Back to School with Jesus {Whew! Life is Hard}

She’s up early.  Curling her hair, trying on outfits, loading her backpack, and eating breakfast. It’s her first day of middle school.  Whew.  How did that happen?


I feel like I am feeding her to the wolves. After homeschooling her a few years, I am sending my baby girl into the great unknown – literally.  It’s a world from which I have undoubtedly overprotected her.  I don’t regret it.  I wonder about my wisdom in sending her now.

I like being part of her days. I like helping her develop her ideas about life, math, and great books. I like knowing she’s tucked safely in my basement each day at her desk, exploring the world without the influence of others.

Because the world is coming for her.

And I’d rather it be later than sooner.

Still, I shed a few tears after I drop her off and say a prayer, passing her into the hands of her Rescuer.  The One who knit her in my womb and numbered her days long before I knew her. The One who knows the hairs on her head, the joys of her heart, and the fears in her head.

I pray…

Jesus, you rescued her thousands of years ago when you bore her sin on the cross.  You died so she might live.  Help her today to live for your glory as one who is rescued. Help her life proclaim to all “ I am rescued.”

She comes home full of stories.  Who traveled the furthest this summer?  She did!  She had the opportunity to share about Honduras and love on a gal who is desperate for attention.  (Ok, I didn’t view this little gal as desperate for attention right away;  at first, my momma heart rose up as “what  a mean girl!” but Jesus helped my heart on that over the next few days.)

Yet, through the comments she makes and my reaction to her comments (momma rising up and up and up), I am reminded of our sinful natures.  Our tendency is not to love and extend grace. Our tendency is to analyze what’s wrong and suggest possible fixes.  To talk about what we think drives all the poor behavior she witnessed at school…especially the excessive use of the mother of all cuss words.

Why do they say that?  Why do they act that way?  Why are they exclusive?  Mean?  Snobby?  Judgmental? 

The short answer?  We live in a “what’s in it for me” society, which drives poor word choice (look at me!), poor actions (I am better!), and the exclusion of others (I am part of something and chosen; you’re not!)

I find myself saying…avoid that girl! And my daughter says, “but mom you said be nice to everyone regardless.”  Honestly, I am rethinking my advice.


I am reminded of my prayer.  For my little gal to live rescued.  For those around her to look upon her life as “rescued,” she must be different.  NOT different for different’s sake. But because her heart has been transformed by her Creator.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…Ephesians 1:18

My devotional this morning articulated this desire in my heart for both of my children – as well as for you and me.

I want to be free to live out loud in contexts not so safe and predictable…I want Your love to be so compelling that I don’t think of “witnessing” to people, just loving and serving them.  I want Your love to be so satisfying that I find it hard to make excuses for my brokenness and much easier to live transparently and authentically before others. I want Your love to bring forth hot tears of compassion and loud guffaws of joy.  You’ve set me free for eternity, Jesus, please set me free for today. (Everyday Prayers, Scotty Smith)

May we all be free to live out our faith in contexts that aren’t safe or predictable. My gal can talk “Jesus” in the comfort of our home, but what about in the confines of a classroom?

I pray our lives are so compellingly different – so unbalanced away from culture and toward Jesus – that we don’t even need to “witness.”  We love and serve others, allowing the gospel to naturally become a topic of conversation.

I want God’s love for me and you to be so satisfying to our hearts that we live transparently and authentically, not afraid or ashamed of our brokenness. Never feeling the need to make excuses for who we are or for what we’ve been through.

Suffering needs no excuse. It only needs a Savior.

When you think of Jesus’ love for you, I pray that knowledge – those feelings and thoughts – pour from you as compassion to your neighbor, to the one who cuts you off in traffic, to the overworked cashier, to the stubborn child, to the hateful relative, to the orphaned child, to the impossible co-worker, to the homeless man…to all you meet.

And from the joy of knowing Jesus loves you, may you laugh loudly and delightfully, knowing you are His.

He has rescued you. Setting you free for ALL of eternity.  May we live “free” each day until His kingdom comes.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17


  1. Sarah, this is so so good. I know many mommas feeling just like this today, and as always, you bring it back to the Truth!

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