One Week of Summer Left – Back to School 2013

Monday morning. The last Monday morning before the kids go back to school. As a parent, this is a wonderful time! After a summer of keeping 5 kids going, my wife and I are glad to welcome the new school year! Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great summer! And we’ve enjoyed the time with our kids! Maybe more so this summer, than summers past. But it does take a lot of energy and planning to manage the schedules for 5 different personalities.

But in just 7 days, a new chaos begins, the back to school rush. For the first time we will have 5 kids in 5 different schools! Yes, I said 5 kids in 5 different schools. The spread? Our youngest begins preschool while our oldest becomes a freshman in high school. And in between we have a second grader, a fifth grader and an eighth grader. And each one will go to a different school building.

It’s always fun getting the kids back into a “school” routine. Earlier bedtimes. Even earlier wake up calls. Homework time. School activities. Sports. Band. Projects. There’s a lot to organize and manage. And then there’s the family responsibilities. Chores. Playtime. Club sports. Church. Youth group. And let’s not forget the family time. Looking ahead to what lies ahead, it’s going to be a busy year!

So how do we do it all? How do we juggle all the activities, responsibilities, expectations, and matters of life?

I don’t know.

To be honest, when I think about all there is to do, it’s a bit overwhelming. But here’s the thing. There are two approaches we could take. One, we could look at all the calendars, schedules, tasks, responsibilities, and personalities and allow fear to over take us. Or, two, we stop, pray, and take everything one day at a time.

I think sometimes, people look at those with “big” families and think, ‘You’re crazy!’ I think that, because I know when they look at us, they think we are crazy. But I guess to some parents, the thought of raising a large family is a bit much. However, I love having the “big” family. 5 kids isn’t a huge family, but it is a lot. And as I think about the coming school year, I know we will be stretched in ways, till now, we haven’t been stretched. But. I’m looking forward to it.

So how do I intend to do it?

By the grace of God. And I mean it, BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

You see, in the Bible, Paul reminds us of a truth, that I think, is a true treasure of wisdom to keep in mind.

When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 NIV.

Paul recognized that it’s wasn’t about him or what he did. Instead, it was all about what God was doing in and through him. What a humbling realization. Paul says, that it was in his weakness, the point and place where he was unable to do anything else, that is where and when God’s strength was revealed! Paul was the great Apostle. He wrote most of the New Testament. But Paul wasn’t great because he was able to do something that no one else could do. He was great because God was doing GREAT things IN him! THROUGH him! IN SPITE of him!

There are days, many days, when all I can do is to take to me knees and confess my weakness. While I want to be the best husband, the best dad, the best pastor, the best (fill in the blank), I know that without Him, I will never measure up to the standard that God has set for me. No matter how hard I try, eventually I will fail.

But when I recognize my weakness, that is when God reveals His strength. And His strength is perfect. So what would I rather have my kids see, me and my failures, or God’s strength working in and through me? Like Paul, let me ‘boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’

I want to start the new school year knowing that I am not going to have all the right answers. I am not going to always do things right. I will probably mess up, make mistakes, and do things that will add to the reasons why my kids will need therapy later in their adult years. (That’s an inside joke.) I know I will not be able to be the best. But I don’t have to be the best. I just need to be who God has made me to be. And in the place of weakness, God will be the strength.

So let’s get this new year started. Bring it on. All of it. Because God is ready!

– jay

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