You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Back-to-School Zone! As a little girl, the smells and sounds around me signaled that time of the year when the fun of summer was ending and the return to school was nearing. I wonder if many of you can still attest to being transported back in time, even now as an adult, when the cicadas are chirping and the air smells more autumn-like?
Our journeys are all different at this time of the year--some are rejoicing because the kiddos are returning to the brick and mortar building, others are crying because their babies are entering kindergarten. Some are gearing up a space in the kitchen or dining room because they've chosen to educate their children at home. And, if you don't have children, perhaps your commute to work just got a little harder now that the school zone speed limits are back into effect and the little ducklings are all crossing the streets in a row.
If you are a mama, or an aunt, or a sister, or even a grandmother, I would venture to guess that you may have some plans or expectations for the little loved ones in your life. If allowed, I would've been happy to write the script for my children's lives when it came to college, marriage and career. We joke about arranging marriages for our children and we prophesy their future occupations based on early interests. But, what happens when our dreams and expectations meet reality? Suddenly our journey into a wondrous land of imagination comes to a screeching halt!
You are now entering the Real Life Zone...
If you expected your First Day Pictures to reflect sweetly smiling children clad in perfectly ironed clothing, yet you ended up with grouchy kiddos complaining of their itchy new shirts and wishing they could be sleeping instead of awake at the crack of dawn...then you might be living Real Life.
If you expected a precious time of prayer with your high schooler before he (or she...this is hypothetical, of course...no personal stories here...) drove off for the day, but ended up with a "I'm late, Mom, can you just hurry this thing up?!?"...then you might be living Real Life.
If you planned out your child's spiritual journey for her, but she strayed from her parents' faith and does not seem to be living for the Lord...then you might be living Real Life.
Our list of expectations or dreams vs. realities could go on and on. If you love any young person in your life, it seems to be natural to want certain things for them. But, the challenge comes when we seek WHY we want those things for them.
Is it because it makes us look better?
Is it because we don't want them to experience hardships?
Is it because we fear the unknown?
Often, as older-than-them adults, we do have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with them. And we should. Yet, I have to do a gut-check every so often (okay, more than often) and realize that God's plan for the young people in my life is a good one because He is good and He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It is usually during the hardships that we grow in maturity in Christ. We don't want our children to remain spiritual infants, do we? Yet, we want to desperately protect them from anything that seems to be a refining tool for them.
We must take our dreams before the Lord and ask Him to refine them so that He receives the glory through it all.
Enjoy this Back to School time. Pray for all those little ones, and bigger ones, heading back to school. Ask the Lord to draw them to Himself. Pray for faithful Christian teachers and students who are facing persecution. Pray for parents who are struggling with reality. Persevere as our schedules ramp up and the homework increases. Most of all, depend upon the Lord for everything. He is faithful.