The phrase, "Back to School," indicates a plethora of new beginnings. Students move on to a new grade level. Many individuals embark on their first semester of college. Teachers and professors anticipate a new school year with new challenges, new successes, and a new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students. Still, there are others who do not find all of this “newness” to be quite so fascinating. Some students are fearful of moving to a new school, making new friends, and meeting new teachers. Some college students would much prefer the comforts of home to a seemingly uncomfortable dorm room. Parents and grandparents may simultaneously suffer from the negative effects of an “empty nest.” And while they may love teaching, many educators will likely long for the lazy days of summer when they could spend more time with family, read a good book, go on vacation, or do absolutely nothing at all! Even so, a new beginning can be a positive one, despite the many hiccups we may encounter along the way.

Personally, I have found that the new school year has brought about a lot of positive changes for me as a teacher. I am most excited about teaching eighth grade English Language Arts and having a new classroom, which my dad has so lovingly helped me prepare. I thank God for this amazing environment in which to teach my students. I know the resources I have been given will enable me to help them achieve their goals. Because of God's unmerited favor, I know this school year will be blessed beyond measure!

While I am enjoying a wonderful start to the school year, several friends and colleagues have started the school year with illnesses, financial crises, and even the loss of loved ones. My heart hurts for them and I pray God will give them strength to face each new day ahead. Having lost my mom at the beginning of August eleven years ago, I know what it’s like to have your heart broken and then be expected to continue teaching as if nothing happened. But through it all, I know God is always faithful. While I still miss my mom greatly, I know we will see her again in Heaven, where there will be no sorrow or tears, sickness or pain. Until that happy reunion, we can rejoice concerning the promise found in Isaiah 25:8 (NLT): “He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears.” Everyone who puts their trust in Jesus Christ will one day be free from all of the grief on this earth.

Perhaps you are going through a personal struggle this month. Jesus Christ knows exactly what you are going through. Call on His precious name. Ask Him for a new beginning. Not one that will be frightening, as it may be for students finding their way around a new campus, but a new beginning that will renew your strength, restore your joy, and bring you eternal hope. Jesus is the friend who will never leave you nor forsake you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you (I John 3:16). Don't worry about tomorrow, but through prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil. 4:6-7).

Jesus Christ loves you more than you could ever imagine. He wants to give you a new life. Second Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Ask Jesus Christ to guide you through all of the discouraging moments and the joyous ones as well. When you put your trust in Him, all things become new!

In Christ’s Love,