“I’m learning, though, that the God who loves me isn’t just looking for apologies and report cards. He wants me to bring the vinegar so that I can taste the oil. He has all the time in the world to sit with me and sift through my fears and feelings and failings. That’s what prayer is. That’s what love is.” Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
Back to school photos flood my feed on Facebook and Instagram this morning. Parents of my former fourth grade students post pictures of their child’s first day as high school freshmen. A family I babysat for a decade ago posts a picture of their daughter’s first day in college. My own friends post pictures of their toddlers headed to preschool.
I scroll and click and “like” a lot! Fresh sparks of joy flickering in my heart.
Lord bless the teachers and staff. Lord bless the students. and Lord bless the parents.
Here we all go, heading into the school year; with our fragile souls and hopeful hearts.
I just finished reading Shauna Niequist’s latest book Present Over Perfect. Shauna’s books have alway been easy, fun reads for me, that I connect with in heart-felt ways.
Present Over Perfect especially resonated with me because gentleness is a strong theme threaded throughout this memoir.
And so today’s inspiration for the school year, comes from her book. (Thank you Shauna!).
3 Sticky-Note Reminders to Carry With You Into the School Year
1. Remember to bring your honest emotions to God in prayer.
It’s like vinegar and oil:
“When you begin to pray, pour out the vinegar first- the acid, whatever’s troubling you, whatever hurt you, whatever is harsh and jangling your nerves and spirit. You pour that out first….Then what you find underneath is the oil, glistening and thick: We’re going to be fine. God is real and good and present and working.” Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
2. Remember your daughter-ness!
You are not a machine, you have a soul. Life is not only about what you produce, but relationships/connectedness. Remember you are God’s daughter/God’s son. Let your motivation stem from this truth. It’s not only about a “report card”. Shauna says “These days I am relearning daughter-ness, and I find it most through silence and nature. Nature, of course, connects us back to that innate sense of having been created- of order and beauty and humility. We have been made. We are fragile.” Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
3. Remember that often our willingness to be fragile actually makes us strong.
“I’m learning that both body and soul require more tenderness and attentiveness than I had imagined.” Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
May we take note and remind ourselves of these truths as we move through the coming school year.
Love and Hope in Christ,