Remember the Last Time?

A new school year begins today. The beginning of the end of a season in my life.

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My son, a high school senior, is the youngest of three children. So this school year is filled with many last things….

·         Last first day of school with yours truly photographing my son on the front porch.

·         Last soccer season with yours truly shoving cleats next to the wall to keep from tripping over them.

·         Last time for Back-to-School Night, Homecoming, Spirit Week, Spring Formal.

I kept baby books for all my children, documenting the first time they ate solid food, took their first step, or lost a tooth.

I never realized when something happened in their lives for “the last time.”  

Like brushing one’s teeth, a bedtime story was a ritual for my children. Long after they could read on their own, we took turns reading pages from chapter books. But there’s still a bookmark in Eldest, where I closed the book and said goodnight to my youngest son years ago, not knowing it was the last time we’d read together.

Now I know, every date  that I scratch off my school calendar is one day closer to the last day of school, forever, and then what?

Who am I? If not, “my kid’s” mom?

What is my purpose if not running to the store at the last minute to buy poster board for a project? Why set the alarm clock, if no one needs breakfast or a peanut butter sandwich for a school lunch? Where do I go for entertainment if not a field trip, soccer game, or a choir concert?

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Long gone is the excitement of newly purchased school supplies: the smell of fresh crayons, plastic lunch boxes, glue sticks, and wide-lined paper.

A backpack laden with textbooks, a duffle bag for sports gear, and a smart phone are my son’s school accessories.

We hug goodbye, and he leaves for school, his mind elsewhere.

I wipe wet eyes, envisioning him in a blue, graduation cap and gown.

Wasn’t it yesterday when his name was printed in bold letters on an apple name tag, and hung with yarn around his neck?

Like the other moms in the classroom, I had hovered over my kindergarten child,  hesitant to say goodbye when he looked up at me and spoke matter-of-fact, “You can go now.”

Fast forward to his senior year, and I’m still trying to go…

And I’m missing him, because today is the “last” first day of school, the end of a season in my life.

 

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Put on the Oxygen Mask

By Saturday morning, I was tapped out.

All week, I had been with people. Serving some. Listening to others vent. Now I needed to visit jail for one-on-one counseling, but I had nothing left to give.

My head pounded. My body was like a limp rag. How can I share the gospel when I can barely remember my name? I had to reschedule.

Too often, helping humanity seems more exhausting than yard work or housework. My back may ache as I pull weeds or push a mop, but I’m on autopilot. At the end of the task, I feel productive, even energized.

When it comes to people, particularly listening to their problems, I’m drained. That’s because I absorb people’s moods like a sponge. Think I can fix them. Fall back into people pleasing.

“You’re an answer to prayer,” someone told me, after I resolved her problem. Now I have the problem.

Practically speaking, I must:

Set boundaries

Stop rescuing

Say NO…without guilt.

Spiritually speaking, I must:

Meditate on the Word

Ask for Wisdom

Obey God’s Will 

   In Mark 1: 21-38, Jesus spent the day in Capernaum healing many people with various diseases, and casting out demons. Verse 33 says “the whole city had gathered at the door.” So how did Jesus avoid burn out?

 Verse 35:  “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out to a lonely place, and was praying there.” 

Simon hunts for Jesus and says, everyone is looking for you.” But prayer was a priority. Jesus understood His purpose (verse 38) and wasn’t going to be derailed by everyone’s demands.

If Jesus, in his humanity, had to pray and seek the Father’s will, then I must:

  • Have the mind of Christ so I can…
  • Have a sacrificial servant’s heart so I can…
  • Have His love and strength to help others without sabotaging myself. 

Bottom line, I must:

Remember prayer gives me a right perspective so I can respond properly to my relationships and problems. 

In other words, “Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”

And take a deep spiritual breath.