Here is where this week finds me…struggling. This is back to school week and while I hear so many moms singing the praises of back to school I am being drug along, trying to dig my heels in, all the while screaming, “STOP!” No other time of year so poignantly accentuates the passing of time and this year marks both firsts and lasts in our house. The first year of high school and the last year of elementary. I am taking this harder than any other milestone to date, birthdays included. Why? Because I feel like I am running out of time and I’m not done yet!
We have made it through the bickering, he’s-touching-me, she-started-it years. The years I thought would never end have suddenly disappeared and now the floodgates have opened and the days are flying by. Our babies have turned into these really cool people who I love being with. Not just because I am their mom and I have to, but because I like them. Their passions are developing and are contagious, the “why” questions are so much deeper, and harder to answer, but spur conversation and debate and I have always loved a good argument. (Right dad and mom?) Now I have children who are giving me a run for my money. And we’re having fun, big-kid fun, road-trip fun, card night fun, crazy, laughing, singing Zac Brown Band and Lynard Skinnard, and sometimes even Journey, at the top of our lungs fun…and my heart is aching because I know how fast this is happening and I am helpless to stop it. I just want to hang out here for awhile. I am discovering that this is parenting at its best and worst and I love it and I hate it. There are days when I don’t think my heart is big enough to hold it all. And that is where I am. And that is why I am struggling.
The world is a twisted, messed up, broken place and hard as I try I can’t protect them from it but we are striving to give them the tools to thrive within it. Not only do I want them to be the light on the hilltop, I want them to want it too.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14,16 NLT)
But so often that means saying no when everyone is saying yes, or yes when everyone else is saying no. It’s counter-cultural and attention-grabbing during a time in their lives when everyone is seeking to be invisible or homogenous. And that’s scary…
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10, 11 NLT)
My mom passed down this advice to me which was once given to her…”You think your kids need you when they are little, and they do, but they need you so much more when they are older.” And I am seeing that more and more everyday.
As parents, I truly believe one of the best legacies we can leave our children is prayer. Pray with them, pray over them, pray for them. Pray like it’s your job, because it is. Just pray! They will see it, hear it, and learn it, even when they are pretending otherwise. And I can promise you will feel better afterwards. We are not meant to be in this alone. Through prayer, we invite God into the fray with us. And I know there are days I need all the help I can get, like today.
I shared this Back To School Prayer last year and find it no less true this year. This is a portion of my prayer as I send my growing-up-too-fast kids back to school.
I want more first days, a lot more. I know they are mine for just a moment, but they are yours, God, for eternity. Keep them safe God, and if you would, just fill in the gaps with the things I forgot to say because I was too busy or too distracted. That would be great. That would be really, really, great.
We all know someone who is going back to school, be it a child or a teacher. Would you join me in praying for them?