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James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Who’s ready for the school year to begin?? I love the start of school. I am a planner, I love the set schedule that school brings to our lives. But this year, even the best laid plans have failed us.  Not once, but many times!  It seems like every day we wake up and have to adapt to another change that has come our way.  
 

Uncharted Waters!

 
As we head into this school year, emotions will be high. Anxiety is building. Questions and doubts run wildly through our minds. No matter how it all plays out there will be things, maybe even many things, we don’t like or even disagree with. So the big question on my mind is, how should we respond? How are we going to purposefully parent our children through these uncharted waters?
 
While this situation is very unique to society, suffering is not a novel idea. Suffering has been a part of life since the beginning of time. This summer I read through the book of Acts.  I am in awe of Paul’s attitude while he went through his many trials. He had grit, determination and focus. He accomplished so much for the Kingdom by setting his heart on things above.
How can we model Paul’s attitude today?  How can we use this current COVID-induced trial to show our kids how to respond in a God-honoring way?  
 

Endurance and Joy?

 
As I read through scriptures, I am reminded that God is always most concerned about our heart. Our heart condition is His first priority before He even addresses the situation. In the book of James it challenges us that we should “consider it all joy” when we face trials in our lives. Joy is not an adjective I would consider using when talking about the effects of COVID-19. Would you? The verse continues to say that the testing of our faith produces endurance.
 
When I looked up the Greek word for endurance, I found that the definition is:
  1. steadfast, consistent
  2. the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith by even the greatest trials and sufferings. 1
 
We need to stay focused on our purpose and stay loyal to God even in our greatest trial or suffering. I believe one of our purposes is to become like Christ. According to James 1:4, if we allow trials to build endurance we will become perfect (mature) and complete (whole, free from sin), lacking nothing. When we face a trial, we can choose to let the Holy Spirit guide us. As He guides, we begin to let go of our natural, sinful reactions and allow His characteristics to come to light.
Galatians 6:16, 22-25
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves….But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

How’s Your Heart?

 
So let’s pause and take an assessment of our homes. What is the atmosphere of our home as we navigate all the changes of this coming school year?
 
Is it Fearful or Hopeful? Bitter or Joyful? Frustrated or Determined? Disappointed or Grateful?
 
As we feel those emotions of frustration, fear and anger, let’s pause for a moment. Take those feelings and concerns to the Lord. These are legit emotions. It’s okay to have them. Let me say that again:  “It’s oK to not be oK!”  But how we process through these emotions will determine the condition of our hearts.
 
As parents we set the atmosphere of our home. Are we setting our children up for a successful school year? Will we allow the Lord to heal our hurts and speak truth to the situation? Will we allow Him to replace those feelings of frustration and fear with hope and gratitude?

 

So Now What?

 
So this all sounds great, but how do you actually do this? How do you take these Sunday School answers of “Let’s be joyful as we go through this tough time” and actually do it?
 
It begins with a decision to believe that Romans 8:28 is true. God is causing everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. If we love God and follow in His ways, He has our back. He has a plan and a purpose for everything.
 
So if wearing a mask means that my kids can go into a school or my friend’s family-owned business can stay open, I will do it. I will suffer so we can gain education and employment. If I have to adjust to school at home, I will see this as an opportunity to invest in my children. I will trust that God will equip me to lead them well. I will choose to lean on Him for strength, patience and wisdom.
 
It isn’t about sucking it up and plowing through. It is about leaning in and walking in step with God. It is only WITH Him that we will be able to thrive in this messed up world.

 

Do These 4 Things Every Morning:

  1. Thank God for one specific thing
  2. Share your current fear or frustration with God. Ask Him to speak truth to it.
  3. Invite Him into today and ask Him to lead your steps.
  4. Stand on one of His promises that you need for that day.

 

An Example:

 
Father God,
Thank you for another day. Thank you that we got to hang out with friends last night. It is a blessing to do life with them.
Lord, today I am struggling with fear that I will mess up my kid’s education. I don’t know how to teach them and help them succeed. What truth do I need to hear today?
Father, I invite you into this Today. I need you. Lead me, speak to me and show me how to navigate the day. Give me the patience and grace that I need to love those around me well.
In your Word it says that the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness. I trust that your Word is true. I invite Holy Spirit to lead and guide my every step today.
I love you Lord! I pray all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
 
Even in the midst of all the changes we can have a wonderful, productive and successful school year. Do you believe it? Are you modeling that attitude for your children? Let’s set them and ourselves up for success!!
 
 
Subscribe to the blog and get our Back to School Prayers FREE. This would be a great way to start the school day with your children.
 
If you need help finding some of the promises of God, start with Romans 8.  It is full of them!
 

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