New Beginnings


It is that time of year again.  The season for new shoes, sharpened pencils, covered books and firsts galore.  Close your eyes; you can almost smell the chalk dust, new books and leaves as they crisp in the fall.

Whether you are anticipating the start of preschool, are stepping onto a campus, awaiting a classroom full of brand new faces to guide and teach, or a parent sending your child off into the unknown of a new school year, you encompass the mix of emotions that mark this distinct time of year. 

The unique blend of excitement and anxiety, all melded together as you embark a new year of learning, friends, and experiences yet to be revealed is one of those rhythmic beats in my calendar of life. 

As a student, a teacher and then a mother, it is the “Grandfather clock” that dongs come late August, early September for as long as I can remember.  There is the nervous anticipation that keeps you laying awake for nights leading up to the first day.  The thrill of the school supplies all labeled and neatly awaiting use in your backpack and the new sneakers without a blemish, ready to take the first steps of this new leg in the journey.  And the nagging fear of the unknown; always that nagging fear, ever so quietly tempting us to succumb to its grip.

We try and bury the fear of the unknown, of going outside our comfort zone, and of trusting ourselves and our children in the hands of others, yet in the busyness of preparing, yet it still permeates our emotions.  Doesn’t it always whenever something is so unknown, brand new and undefined?

In Joshua 1:9 we read, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Wherever we go.  On a school bus, the walls of a classroom, the dormitories of college; WHEREVER WE GO He will be there.

So students, parents, and teachers, take heart.  You are NOT alone in the unknown.  We have been gifted the Helper of all helpers, the Holy Spirit, our ultimate teacher and guide.  As we step foot out into this new school year, rest assured that this new year brings the promise of growth.  Lean into Him as your palms sweat and hearts race and pray for whatever it is that weighs heavy on your heart.  Be open to the people God will bring into your life this year, the lessons you will learn and the experiences you will have.  He is guiding you every step of the way, my friend!

As that school bell rings this fall, take heart, for God has great things in store!  So sharpen those pencils, lay out the new clothes and with great anticipation allow Him to lead you through new beginnings. 

Jennifer Ragazzo is a member of First Presbyterian of Bethlehem and lives in Tatamy with her three children and husband of fifteen years.  She holds a BA in Psychology and an ED.M in Elementary Education and is currently pursuing her passion for ministering through her writing.  You can check out more of her writing on her personal blog at