Psalm 100:4 – Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name. (KJV)
About mid-August, school supplies start showing up in most stores' aisles, and we begin to see parents and kids, supply list in hand, searching for the things which are needed for their particular grade.
By September, the aisles are full of families getting their goods, and often, due to the state of finances, the time of day, or the heat of the moment, nerves are frayed, people are edgy, and the conversations aren't really pleasant. It all seems to be just one big hassle.
For me, those days are pretty well past. This September, after a summer of backpacking in Europe, our youngest enters her last year of University. Our middle child goes back to school, but as a teacher. Our eldest works and will complete her last year of post graduate studies. We are truly blessed.
I have several friends however, who would relish the opportunity to scour the aisles for supplies with their kids, finagle the finances to get a musical instrument, special shoes, or an outfit; who would love to be able to look forward to their child's graduation from school or university. That opportunity was taken away from them. One young child died from a lengthy illness. An only child was murdered after the second year of university last summer. One died of a swift, quick illness in the prime of her life overseas.
Back to school, for me, is one of those times, in particular, when I remember the lives of my friends' children with a card or a call. It's a tough time for them. Their hearts ache from the exuberance of the other children; and when they hear heated words, they wish they could just say, "Be thankful you have your kids with you."
It is also one of those times when I give extra special thanks for all the back to schools we had, and especially for the lives of the children I have.
We have all experienced frayed nerves, times when we feel we've "had enough". We've all seen situations where others have too. Sometimes these are the hardest times to take a step back, to take a minute to "enter into his gates" and be thankful, but when we do, we absorb a strength from him to carry on.
Prayer: Our Loving Father, we give thanks for our children, for their lives, their opportunities; and ours, with them. We offer prayers for the parents and families whose children are no longer with them, and give thanks, too, for the time they were given together, by you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.