By Tracy Griess
Can you feel it? It’s that time of year again. Kids are heading back to school, it’s football season and everywhere we look there are reminders from God that the season is changing. This time of year is familiar to all of us. We go through similar routines and traditions every year as we gear up for what many call the busy season. This year is no different. I, like you, am gearing up for the “busy season”. And this year I also looked back at my post from last year. Every year much is familiar. We look at the school calendar, we get excited for football, there are back to school shoes and supplies. Some things never change and then some things do.
As I put pen to paper I am reminded that last year at this time, there was more than just the routine of back to school. I lost one of my very best friends to cancer. Over the last week as the anniversary of her passing was approaching I was reflecting on the memories, the life well lived. This year, back to school season has been different for me as well. I sent son #2 off to college. Since it was the second time it should have been familiar and somewhat easier. Well, it is anything but easy. This one actually “left” and lives far enough away that I can’t have lunch on a random Tuesday or tell him to zip over for spaghetti and meatballs. He has also chosen to play college sports so even if he was a bit closer his schedule is such that our conversations happen via text or at midnight when he’s done for the day. It’s another busy fall season where emotions seem to be all over the map. So, as I embrace all that life has in store, I look even more to the Father for strength and endurance.
I could easily interject at this point to hang on to your little ones and cherish every moment. And you should. Or, I could say enjoy those teenage years with your kids even if they are moody and messy and sometimes unbearable. And you should. But I won’t. I won’t simply hand out cliché advice. All of it is true and I would sure give that advice, but there is more as we color code our calendars, make decisions about which activities should get priority and hunker down for the roller coaster of the season. Even if your children are all grown and you aren’t sending anyone back to school, you know the “busy” of this season. You might be gearing up for fall ministry or a winter season in a different state. Perhaps your grandchildren are heading back to school and your calendar is filled with their activities. Whatever life stage you are in, I am sure you can relate.
First of all, I will tell you to embrace the busy-ness. Embrace all that life is throwing at you. Don’t necessarily look for ways to cut something out or lighten the calendar. Embrace all of it. Seek God first and ask Him to lead you as you carpool, do laundry, go to dance class or football games. Seek God and ask Him how you can bring Him glory through your daily activities. How will you use your time to bring glory to Him?
Sometimes we have to rest, and sometimes we don’t. What we must always do is be in communication with the Father. We must always remember that our sole purpose is to bring Him glory. As I reflect on the last 21 years of back to school seasons and as I remember my dear friend Joyce, I am reminded that I have one job. That job is to bring glory to God. I don’t always get it right, but I will continue this journey and strive to do better. I will look more toward the Father, I will seek His direction more, and I will meet with Him more. As we think about sending our kids off to school and ponder the advice we should give them, perhaps it is us that need a reminder. As tired as we are and as full as our calendar becomes, don’t get bogged down in the busy-ness of life. Embrace it!
So in this busy, back to school season, yes, I have learned a few things over the years. Plan ahead, set the alarm just a few minutes earlier, expect the unexpected, buy extra folders (they will rip or get lost), and enjoy the ride to school while you play that music loud and laugh with your kids. But beyond all of that, I have learned, and today I am reminded again, that I serve a God that is 100% always on time. My plans may appear derailed, I may struggle to find the answer and I may not understand or even like everything that is happening around me. But, I can trust that God has already shown up, He’s just waiting for me. His plan is good and I can rest in knowing that He will work all of it out for His glory. So today as you are preparing for your particular busy season, take a moment to be reminded that God is good, He is on time and if you ask, He will lead you down His path.