You may have noticed how Facebook was inundated with first day of school pictures a few weeks ago. It is a wonderful and heartbreaking thing to watch your kids grow up. As a parent, every new milestone is met with a sense of excitement and sadness. Once they begin to walk, they never crawl again. My youngest is now a 2nd grader, and we have officially entered the world of spelling tests and math quizzes. My son is a junior higher in 7th grade, and he's going to be going to school dances and trying out for the school’s athletic teams in the near future – gone are the days of tetherball on the playground. But, maybe the hardest is my oldest. She is a sophomore in high school this year, and we visited our first college this summer. She'll get her driver's license in just a few months – never again will I drive her to her first day of school. Nope, we are in the final years of childhood with her, looking forward to proms and first dates. It is a stressful and beautiful thing. And, as if the first couple of weeks of school weren't exhausting enough, it is filled with meetings, paperwork, and an endless to-do list all designed to get us ready for the new schedule of the year.
Mostly, that's what back to school time feels like for me. It’s time to get back to the schedule. The leisure of summer is over, with its sporadic days and late nights, and now it is time to get back to the rush and hurry of the school year. I'm not sure what other families are like, but ours goes from school to activity to dinner to bed. The days become a routine. We get back to the routine of early to bed and early to rise. We load into the car to head to practices with our book bags in hand so homework can be squeezed in while riding in the back seat. And, in the midst of the rushed routine, with every moment scheduled, we seem to forget to leave time with God. Sure, we usually get back into the routine of church on Sunday, but it's not really enough, is it? I make my kids do a Bible study before bed each night, but is that really the sum of what I'm providing my kids for relational time with their Father?
My precious friend DLynn coerced me into reading a book recently. It's exactly the kind of book I hate, if I'm being honest. The Unhurried Life is about rest. The mere title makes me laugh. As if an unhurried life for a full-time working mom with three kids all in extracurricular sports, music, and advanced classes was even a possible reality. But the book did make pause. There was a chapter on prayer that particularly got me. I wondered how intentional am I being with those moments we do have (brief though they may be) to encourage my family to spend TIME with their Father? Are we spending time in prayer in the car? Am I utilizing that time to let my kids share how I can pray for them? Am I encouraging them to pray as they do their activities, are we in constant contact with our Father? Sure sometimes God hits me upside the head and I'm reminded to make these moments intentional, but usually my own stress and busyness gets in the way.
If you’re a parent with young kids, back to school is full of emotion and busyness. But my perspective sure is changed as I take the time to abide in Christ and find rest in Him. Who will teach our children to spend time with their Father if we don't? And I'm talking about more than a sleepy bedtime prayer or an obligatory study. So, today I'm praying that God keeps my mind on prayer with Him.