It’s back-to-school time, and it’s fun to see all the posts on social media of smiling faces which announce the first day back to school.

Some posts even have signs that read about a new grade, goals, and fun facts for the year ahead. And even more show comparisons from the year before boasting two pictures, one from this year and one from the year before. It’s amazing the differences a year can bring.

Amidst all this excitement and behind all the smiling faces on social media, our lives can become so busy. With back-to-school time comes dance classes resuming, football practice beginning, after school activities starting to take up time. We have weekly sports events that we must attend and on those same days a student may need to study for a test or finish writing a paper that is due the next day. And we can’t forget all the homework that will begin to pile up.

Some weeks you may wonder when you will get to sit down as a family, even just for one meal. And before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving and you will ask yourself where the time went.

During times like these, I turn to my favorite Bible verses. This is one of those places I turn to so often that the binding in my Bible must know that’s where I’m headed as it opens straight to that spot.

Matthew 11 verses 28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Just as important as the beginning of school and all these activities may be, it is just as important to keep Christ as our focus, and not only that, but to make the time for rest.

In the Lutheran Study Bible (ESV) footnotes, it states, “The ‘labor’ and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and death.” I think of all the anxiety and burdens we face as we look at this upcoming year. There is some fear that we may not make it to church or maybe we aren’t keeping our focus on Christ as we should be. Maybe you have anxiety just thinking of how busy you will be in the coming weeks. But how amazing is it that we have such a wonderful God who would send His son to take it all on. When we take the time to be in His word and to take some time out of our busy schedules to reflect on that word, we are giving ourselves a breather, a time out. I don’t know about you, but just reading those verses above clears the pressure from my head. We don’t always have to rush everywhere and there is a space in your schedule for just ten minutes to be in God’s word.

As you start this school year off, just remember to take some time to yourself. Find the time to rest and the time to turn to your favorite Bible verses. The ones you turn to so often that the binding in your Bible permanently opens to that one spot. And I challenge you to take time to share it with our family. Find one or two nights a week where you can sit down together for a meal and discuss life’s stressors, but also the joy that we have in Jesus.

And as every new school year approaches, keep sharing those first day photos to share the joy and share in the joy each new year brings!

Bethany Kuhlmann – Lutheran Family Service Congregational Services Team Member

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