This past weekend I drove to Alabama to drop my younger sister off for her second year at Auburn University. As we were making the four state, 10-hour drive my sister was working on her final essay for summer school while coordinating move-in schedules and tasks with her roommates. She would complete a paragraph and immediately notify her roommates that she was bringing the trashcan for the kitchen and the shower curtain. As I witnessed this cycle of tasks, I was initially relieved that I would not have to organize who was bringing the dish towels or worry about class registration anymore. But as this continued I have to admit I started sensing a hint of jealousy deep down.
Back to school season is one of my favorites. I love getting new supplies, and more recently picking out bedding and room decorations. I loved syllabus week, and color coating my new planner with the due dates for the semester. Honestly, I loved living my life in semesters, and I was realizing how jealous I was that I would not get to experience those feelings in a few weeks.
I graduated from college 2 months ago and to say that school is all I know is the biggest understatement. I know how to study for a test. I know my community, and I know which subjects interest me and which ones are going to need more focus. But as I was going on a nostalgia tour in my mind, I began to think about the big and little blessings that God has placed in my life throughout my time in school.
I think about how He blessed me with teachers who instilled in me an excitement for learning. I think about how I was fortunate to have a family that expected excellence but showed grace. And I think about how God’s hand can be seen through the school changes and ultimately my choice to attend UT Austin.
Back to school season is one of my favorites, but I also know that between the stress of loading up on supplies and cramming in the last summer reading assignment the week before school starts, we can sometimes miss the beauty of a new beginning. An opportunity to see the ways the Lord has gone before us and prepared us for our next challenge or our next chapter.
Last August, as I was preparing for my senior year of college I was so thankful for the time we took on one of my last Sundays to bless our backpacks. I was taken aback by how lost God can get in the midst of our own preparations. That time spent praying over what turned out to be a stressful, emotional, beautiful year stuck with me every time I saw the tag attached to my backpack. Even from almost 300 miles away, I knew that God had gone before me, and that He could handle even the most stressful or emotional times, even if I could not.
So while I will not be going back to school this year, I am looking forward to blessing our backpacks. I will reflect on the way God has continued to provide and bless me through my time in school. I know I will be praying that even though I am starting a new chapter that does not involve living in semesters, God has gone before me and has some incredible things planned.
Back to school season is one of my favorites, and I cannot wait to celebrate it as a church with food, fellowship and most importantly a blessed backpack.