Today is my son Judah’s first day of Preschool. It’s such a bittersweet moment for this Mamma’s heart. It’s bitter because the reality is, from this year on out, he will never again spend each and every moment of his day with me is hitting me like a ton of bricks (the real kind, not those fake cardboard bricks that preschoolers play with ok?)
It’s bitter because right now, He tells me that I am his best friend but I know that soon he will find a buddy that loves Toy Story and mac and cheese as much as him and – I know this is a good thing – Mom might be knocked down a notch. It’s bitter because I will have to kiss him goodbye and drive away and let him be and flourish and thrive without me seeing every second of it.
But it’s so much sweeter in so many ways.
It’s going to be a sweet day because it’s one that I have been dreaming of and praying about for a very long time.
I’ve known since I held his tiny little newborn body in my arms that this day was coming; the day that he would not be with me all of the time. I knew that slowly, he would branch out and get to find a little independence, a little influence, a little adventure. The thought crippled me with fear. I feared the things that any mom does; what if he’s bullied? What if he doesn’t have friends? What if he gets hurt? What if he does the bullying? What if his teacher doesn’t get him? And the questions could go on and on.
I did all I could think to do and began to pray about it and slowly as my little baby changed into a little boy, my list of questions changed into a list of anticipation. As I prayed for this long awaited day where he would leave home for a few hours a day for the first time, the Lord began to turn my heart towards the possibilities and the purpose that he had in store for Judah. I realized that this wasn’t just the first day of school for him but the first day that he got practice his calling to live as a light in the middle of very dark world.
You see, we have been trying our best to teach Judah about Jesus’ love. You have probably done the same for your kids. We want him to know it deep down in his heart of hearts so that all that comes out of his life is touched by it. We want him to know it so that he can show it to others. And now, today, he gets to go out and be around other kids, the people that need God’s love.
Today, when I drop him off at school, he will have the opportunity to forge new relationships with kids and adults alike and to hopefully represent Jesus well. He’ll get to learn how to put others above himself when he gives them a turn with a toy or how to submit to authority when his teacher gives him instruction. He’ll learn how to dig in deep and plant seeds of knowledge and to water them with curiosity and hard work. He’ll start to learn life skills that will prepare him to live a life worthy of his calling. To learn and thrive and love so that others see Christ in him.
Today isn’t just the first day of preschool for Judah. It’s his chance to learn how to interact with the world in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. It’s his chance to shine not for himself but for the one he represents because Jesus doesn’t care how young you are, He can and will use a heart that is teachable and willing.
Today is bittersweet but mostly sweet. Sweet because my little guy gets to stake out his claim in the sphere of influence that God has given him. He has a mission field that’s all his own and I get to pray him through it.
As our kids start school this year, lets pray for them in a new way. Let’s pray that they are safe and loved and happy of course but let’s also pray for their mission field. Let’s pray that they shine as lights in the middle of dark world, that their actions would be filled with wisdom and love so as not to compromise their influence, and that they would have the mind and heart of Christ to seek and save the lost.
As we pack up their backpacks with school supplies and our purses with tissues, let’s not forget to send them off with plenty of prayer and the knowledge that they are not their own; they are on a mission to make disciples of all nations and to shine not for themselves but for the one they represent.