And now it’s time for my annual back-to-school post. I’m late with it this year because my kids went back on Tuesday, and I’m just sitting down to type. That might be because I’ve been busy working on a few projects this week, but more likely it’s because it’s hard to draw solid words from a trembling hand.

My son is a senior. And though the little rips on my heart are still kinda tender from when I left him at the door of Kindergarten, I’ve dropped him off 12 more times since then and now I have to face facts. The soundtrack to my life has now become the ticking of the clock.

I’m up, down, and all-around on this parenting roller coaster and, frankly, it’s giving me a headache. There are days when I talk my head off and not one child listens to anything I say. There are days of fighting, fussing, and kids sent to their rooms while I stand in the kitchen and wonder where I went wrong along the way.

And then there are days I feel great. “Look how sweet these kids are,” I tell myself. “Maybe I’ve gotten the hang of this parenting thing after all.” And the next thing you know your name is being announced over the loud speaker at Hobby Lobby because you forgot your 7-year-old in the fabric department while you were busy being distracted by party supplies. (I’m not saying this actually happened–this is just a theoretical example, of course.)

The point is I’m terrified. My time with my kids at home is flying by. What if I’ve not emphasized enough of this, or what if I haven’t taught enough ofthat?

I hear myself asking, “Have I really done enough?”

And then I hear the Holy Spirit answering,”No.” But before I panic, I realize that what He means is that it’s not all up to me. I don’t have the power to control their thoughts and actions. But, I can show them Jesus, and live the fact that He is the One we look to for everything we need.

I remind myself: these kids aren’t really mine anyway. They’re His. He has loaned them to to me for a while to teach them a few things about what this life is really about. (Or is it so that He can teach me a few things?)

And so I will try to be okay with the imperfection. I will release the pressure I put on myself to control it all.

I will do what I know to do with them. I will teach the necessity of speaking love and showing forgiveness. I will be patient when I have to say one more time to pick up the dirty socks from the living room floor. I will hug them tightly while they are within my reach, and I will pray every day for them to make the right decisions when when they’re out of my reach.

And I will live in the peace of knowing that the God who lent them to me for this short period of time will always be the One watching over them. I will focus my attention on teaching them to keep their eyes on Jesus. Not just on their father and mother and the endless ranting about what not to do, but on the Heavenly Father and the endless pursuit of following Him. And on Jesus, whom Iwant them to know more than anything else.

Who will do this with me?