Back-to-school shopping is no joke. It can bring anxious feelings to the most seasoned and confident parents. For me, there’s the dread of driving to multiple locations to find special items on my kids’ school supply lists — with three kids in tow, and all the noise and drama that can bring. There’s also the unfortunate dent it puts in the bank account.
A few weeks ago, I took my son back-to-school shopping. He would be starting the third grade and his little sister would be starting kindergarten. So while my daughter was at preschool, I took my son shopping for all the things they’d both need.
This time, I wanted things to be different.
Equipped with our lists from both classrooms, we rolled into Target like a couple of buddies. I wanted to make the experience FUN for us instead of stressful, and we actually had a great time in that brightly-lit, red-and-white siren’s lair of “must-have’s.” (Momma actually got a couple of cute dresses on clearance on the way to Back-to-School aisles — woop woop!)
The only time we ran into some trouble was when there were some pretty specific things on the list that we couldn’t find right away, such as non-clicking red pens and white regular sized glue sticks when all we could find were “disappearing purple” or “jumbo-sized.”
(I bought the disappearing purple. Sorry Mrs. Johnson.)
We managed to keep a cheerful attitude the entire time, even when my son reeeeaaaaally really really wanted this cool pencil box. We already had the one from last couple of years that was in fine working condition. My son made his argument, tried to negotiate, begged, and eventually let up on the pencil case. Dude even apologized to me later for giving me a hard time about not buying him the pencil box.
This was a dream day, I’m telling you!
The fact that we had such a nice time together, made our over $200 bill less somehow slightly less painful. We left Target with a Chai tea latte (for me) and a cake pop (for him) to top off our little outing, which is something we rarely indulge in.
“You’re being extra nice to me today, Mommy,” my son said.
“You know what, honey,” I said to him,”It’s something I’ve really been working on and praying and asking God to help me with…my tone with you and being more patient. Thank you for all your help today.”
Later, when my husband brought home our two girls from preschool, my future kindergartner asked me what all the Target bags were for. I explained that I had purchased her supplies for school and I was about to label and organize everything.
Now, that was an iffy move on my part, because my strong-willed daughter could’ve erupted in loud disappointment that she didn’t get to come with me and pick out stuff “her own self.”
But instead she was thankful and excited!
“So, while I was at school, you bought everything I need, Mama?”
“That’s right,” I said.
“Awww! Thank you Mommy!” she exclaimed. (Phew! Crisis averted!)
At that moment, I immediately thought about God.
It’s just something sweet, not necessarily profound, that I wanted to share with you because it touched my heart. Perhaps it will encourage you in the busyness of back-to-school:
How often does God prepare things for us behind the scenes?
Maybe we’re worried or stressed about something, but God is working on our behalf. My daughter was at preschool and had no idea that I was at Target getting everything she needed for kindergarten. I did this because I love her and because getting our kids what they need (not always want they want) is a part of good parenting.
In the same way, God is a good — no, a GREAT — parent (see Luke 11:13). Sometimes He gets no thanks at all; sometimes we remember Him and show Him our gratitude. In Matthew 6:8, Jesus makes this comforting declaration:
…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
He tells us later that we don’t need to worry about anything. And that goes not only for this life, but also for the next life. I love this amazing promise in John 14:1-4:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
God is preparing a place for us — right now. While we are worried about back-to-school, work, our health, our family, the state of our world, Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven where there will be no sorrow, worries, disease, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
I hope you take comfort in this today as you go about your business as a parent and a follower of Christ.
Trust in the Lord; He is taking care of everything you need.