“The importance of the invisible! This is true of any life as well. If all of our life is visible to others, from the time we get up in the morning until we fall into bed at night, then we’ll be as unsteady as a ship with no keel. Indeed, more of us is invisible, hidden from the world in quiet, in study, in planning, and in prayer, the more effective our visible life will be.” -Anne Ortlund

I have been steadily preparing for our new school year since July 15th. That date is my boundary date every summer for when my focus needs to turn from rest and play towards planning and preparing. I have learned that it is best for me to steadily get my home, lists, ideas, curriculum, school supplies, and calendar prepared over several weeks instead of waiting until the last minute with a low-level anxiety settling over my soul.

I have put a few meals in our freezer. Some pasta dishes, browned taco meat, poppyseed chicken. I have menu-planned through Plan to Eat for the next few weeks. Their drag-and-drop system makes it so quick and easy. I am stocking up on paper products so that I don’t have to think about them for a while: paper plates, napkins, paper towels, and toilet paper.

I bought all of our school supplies through Walmart Pick-Up! How great to not have to sift and dig for the specific school list that I have. All have been labeled and are ready to go. This doesn’t take long so love your future self by doing it now. I am sifting through the boys’ clothes this week and making the final list for what their clothing and shoes needs are.

I am trying to find consistency in my morning routine. It’s time to implement that again before the busy days where I feel yanked along by the demands of the house, meals, education, and sports. The best thing to do is to write it down. Make your morning self follow it exactly and don’t allow your emotions to make the decisions every day. Decision fatigue is real so we want to save our decision making for the big things that come to us, not the small things like when to brush our teeth.

I spent time today updating my Simplified Planner, and making sure that all the meetings that have been trickling in through email are written in my calendar on both the monthly page and the daily pages. I responded to emails that I have allowed to back up, and deleted a bunch of newsletters that had piled up. I am deleting podcasts that don’t fit this season and only listening to and reading posts that are encouraging me towards faithfulness at home and in mothering. Sometimes we need to curate our input so that we don’t get distracted especially in times of transitions and new beginnings where we feel especially vulnerable.

The most important thing that any of us can do as we plan and prepare is to submit again to the Lordship of Jesus as our ultimate authority. I have been convicted this summer of being the lord of my own life, focusing on what I want, what I feel, what I desire, instead of praying for and submitting to His leading. Do we follow the culture or the King? Is our theology and views based on convictions from the Word or from the preferences of what the culture accepts and applauds? Are we pleasing man and not God? These are always important questions, and even as long-time believers, we can quietly and easily be led away from taking up our crosses daily and submitting all of our ideas and desires to Him.

“Our invisible times of quiet determine the stability of our lives”, says Anne Ortlund in Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. A new school year needs all the stability we women can offer, and the way to be anchored, to be steady, is to plan, prepare, and pray in the quiet spaces. We can find these spaces in the early mornings, during the afternoons, when children are tucked in bed, at a local restaurant, the library, or a night away. Quiet is there, and we can find it if we choose to deny ourselves distractions, ask for what we need, and make it happen. Find the quiet, receive stability.

May the peace of Christ flow in you and through you in the weeks to come!