August Already???

a stream right next to our campsite


Can you believe it?  Is it really August?  I feel like it’s still spring and all the craziness that comes with getting ready for school to end.  But, no, summer is now almost over (or maybe it is over for you:(, and I’m wondering what I’ve done with it.  Yes, I taught Extended School Year, and I did some family things.  I also helped out some friends who were under the weather,  but today the stress came back in full force.

Funny thing is that at first the stress did NOT come from thinking about all the things I need to do for school to start.  It came from feeling like my “me” time is almost gone.
Many of those books in my summer pile still sit on the bookshelf.  My summer bucket list never even got made this summer.  My deep cleaning list still sits on the counter with nothing crossed off.  I started feeling like I was missing out on all those fun summer things we as teachers look forward to.   I was frustrated because “after all that hard work, I deserve to have fun during the summer!”  
Then I went out to lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in months.  We ended up talking about ministry and the body of Christ.  I started to remember that it’s not all about ME!:).  
My plan when I got home was to start on that deep cleaning list.  By the time I got home, however, I had begun to stress about school again. We haven’t officially started yet, but I have started to get emails. (Do you remember before email when we didn’t know what was happening until school actually started?:)
 I became very anxious about some changes that “may” be happening this year.  I sat on the couch and started thinking about how bad things could be.  I began to pray and asked God for joy in the midst of changes.  I sat in His presence for awhile.  I then got up and start cleaning.
As I cleaned I listened to a recording of a Sunday School lesson from another church.   The first words I heard from that recording were “Is anyone here anxious today?”  I think I laughed out loud!    Hmm…yep this was meant for me today:).  He was talking about the end of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  
Listen to these words.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, ENCOURAGE your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  (verse 16-17 NIV)
The verses before 16 and 17 talk about us being called to Him.  We can find peace in the fact that we are part of His family.  He loves us and gives us strength for the things that He has called us to do.
 I don’t know about you, but I do feel like teaching is my calling.  I really don’t want to do it haphazardly or  just to get through the day.  I want to do it joyfully because He has called me there.  (I just have to remember that’s what I want:). 
What about you?  How are you feeling about school starting?  Are you anxious?  Are you tired of all the politics and all the changes?   Are you overwhelmed by all the things you know you want to get done but won’t?  
My prayer is that we will, instead, be overwhelmed with what God has done for us and how much He loves us.  He can give us hope, so let’s choose JOY this August. 

August Back to School Panic

So here it is, the end of August, and here comes the panic!  How am I going to plan my schedule so that every kid gets what they need?   How am I going to mesh that schedule with the new school schedule?  What will classroom teachers say when they find out my schedule comes first and they have to adjust:)  just kidding!  How am I going to set up my room?  Oh wait before I can even set up-how am I going to replace all that stuff that was ruined in my room when there was a flood?  Will our new team work well together? You know I had the dream team last year!  How am I going to meet the need of every kid?  How am I going to creatively teach them those oh so important life skills in the midst of getting them ready for that test?  How am I going to show them that I care?  How am I going to face a new year full of IEP scheduling?  Did I hear that they’re changing the IEP format AGAIN?  I wonder if I’ll get planning this year?  What about the new families?  Will I work well with them?  How late AM I going to stay that first week we’re back?  How come I can’t get into my classroom yet? 

Will someone realize THIS year that testing is taking me out of the classroom many, many, many days that could be used to actually teach?  How will I have a positive attitude in the midst of all that not so fun testing and paperwork and less and less planning?   What will the new students be like?  Will I get to teach content or will I be dealing with more behaviors this year? 

I know I’m not alone in that August panic!  Although I LOVE teaching and feel that it is where God has called me, I do tend to let worry and panic creep in during this time of year.  Today, as I drove home from having coffee with a friend (you know that might not happen again for 9 months:), I felt myself truly in worry mode.  So, I came home knowing that I needed to spend some time handing over these worries to the God of the Universe!  Of course, that’s not always my first reaction, but today He guided my heart to come to Him and to leave that panic at His feet. 

One of the hymns that stuck in my head was “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”    Are you feeling that August panic?  Go spend some time listening to this hymn and let God remind you that He is in control.  Go play it on the piano or listen to that iTunes version or that CD.    YouTube has some great versions of it and some have the lyrics too. 

Go ahead and remember how sweet it is to trust that our God can handle even our August panic.