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Next week, my baby starts school. Tomorrow, we meet her teacher. I’ve texted her teacher over the past few days, which feels just so weird (but awesome) to this “older” mom. Like so many other mothers facing this milestone, it doesn’t seem possible, honestly. Last night, I realized that I’m going to have to work hard to keep it together on the first day of school, because while I mourn the end of the baby / toddler / preschooler seasons of life, my sweet girl is watching me to know how to walk into a new season. And she’s a bit anxious, honestly, wondering what will happen if she doesn’t like school, telling me she doesn’t want to go. Ugh.

It’s time, though, and this is right. So, instead of weeping over the loss of a season, I’m thinking I need to demonstrate the joy of new seasons and birthing of new things to the daughter of my heart. I’ve seen different things parents might pray for their children or words that they give them as they leave the door. If I could choose two words for her, they’d be this: joy & peace. It may be a bit unconventional, but this is the blessing I want to pray for my girl as she starts her first day of this new season:

School blessings“For you will go out in joy, be led home in peace. And as you go the land itself will break out in cheers; the mountains and the hills will erupt in song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

My love, go out this door in joy. Venture out bravely, in full delight, knowing that your position is secure and at the end of each day, you have been given a place you can find deep rest. Take that joy and confidence with you, each place your foot lands. All of creation is participating in His plan as it is being worked out in you, as you simply are who He created you to be. Everything from sunrises and sunsets, mountains and trees, testify daily to His remarkable goodness, faithfulness, love, and provision. Stay tender to His voice, and bring others along with you, joining hands with those on the fringes and right beside you. Celebrate!

Of course, she’s still not quite four years old, so my over-ambitious words of blessing might be a bit too long, and might stay in my journal, my prayers, and in my heart. Next week’s parting words may sound more like “Lovie, go out this door in joy. Be kind. Today is going to be a great day. I will be here when you come home.”

It scares me a bit, honestly, knowing that, in giving me the gift of “the joy of going out”, my parents didn’t get me back (geographically) when I went out at 20 years old. Their home has continued to be a place of peace for me, though, even as I’ve built my own. Secretly, I’m hoping that our girl gets married and has five grandbabies for me and lives down the street. (And all the Mamas said AMEN!) I think my mom may have hoped for that too, but it didn’t quite work that way.

But really, although it may cost me dearly, I’m also praying that, as she continues to grow in stature and wisdom, she truly learns how to go out in joy, and find her place of peace, wherever it is.

And friend? I want that blessing to be yours too. Whether you’re leaving your door alone, or in a mad rush of kids and dogs and work, or facing limited time and an unlimited to-do list, or a new stage of life in which you’re not quite sure if there is still a purpose for you. It’s even for you, the one who is not certain whether you want to open the door and show up.

Go out in joy, and come back in peace. Whether you hear their whispers or not, the trees, mountains, flowers and everything in-between, are cheering you on. And at the end of the day, He’ll be there when you get home.

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