The start of school is always an exciting time filled with nervous Kindergarten parents, anxious third grade students, confident high school students, and brand new teachers along with the veterans ready to make a difference in a child's life.  I am teaching again - fourth grade - such a precious age of children ready to learn, longing to please their teacher, and full of questions, ideas and energy.
While many parents are leaving a young Kindergarten student in the care of someone they may not yet even know, just as many are leaving a young college freshman at a place they don't know so well, with buildings they don't know so well in a room with someone they don't know so well... to live for, likely, the next four years of life.
We thought we were ready when our oldest daughter started college. We had made numerous trips to Walmart, bought just the right bedding, purchased the dorm refrigerator and microwave, found a tv that wasn't too heavy (It was 2004!), stocked up on staples like microwave popcorn, microwave mac and cheese, plenty of gatorade/water/soft drinks... we were prepared.
 The same year she started college, our youngest started first grade...  a little more emotion than this one momma was expecting.  So off we went with the vehicle packed to the very top.  Did I mention that as we were eating dinner the night before she moved in, her words, and I quote... "You can't leave me here; I'm not ready for this!"  My first thought was, great, let's just head home - Frank agreed that we could figure out how to do "home college".  She was, after all, still a baby!!
We moved her in the next morning - and by midafternoon, the bed was made with each pillow in place, the floor was as clean as I could get it, the bulletin boards were filled with pictures of family and friends, the computer was set up and running... it was time to go.  No problem, we had a plan for that - Frank and I had rehearsed.  We would gather around in her room and pray over/for Katie, her roommate, her professors, her classes, her new friends, her choices... we had a script.  Somehow, it just didn't work out that way.  We ended up at picnic table outside her dorm, realizing she needed us to go.  No problem, we are flexible, so I suggested we just sit right there and pray - what a great witness we would be for those walking by.  Hey maybe some would even stop and join us!
We bowed, and I whispered... "Dear God", and then something that never happens to me did - I couldn't SPEAK; I could barely even BREATHE.  There are no words to clearly communicate my emotion - I WAS really leaving her here!  Even now, that feeling smothers me.  Frank did his best to take over and uttered a simple prayer of something like, "God, it's up to you and Katie now.  Amen"
Friends, I believe, in those moments, our thoughtful, loving Heavenly Father gently places His tender arms around us, and whispers our name.  In Exodus the Bible speaks of Moses as God's glory was going to pass by.  The Lord told Moses:
 "I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by."  
No one could look upon God and live.  So He protected Moses literally by covering him with HIS hand.  
Oh dear friends, He covers you as well.
This year that oldest daughter of ours sent her oldest son to Kindergarten - such a flood of emotion and uncertainty.  
If you don't currently have a child living in your home, would you find one - maybe a neighbor, maybe a family member, maybe one in your church to simply to commit to pray for during this school year - a 5-year-old headed to Kindergarten to a college freshman of 18, and all in between. Let them know you are praying for them - that God will lead, protect, and hold them in HIS hand!!

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