He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
This is it. Now entering a paradigm shift: baby days become school days. Take a deep breath, chin up, smile through those teary eyes, send them bravely off. For some of us, this week our kiddos head off to their first days of school and a lifetime of education. But this isn’t really “it”… is it? Because really, it was happening all along. The planting, the growing, the thriving in the fertile soil of a life planned for them long ago.
I vividly remember the day my husband and I sent our little girl off to preschool. At some point in the weeks before the first day of school it occurred to me: this is it. Our girl, little walking miracle of life that we’ve been graced with, is having another “first”–and for this momma it was a really big deal. From now on, she grows up.
These days, this blissful little girl with her great-big-giant-spirited will has been reminding me every day that she is a big girl. Ever since those diapers came off and she pulled on her first pair of big girl panties. Since she first slept in a big girl bed and slept through the night completely dry. Ever since, she has been learning there is always something new for her to conquer on her journey toward independence.
Then it hits her. It’s bedtime and she realizes we are going to say good night and leave her room. It’s Sunday morning and she will be going to kids’ church. It’s the first day of school and she will need to be brave and wave goodbye (but Mommy always comes back).
Yet, who’s the one that days before the start of school is moping around all weepy eyed? Mommy of course! In the early years, I had ridden the tumultuous waves of highs and lows that are the toddlers years and almost daily wished for a small break when I could just catch my breath. We all need that, just a bit of time to hit the restart button and get refreshed, get to miss each other a little so we can enjoy each other all over again.
This is the start of something new. So when anxious thoughts creep in and fears snowball in my mind about what kind of student she will be? Will she make new friends? Is she going to drive her teacher mad? Did we choose the right school? Will she make it into a good college? Wait. Not yet!
Mommies, we have lost sleep for our kids, prayed over them, and prepared them. We carried them many months in the womb, or in our dreams, and we’ve carried them on our hips. We have carried loads of laundry like we carried their little hearts and their big heart-aches.
The truth is, it really isn’t we who have carried our young ones all along, but He. It was always He who carried the little lambs in his arms, carried them and breathed life into them in the womb, and He who carries them through each day after.
And momma? He carries you too. Our Good Shepherd leads us on the heights as well as along the valley floor. The shepherd’s staff is a comfort as he gently guides and directs us in all of life’s biggest (and smallest) questions, along the deepest terrain.
So while we make every effort to ensure our children’s safety and security, that they eat right, sleep right, and that we train them up along the right path, it is safe to say that the One who actually holds our lambs is the Creator of the universe.
As I drive my girl to school in the morning and see that sun rise once again in God’s faithfulness, I pray over my child, her teacher, the friends she will make, and I let go. The only thing I need to carry this school year is the hope that it really is going to be okay. He’s got this.
(This post was originally published in August 2014)