My baby is going to kindergarten, and I am not going to cry. Yep, you read that right. My blessing baby (aka surprise addition) is going to kindergarten in seven days, and I am not a weepy crying mess.
My kind quiet 10-year-old is starting his last year of elementary school, and I am not going to cry about that either.
And my firstborn—the tiny, five-pound baby girl who made me a momma—will be in eighth grade. Her last year of middle school before high school. It all seems like big changes and big moments. But I am not going to cry about these either.
By now you may think I am the worst, most cold-hearted momma in the world. (And my kids may agree some days when I say no to more junk food and screen time, but I digress).
I am not going to cry about all these big moments because I am excited about them. I am excited because just like I believe God has a plan for me each day of my life, I believe God has a plan for my three kids each day of their lives —even at 5, 10, and 13.
Psalm 139 says God ordains all the days of my life before I am born. I tend to read my Bible sometimes and look for direction and promises for my life. I pray for God to send me someone to minister to and to be His hands and feet to. I pray people would see God in me. But do I pray the same for my children?
Do I pray that my 13-year-old shows kindness and true peace in an age and place that is full of confusion, depression, and fear? Middle school was a tough place 30 years ago when I went, so I can’t imagine it now. But I don’t have to. . . I can trust that God knew my sweet baby (and your sweet baby) would walk those halls and be a light where you and I cannot be.
Do I pray that my 10-year-old son who loves sports and lives for recess would be the kid who includes everyone and be the peacemaker that his fifth grade class needs? I believe God has gifted my children (and yours too) with the gifts and callings that He has. And while I pray over them and their future each night, am I praying that my son uses his gifts now? To be a blessing to his teachers, his bus driver, his friends, and even the kid who isn’t his friend—the one who isn’t even nice to him, you know the kid I am talking about.
And do I pray that my wild (and sometimes feral—don’t judge, momma feels old!) 5-year-old shows the absolute joy and happiness he has for life to all those he encounters? I don’t need to wait for him to be older or have the words to articulate his faith, I can pray that his zeal for life would be evidence of the peace I pray over him. And that God is in the middle of the ABCs, runny noses, and chaos of his kindergarten classroom.
My momma always told my siblings and me that we were pieces of her heart walking around this world. And goodness I feel that. But more than that, I believe and I pray that my kids are pieces of God’s heart walking around this world.
They are the pieces showing kindness. They are the pieces showing love. They are the pieces showing humility. They are the pieces showing patience. They are the pieces showing Him. And that my kids know their value and know what they have to offer the world—the one that starts in their classroom.
I realize that school, kids’ sports, activities, and childhood aren’t all peace, joy, and love. It isn’t all sunny days and easy times. There are some hard days. There are some terrible days. There will be hard conversations. There will be days of pain and disappointment that wish I could take away from them. But God is good even on those days.
I can’t protect my kids from the world, but I can trust that God is still with them when they don’t make the team, when they feel left out, when they make bad choices and end up in trouble. I can trust He has a plan and purpose for all the days of their lives even at 5, 10, and 13. And I believe that He is placing people in their lives right now for a specific reason.
And so as these new school years start and I find myself looking at time and how quickly it takes away my babies and makes them big kids and then teenagers and one day adults, may I (and may we all) find joy and peace in what God has for our children—even in kindergarten.
And in seven days when I feel like pulling the covers over my head and crying my eyes out because I will be alone in this house for the first time in 13 years, let me replace that sadness with excitement. Excitement about what God has for them and anticipation of them changing their kindergarten class for good, their football team for good, their middle school lunch room for good. And who knows . . . maybe the world for good one day.