Posted by: pollyw | September 11, 2020

Back to School Stress: How to pray it through

image by: pollyw.wordpress.com

Back to school used to bring on a wave of anxiety in my heart that summer was over and drudgery was returning for the kiddos. But this year, the back-to-school anxiety is a face I don’t recognize. Usually, it looks a lot like shopping for clothes and shoes to get ready for the return of the drudgery and these traditions ease us into getting used to the idea of back to school.  It kind of reminds me of a big, slow-moving furry monster with obligations in tow, ready to gather our children and usher them back into the buildings while summer fun sadly waves from the sidewalk.   

But this year, the anxiety monster is very different. It feels like a full-on, in-your-face dare to even attempt normalcy. Like a reality show that has a plot twist in every episode. It feels like a drill sergeant screaming at us to “Make a decision! Home or school??!” “Bus or no bus??!” And when we show up to school, suddenly there is a whole universe of faces looking in from home, so now we have to bring a “device” to a live action school so that we can include those who are staying home. And by the way, the devices are on their way for the in-person students – they will be here in December. At the end of the semester. Huh? Another plot twist?

Top all of this back-to-school anxiety with a new plot twist — college has entered the picture for our family. College, the institution that once seemed like that big city cool kid whisking you off to new adventures has come in looking like the fear character from the children’s movie “Inside Out”. And guess what? College is right to be scared, because curveballs are being thrown at our college kiddo daily in many shapes and forms. Masks all around campus, in person classes mostly cancelled, random COVID testing, and students being shuffled off to the quarantine dorm for 14 days. Our college student is on his own episode of “College Survivor” this year.

So yeah, there is stress. But the big thing I keep reminding myself is that God is bigger than all of this. These curveballs that are being thrown at us, they don’t surprise Him. He is walking through this fire with us. He is walking through this fire with our children. In fact, as I look through the Psalms, which I love to do when I am feeling completely overwhelmed and just need to hang out with God in His Word, using His Words, I see some hope.

Right here in Psalm 28. Apparently, I have prayed this before during an overwhelming time because I have put a small smiley face next to this verse. Psalm 28:7

In the version I am reading, it says:

The Lord is my strength and my shield

Yes, Lord, I need to know that I am not my own strength, You are! And not only are You my strength, You are my shield. A shield in front of me, Your shield in front of me, means I can relax and know that You are in control. That no matter what is thrown my way, You are my shield. Today is the kind of day where I will crouch down behind that shield, Lord, and let You take over. I’m worn out, I’m going to soak in this shield protection You are offering. I might try to peek around the edges of the shield when I get worried stirred up in me again, but I love Your patience with me, and You will remind me to stay behind Your shield. That is where my heart and mind are safest.

But that’s not all, the verse goes on to say:

My heart trusts in Him and I am helped.

Trust…I think I can do that. It’s either trust in the worries and focus on them, or trust in Him to get us what we need. Yes, when my heart feels worried, I will remember that when I trust in You, I am helped. In fact, I am going to name the worries by name so that I can really get a handle on what I am trusting You with.

Lord, I am trusting You with my children and their emotional, physical, and spiritual health as they go through this. I’m trusting You for my husband and me — to make the right choices for our family in the middle of what feels like chaos. And we are trusting You to guide us and protect us.

Whew. I feel a little better, how about you?

Here’s today’s challenge. It’s not too complicated: Write this verse, or another one, on a notecard and post it where you will see it today. As you start to worry, speak His words back to Him and be specific about what you are trusting to Him and how He is helping you already.

Okay, I’m going to write it down as soon as I post this. Where’s my pen?

Do you have a favorite Bible verse to pray back to God during the chaotic times? Please share it with us in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!


Responses

  1. SO good! College Survivor so true! Thanks for the article…. I need to share with others. Thanks for sharing what God has placed in your heart

    Like

  2. So very sorry you, the teachers and the students are all having to go through this. Drudgery sounds just awful. I hope and pray that things lighten up; the students have understanding teachers; and that the administrators work with the parents and student’s concerns. I pray for peace as our children feed off of our fears. Thank God HE is BIGGER than this virus.

    Like

  3. Great devotional! I’m thankful God is in control. I just need help remembering it sometimes.

    Like


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