We need to evaluate as the school year gets underway: do we make time to not just chitchat but actually have conversations with our children? How can we spend time as a family, enjoying each other’s company? Are there activities or routines that are getting in the way of our relationships and opportunities to spiritually invest in our children? Family time is worth the work and sacrifice!

I should not be in a rush to fill the time. This word is especially for parents who have stayed home with their children or now have additional time “free” with their children returning to school. With both of my children heading to school tomorrow, I am now looking at an unscheduled three-hour span in the mornings that I’ve never had before. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me in the last several months what in the world I am going to do with myself. To tell you the truth, that question often irritates me, because it makes me feel like my job as the manager of my home and ministry investor isn’t enough. There is an intense pressure, sometimes from ourselves or from well-meaning friends and family, and from society at large, to fill our time according to everyone else’s standard. To all those stay-at-home parents out there, with babies going to school, I want to encourage you to take a pause before rushing back to the workplace or filling those school hours with unfiltered activity. Ask God what He wants, how He wants you to spend your life during that part of your day. And then obey, regardless if it meets other’s expectations. I know I will be right there with you, on my knees seeking God’s wisdom and heart.

I’m praying for you as your children get back on the school bus this fall! Pray for me too!! 🙂