Monday, August 18, 2014

A Prayer for the First Day of School

K, P, & R,
Happy first day of fourth grade! This morning you dressed yourselves and made your own breakfast. You gathered your own backpacks and tied your own shoes. You reminded me about the traditional first day of school photo and we made it to school not only on time, but with a few minutes to spare.

I was there. I woke you up (and you groaned). I circulated with reminders and prompts. I offered a little extra height to reach the cereal bowls and brushed 2/3 of your hair because you still haven't quite grasped that grooming is a part of getting dressed. But you have essentially figured this elementary school thing out. There were no tears--from me or you. We have come a long way, babies!

And now I am home in an eerily quiet house. For the first time in three months I can sip a second cup of coffee with only the soundtrack of a humming refrigerator and the occasional thumping of the dog's tail on the hardwood floor...and of course, the tapping of my laptop's keys.

I need to do a lot of things, but first on my list was to sit for a while and think about what I hope and pray for you in this age and stage of life. The older I get the more complex this world seems, and yet the clearer my call feels. I have read plenty of parenting/womanhood/life checklists, but it always seems to come back to this:

May you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind...and love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

I borrowed those words from Jesus and I offer them as your benediction.

Loving the Lord with all your heart means trusting Him with your hurt feelings and your greatest wants. I pray as you grow, you will want Him first and above all else. When your heart seeks approval from your peers, your teachers and even from me and your Dad, I pray you will remember you are ALREADY approved in Him. Lean into Him. Allow Him to shower you with His love.

Loving with your soul is about the deepest places, loving Him with who you are. At ten, we are only beginning to discover your talents and unique gifting, but some are becoming apparent. I urge you to love Him with your leadership, R, your energy, K, and your sensitivity, P.

Loving Him with your mind, means being diligent about what is being allowed into your brain, what thoughts you allow to take root. It also involves applying yourself at school. God has gifted you each with different kinds of intelligence. My problem solver/strategist, my creative and my curious, I pray you will give those minds back to Him. May you see school as a place those gifts are being nurtured and refined for your good and His Glory. This is not about all As, it is about being engaged and interested. Education is a gift and a journey to further equip you for the call on your lives.

Loving your neighbor as yourself is a tall order, but when we begin to grasp how He loves us, it all makes a bit more sense. Your classmates, your teachers and those younger students who are looking up to you are dearly loved by God. Part of loving Him is loving them...especially, when we don't feel like it. Look out for who needs a friend. Be respectful of and grateful for the teachers and school staff who are giving their lives to your care. Forgive those who are hurtful or rude--you have no idea what may be going on in their lives.

If you are ever in doubt how to respond in any situation, I pray you will ask yourself one question: what is the loving thing to do?

I hope this list doesn't make you feel overwhelmed. It is a lifelong journey I am still on at 39...and why I know I need Him. I am praying for you. God has plans for your lives--not just one day when you 'grow up,' but right now in the thick of elementary school.

I love you dearly and am so grateful for the front row seat to what He is doing in and through your lives.

So, go forth, laugh, play, discover, fall, fail, forgive, learn, grow...and may you do it all with love.


Jennifer said...

Excellent post that can be applied to everyone - even my kindergarten girl! Hope your trio has a terrific day!!!

Debra said...

This is so beautiful!! You touch so many of us with your heart and words!

Diane Tohline said...

Fourth Grade is a good year. Some experience under their belts, nothing too new to step into....a wonderful year of establishing and growing roots. I am so blessed how your absorb and enjoy the journey ...times 3!!!!

Leigh Ann Smith said...

I always love reading your blog. You are such a beautiful person (inside and out). Looking forward to this year with our 4th graders:) You may not have cried the first day...but I just did reading about it.