Tuesday, September 6, 2011

They're Off Again

Grant is always surrounded by girls

And they’re off again.  Grant to fifth grade, Katie to fourth grade, and Alli to second grade.  Paige joins them as big kindergartener on Thursday.  This back-to-school cycle continues to amaze me.  It’s a great chance to reflect on how much our kids are growing and changing, and how much we value each of their individual personalities and the depth they bring to our family.  Back to school brings back the joy of a schedule and a fresh appreciation for each of our kids’ teachers who pour themselves into our kids for hours each day.  Back to school is a fresh start, a clean slate.  It’s a changing of the season and I love the nervous anticipation that accompanies it.

we don't have any fun at our house...
love these kids!
 Last night bedtime was filled with intimate conversations as the kids poured out their excitement and concerns for the upcoming year.  The unknowns and general insecurities stirred up nervous butterflies and a few “what if’s.”   We prayed over and for our kids and reminded them of the army of family and friends they have praying for them and cheering them on to victory.

(Alli was nervous about not having enough time to get ready so she wrote Curt this reminder note and put it by the coffee pot.)

They are growing!
 Paige and I escorted the big kids to school, gave them one last squeeze, and then headed to the gym for the first time in so long that I almost forgot my access code.  I got on the bike and started reading the book of First John.  Who knew it was so rich? I was moved by John’s heart for his audience.  He penned this letter late in his life and writes to them as a wise father to his children.  Throughout the book John lovingly addresses this body of believers as “my dear children” and encourages them to know the truth and live it out through obedience to God and love for each other.   As I read, I visualized my own brood of children and prayed these verses over them.  It’s such practical advice to live a victorious and abundant life.  (Any emphasis is mine.)

5th grade
“My dear children – Grant, Katie, Alli, Paige (and Sarah too!) – you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.  If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.  And this is what he promised us – even eternal life! 

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are! 

2nd grade
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.  The devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 

Dear children, this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (Protect each other for crying out loud!). 

4th grade
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.  And this is God’s command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.  And this is how we know that he lives in us: we know it by the Spirit he gave us. (The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you – so go with confidence that you can live victoriously my sweet kids!) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world! 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.   (You don’t have to be afraid – perfect love drives out fear!)  We love because he first loved us. 

This is love for God: to obey his commands.  And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

Go get ‘em Stilp kids!  It’s going to be a great year.

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