It was my baby daughter’s first day of kindergarten, and I was a complete mess.
Of course, I didn’t show my emotion as we waited at the bus stop. My daughter stood tall in the morning sunlight, her blond ponytail swinging as she sported her Elsa backpack and a proud smile. I smiled back and said how excited I was for her. Told her she would be amazing and make so many friends.
But once she disappeared inside that big yellow bus, I turned on my heels and bawled the entire way back to my house. Not just quiet, cleansing tears either. I sobbed to the point of shoulders convulsing while I desperately prayed the neighbors wouldn’t think I was crazy.
A funny thing happened when I stepped inside my house, though. I cried a little more as I looked around at the toys littering the floor and the princess blanket draped from the couch to the ottoman, but then I had a sudden revelation.
Once I picked up this mess, it would stay clean for the rest of the day.
Talk about relief and a wee bit of excitement. It was the beginning of changes I would discover in this rhythm called school.
Now that my kids are a little older, I’ve learned to embrace the back-to-school days. It’s not only a time to declutter and organize my house, but it’s also a time to re-center my spirit after the summer time warp. Minutes that were filled with noise and interruptions are now open spaces for me to connect with God in a more intentional way.
Whether your kids are going to preschool or “big kids’ school,” here are a few things that may help you reset your spirit at the beginning of a new year.
1. Resist the urge to fill all the empty space in your calendar.
Believe me, I receive those desperate pleas for PTA volunteers in my inbox too. Not to mention all the other worthy activities like coffee dates with friends or Bible studies and ministry opportunities. Those are all well and good, but be careful to not overfill yourself when the school year is just beginning. Leave some empty space to embrace the quiet and establish a rhythm when you can meet with God.
2. Experiment with your devotions routine, and tweak as needed.
One thing that’s beautiful about God is He’s available to us anywhere, any time of the day. You may find that early mornings work best for you before the house wakes up, but if not, see if another time is better. If all your kids are in school, you might find it easier to open your Bible after they’ve loaded onto the bus. If you still have young kids at home, maybe afternoon naptime or evening is best. Let the school year be a time to reset your routine, and then make it a habit.
3. Plan your new schedule with God as your first thing.
As you build your to-do list, guard your time with God above everything else. This doesn’t mean it has to happen the minute your feet hit the floor in the morning. It means making Him first on your priority list. It’s so easy to add one more activity and then another, until the devotions routine you just established is squeezed out and you’re running the School Mom Rat Race again. Don’t let yourself get there. Block off your time with God, and guard it fiercely.
Back-to-school time may bring tears in the beginning, but it can also bring renewal to our weary mama souls. May we embrace the rhythm and make this our daily declaration:
I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
Psalm 119:14-16, NLT
Journeying with you,
Let’s talk! Do you find yourself crying or rejoicing when your kids go back to school? What helps you establish a soul care routine with God?