noun, the point in time or space at which something starts

Backpacks are filled. Lunch boxes brim with favorite sandwiches, chips, cookies, and fruit. New outfits are donned. Yellow rectangles filled with children’s faces cram into the streets. Eager (and depressed) faces fill the desks in wildly decorated classrooms. Once again it’s here. School has started.

It’s interesting that we mark a year from January to December, when in reality the year begins in September and ends in August. Agree?  January is not the month filled with the hope of new beginnings, a chance to change behavior and establish positive, new habits. September is.

What’s my evidence for such a declaration? First, we mark the start of the school year with shopping – for “new” everything.  New trendy clothes, pristinely blank notebooks, colorful new backpacks and lunch boxes, unused pens, and freshly sharpened pencils. All of these things scream that something “new” is coming — in this case a new year.

Nothing excited me more than a new notebook and a unused, freshly-sharpened pencil. In a way, it symbolized so many things: a chance to learn something new, an opportunity to be a better student, a way to grow as a unique individual, but most of all a chance to start over.

A new school year meant a new chapter in my life and that always thrilled me. I could take my pencil and notebook and write a story. Sometimes it held moments of pure happiness, a budding romance, or unforgettable best friend snippets. On other days it held tears from a broken heart, worries of what’s-to-come, or girl-drama tears. Some days I thought I wouldn’t survive, but I did. Some days I believed would last forever, but they didn’t. Some days I thought I had it all figured out, but I didn’t.

But know who did?  God.  In Psalms 139:16 it says, “everyday of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God had every moment already written in his own notebook.  So many times I sought to write my own story (especially in that 8th grade year), but if I had only relaxed and let Him do it, I would have saved myself a lot of worries, wasted moments, and tears.

This year let’s all take a moment to dedicate our notebook to God. To let our pencil move in the words that He wants to write for our lives. When we do, nothing that happens–good or bad–will be wasted. We will have a chance to be exactly who He has called us to be, and there is no greater reward at the end of the year than looking back and seeing all our hard work. After all, he already views us as His star student!


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