About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul...

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  1. Bonnie,
    This is the first year in a long, long time that my children and I will not be returning to school. My daughter is 25, my son is taking a “pause” from college and I won’t be returning as a teacher this year. School is such a mission field, both for those carrying a light into a dark world and for those attempting to indoctrinate with false truth. I pray for all our students that their lights would shine brightly in a place (school) where God is not welcome anymore. May the Holy Spirit guard and protect their hearts while, at the same time, making them bold to proclaim Your name, Lord. Like you said, Bonnie, who we are makes the mission…people are God’s mission field wherever they are. My mission field may be changing, but my mission remains the same. Thank you for your heartfelt post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • It sounds like a new page is turning in your life, Bev and you’re remembering all God’s walked you and your children through. May this fall be rich with reflection for the journey ahead!

  2. This is the first year I’ve had to purchase clothing for my daughter for school. She needs to wear uniforms entering junior high. I’ve been struggling on so many levels with sending her off. Thank you for this post. I cannot even express the balm it is for my heart this morning. I plan to use Colossians 3:12 to discuss with my girls at the bus stop this morning. Thank you!

    • Tristi, I hope you’re resting well tonight, after a big day today with your girls. I’m settling in here in CA myself. Our Heavenly Father is taking all our cares and concerns and placing us in His arms. He understands our hearts.

  3. Bonnie,

    My second school year is starting where I am not teaching in the preschool/daycare since being fired 15 months ago and accused of something I did not do which ended my career. My prayer has been help me even want to forgive because I don’t right now for the last 15 months. My grief is overwhelming at times. Yet this last week our church had a prayer mosaic stations around for students, teachers, family to come and pray. One table was a table on forgiveness. For the first time I chose to say the words and write them out I forgive you for the false accusation, I forgive you for ruining my career, I forgive you for firing me. I started to pray blessings on this director and the daycare/preschool. Not that it doesn’t still hurt, but I was finally willing to choose what Jesus would tell me to do and what he would do himself.

    Praying for you and all the mommy hearts out there and the students.

    • Katie,

      How devastating to have such a traumatic and destructive experience! I commend you for choosing to forgive and bless the director and the preschool, for choosing Jesus’ love. I pray that God will bless you with new supportive places and new direction.

    • Katie,

      God bless you for forgiving people for ruining your career. You will be better off & God will bless you in ways you can’t imagine.

      Prayers for you during this school year and throughout life.

    • Dear Katie, it must be an emotionally demanding week, even as it is freeing — as you take new steps into a new chapter. You are so courageous. May you find some spacethis week to process. It’s not often talked about – grief is involved in the journey of forgiveness – so thank you friend sharing your experience with us,to have it echo with all of us here.

  4. So good Bonnie!! Thanks for taking it deeper!!
    No kids to send to school here… But praying for my granddaughter (and my daughter!) as the oldest starts school today!!
    Thanks for sharing, and writing from the heart!!

  5. We’ve never been huge shoppers for back-to-school clothes. It’s not matter of money, although I work hard at budgeting and being thrifty with what we have. If they don’t “need” new clothes, why buy them? A new shirt or two can give my girls a boost without going overboard.

    My 19yo is taking a break from college due to changing majors and schools. Being back at home is a challenge as we navigate changing expectations, boundaries, and relationships.

    My 17yo has moderate cerebral palsy. After three years of homeschooling, we decided to send her back to public school this year. Not an easy decision, but thankfully, she has a BFF to welcome her back to class. She will not be alone.

    My prayers are always for my children, but also for me as I make the transition to not having control over my disabled daughter’s care or education. And I desperately miss her already!

    Prayers for all moms and kiddos! Great post!

    • Thanking God with you for that BFF who is welcoming your 17yo this week back to school! I’m thinkingof you today Kerith and saying a prayer for God to lift your mommy’s heart mid-week — to give you encouragement where you need it most.

  6. My children’s children are entering school for another year next week. Why the new clothes? Could it be symbolic of a new beginning—the opportunity to begin anew? New clothes on their backs, new supplies in their packs, new teachers to meet, and the new year spread out before them. On that first day—they need to know how special they are to us and to God –the God of new beginnings.

  7. I always look forward & always Blessed by your words.. Our LORD so uses you to touch people’s hearts…. I find myself always praying the prayers that you write…. I am praying for your boys as well as my 22 & 21 year old boys and my 13 year old daughter…. Our prayers, worries & focus will always be with our children but reading your bog today made me think how the words we pray are different with the age change bu t Our LORD and how HE Honors us “Moms” with Our Prayers to HIM for our Children…. Thanks for Being an Obedient Child to Our KING !!!

    • Hi Michele, I’m praying right next to you as well — here mid-week — lifting up your boys and teenage daughter… and you. Thanks for walking this journey with me.

  8. Bonnie, you are my favorite blog writer in the whole world! Having lost my husband last year and then dealing with a life-long journey of emotional dependency and other things, you have helped me so – o – o much from “The Place of Empty” ’til now! Even though I don’t have children at home (long-since removed), I can relate to your stories and putting on love, compassion, empathy, grace, mercy – clothing the spirit and renewing the mind.
    I love you.

    • Aw. Mary. You are so sweet. And my heart sighs a warm comfort, hearing how God has brought us alongside this faith journey to encourage each other — in the grieving, yet also thirsting for all the beauty our hearts once held. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m grateful we can accompany each other through our words.

  9. For many years I have prayed over my childrens school the evening before school started. As a family we would have a special meal of pizza or spaghetti together- pile in the car and drive to each school one of the kids would be attending that year. We would stand out front and pray as a family; asking God’s blessing on the school year, on the administrators and educators, the other students and for safety of all who entered there. Even when the older ones attended a close community college we’d stand outside together and pray. When they went off to college I would pray from afar. I just realized while reading your blog that this is the last year (after 30 years of first days of school!) I have one of my own going back to school- Baby Girl is a senior this year. But now I have grandchildren whose schools need praying over; carrying the tradition on. Thanks for sharing your heart for your children, Bonnie.

    • Deb, I really love this idea. What a beautiful picture of a family together preparing for the school year. I didn’t grow up having an actual family experience I can model, so it’s so precious to hear you share — and get ideas. It feels like I’m looking at snapshots of your family photo album. Thanks for sharing

  10. Good Morning, Bonnie,
    Thank you for such a sweet, deeper reflection on the first day of school. It resonated with me (even tho I have no children of my own).
    It felt like all of it could be pertinent for “First Days” of ANYTHING: A new job, a new support group, a new family, a new endeavor…..and that creating a tradition around it these things each year. Sort of like new year’s resolutions, except with “meat on it’s bones”.
    May we ask ourselves why we do things, and listen for the answer, the deeper one……we may discover we want to change or tweak the how’s and why’s of it. Or simply bring it to our consciousness.
    May we continue to discover new ways to pray for one another, support one another and Celebrate this gift of life.

    Hope He “uses you little” and it sets forth BIG ripples.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Lu

    • Hi Lu, thanks for taking the time to stop by and share earlier this week — it’s so soul lifting to support one another and as you say “celebrate this gift of life”.

  11. This is such a timely article as I’m taking my girls shopping today for their new school uniforms. I’m already feeling anxious, thank you for helping me adjust my perspective.

  12. Bonnie, your prayer for your boys so touched me. I don’t have children of my own, but I’m a blessed Aunt to 4 beautiful little girls – two of whom return to school later this month – and I myself remember all too well the anxious march towards the first day of school. Thanks for reminding us that our prayers are the best thing we can cover our children in!

    • Hi Amy, it’s wonderful your 4 nieces have an aunt that calls them beautiful. Girls these days — including us big girls” — need encouragement. Thanks for being a part of my week and blessings me with your company.

  13. Thank you for the reminder that we are all still his children. He parents us in the many “first days” of life, as we parent our children, freshly clothed with his grace, supplied with his love and power, and the Spirit interceding for us just as we intercede for our children all through those first days. I love that picture. Thank you!

    • Hi Cathy! It’s good to see your thumbnail photo — and your name show up here. Yes, like you, it really touches my heart picture God He’s dressing us with His love… as we are His little girls.

  14. Hi Bonnie! It’s nice to see your posts again. I pray for my granddaughter, who is in 8th grade this year. Middle school teenager brings a whole new set of worries which I have to turn over to God. Thankful we have Him because I’d be a mess if I didn’t. Alex is a good girl but I know Satan is out there lurking so I pray that God protects her and guides her.
    I have a grandson in NY who is going to be starting school next month and he is anxious about it. So I told my son to ease his anxiety by explaining what he will be learning in kindergarten and maybe play school with him. I pray that God protects Anthony and eases his anxiety. It’s hard because there is so much evil in the world that I am very thankful to have such a wonderful Father to go to. Hearing horror stories about what happens to kids once they are out of our sight, makes my hair stand on end. I pray that all our children and grandchildren are protected and guided. Let an angel be around them continually.

  15. My daughter is a senior in high school this year (my oldest child). She has a tough schedule and we are all really feeling the pressure to decide where she will go to college, etc. (right now she is so confused!). It’s overwhelming and scary. We need the Lord’s guidance and help. Thanks for this post and prayers.

  16. Praying that my two girls (who will both be in high school this year) continue to walk in God’s strength and with His courage. I pray they continue to have hearts for those who don’t know Him and are kind and gracious to those who may not be the same in return. They are such warriors, and I thank God that He has made them who they are and continues to work in and through them…

    I know you are teaching your boys well, and can I say from this side of second grade…there are difficulties, but knowing the One who holds it all is such a huge source of comfort! Praying you and your family have a school year full of God sightings! 🙂

  17. You always make me feel things with your writing. God uses your gift to bring healing to others. May His breathe continue to infuse you, as you write for Him. God be with your children in school this year. YYou are a good mom who has gone way out of her way to raise and bless her children. They know the Lord, and now they are equipped to be light in the dark corridors of public education. May their light shine, and may the Lord protect each of them. Have a beautiful new school year. And, may the Lord’s peace resonate through your heart and home. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

  18. I found this prayer years ago and have prayed it for my kids and grandkids. Remember to pray these things for your child: Physical, emotional and spiritual health; an abiding sense of safety and security; courage to face the problems of each day; a calm spirit to hear the voice of the Lord; a willingness to obey; a clear mind, both to learn and to recall; a generous spirit toward family and friends; wise teachers, mentors, and counselors; unshakeable self-worth and personal dignity; eternal salvation and a home in heaven one day. There was also a quote by an old time preacher named Billy Sunday which said, “All hell cannot tear a boy or girl away from a praying mother.” That was most encouraging. I hope this blesses you all.

  19. Just moved my son into his first apartment for his second year in college. I pray that he remembers that he now has a place where God should reside and he should bring Him honor. I pray for a successful year and growth. I also pray for my niece that has lived with us for the past five years-as we send her off for her first year of college. I lift her up and pray that the Lord be with her and guide her through her days. For my my son and two nieces left at home as they come into another year-that their hearts will be filled with His Spirit to live their lives as He has called them to live. As a mom I pray that I have the patience and wisdom and that I remember when I am weak He is strong. In Jesus Name-Amen!

  20. Dear Bonnie,

    Thank you for writing your heart. These concerns about our children are so important. Praise God that He is near and hears our prayers. I was struggling with my own issues and didn’t know how to attend to my children’s worries as they went through school. Now they are working and we all still have needs that only God can answer. I appreciated your sharing Colossians 3:12, a prayer for my and their inner clothing. You challenge me and encourage me with your sharing.

  21. My prayer for my youngest son as he starts his venture into high school is that God will protect him from those that have bullied him in the past and that he will be able to stand strong in his Christian faith and be a light to other students. My eldest will be taking 2 more courses in Community College. I pray that he will make wise selections in his courses so that he will be better prepared to fulfill God’s purpose in his life. For me, I pray that I will be able to be consistent in getting them to do their homework and keep things tidy around the house even during the new and busier days ahead.

  22. Hi Bonnie,
    I’ve been reading to your posts for a few months, and I first want to say how deeply your blogs have made an impact on me. I am sad by childhood events you describe but am amazed, inspired and impressed by how you’ve been able to work through them with scripture and your faith. I particularly love this post about the Mommy’s prayer as the children go off to school. Thank you for sharing this story and for your wisdom, and I will definitely look for ways to clothe my children’s hearts and minds as the kids go off to school and beyond.

    Our children attend Catholic school, so we don’t have a real need for back-to-school clothes, but I think regardless, the purchasing of new clothes for us is purely functional. The kids are growing so much each year, they simply don’t fit in their clothes from last year. The back-to-school sales make it a perfect time to get a few more items that they’ll need whether for school or otherwise. We only get what we need (frugally) and not to simply have new clothes to wear. I *do* remember from my own high school days feeling good when wearing something new to the first days of school or even a new outfit that I got for Christmas. I will give it more thought as to WHY it felt good, as I don’t really know why!

    Warm regards,
    Sara

  23. Bonnie,

    I just want you to know that your words always touch my heart. You are a dear sister in Christ, and I am saying a prayer for you right now that God would pour out a tremendous amount of courage and peace over your life. Your words have given others strength and encouragement and so I pray God would repay you many times over for sharing your beautiful words with others.

    Many Blessings,
    Brandi

  24. As a participant in the ministry of Moms in Prayer International, I am privileged to have other moms join me in clothing my children with the covering of prayer. Whatever school they attended and even now as adults, that is their most significant article of clothing, one they couldn’t discard on the playground, lose on the bus, or leave at home. My Father sees them wearing these clothes every time He looks at them.

  25. I’m reading your post from my phone, sitting in the school pick up car-line on my daughter’s first full day of Kindergarten in public school. I so appreciated (and my spirit needed) this word today… Thank you!!

  26. I’ve often prayed that God grant me His blessing to homeschool my kids because it seems like it would be so much easier. But He keeps reminding me, 2x4s over the head, that our mission field is here in the East Bay, in the public school system. Neighbor, I feel everything you write about… as I struggle to disciple my kids, be a light to the community, and conquer my own panic/anxiety issues that have kept me from driving. In solidarity and to introduce you to another venue for compassion, I’d like to offer you $25 worth of tea at http://www.compassiontea.com... where we share tea to save lives in rural parts of Africa where health care is scarce. Please message me for further instructions to redeem your $25. We have decaf and caffeine free teas, too! A cup of tea helps in so many ways and I’d love to share that with you!

  27. I prayed that my girls would know their worth. That they would relish in their unique and beautiful selves. Because they are in fact fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s no fair to compare. I prayed they would be kind and have open hearts toward new friends, and softened hearts to pray for those who hurt them. I pray that, although I’m not that school Mom, ( you know the one who bakes, volunteers, and never misses a field trip or conference) that my efforts to help them here at home will be fruitful. That my love is felt through the miles and school walls. And, that I’ll be completely present in the now when they need help.

  28. Bonnie,

    This is a great post! I am a student myself and find myself constantly reminding myself to wear the clothing of God most proudly. As I went shopping the other day, ironically to find an outfit to deliver a message to our Christian Fellowship on Campus in just two weeks as President I found myself valuing so strongly the way I look over the words I will speak in regards to fostering a community around the model of Acts2. Convicted by this, I prayed fervently that, as children of God, we would know first and foremost that our appearance should reflect Him, His love, and His calling for us. Praying for all you ladies as well as myself that we would believe wholeheartedly in His plans for us and how He has equipped us to accomplish them, in His love for us and concern for our wellbeing, in His ever constant presence and abounding grace and mercy.

    “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” ~Brennan Manning

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

    Be Blessed.

  29. This is a great post, I’m a great-grandmother and I have eight great-grandchildren all of them starting a new school year today, (my husband (a crossing guard at an elementary), my prayer was GOD please keep them safe and wrap your loving arms around each child and let them feel your presence.

  30. Dear Bonnie,

    i am very touched by your prayer in this article. i believe this will be a good start to pray with my 9-year-old boy for the new school year. i really want to see him to be a little missionary at school and get some close friends in Christ.

    A big thankyou for your heartwarming sharing. God bless you!

    in Christ,
    Wendy
    HK

  31. Great post Bonnie! Thanks for looking at this in a different perspective.

    I never got “new” school clothes and I was fine with that. I believe what children need more than outer clothing is Christ’s clothing on them. Plenty of prayer for them to enter the “battlefield”. Keep them grounded in Christ and they will not stray!

  32. For the first time in 26 years, we are out of the “back to school” days. Our youngest graduated in May and has a real job in the real world. Yet, I laid awake last night praying for good friends for him, for him to be a light in the places he goes, for all the things you listed above and I felt much as you mentioned — like a child myself. Battling fears and doubts, I need God’s assurance that He is guiding our son now as much as when he was that little guy heading off from our house with a backpack and a lunch box. Thank you for the prayer to guide my thoughts in Kingdom ways instead of earthly ways. We want so much for our children to be happy and loved and successful. Your prayer reminds me that God has Kingdom plans for them – they are His children first and so am I. Thank you so much for getting my thoughts back on HIs plan this morning! God bless you and your family!

  33. Bonnie, as I was reading your post I couldn’t help but think of this. There are teachers who will love your children. I work in a private school that goes all through high school. I am with Pre-K 3 children. Since this is my fourth school year, I’ve come to know many of the children and love to see them as they grow. I remember when they had their first day at school and they cried for mommy and daddy. But over time, they began to look forward to coming to school. I silently pray for the children in our class. Since this is not a Christian school, I cannot help but allow Jesus’ light to shine through me.

    In your own unique way you touch others Bonnie. We each do our part as the Lord directs. You are trusting the Lord with your children each day. I pray that they will have teachers who will also love them.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  34. Bonnie,
    This truth is hysterical! My son will be attending 2nd grade at a very small school this year. 3 students in fact. I am the teacher. My loft is the classroom. Yet, this morning I wrote out my Back to School shopping list for him. Sure, I need something new to wear…I’m a girl…it’s what we do. But my 7 year old could care less. Nor will the other 2 students care. So you helped me conclude… We live in Las Vegas. It will be summer weather for another few months, therefore his summer clothes will do just fine for the fall. They fit, they look nice. Done. My husband will thank you. 🙂
    Spiritually speaking, I loved your reminder that we are the Light of Jesus whereever we are. It’s a beautiful gift God has entrusted us with simply by being His child.

    Thank you for your post.
    Jaclyn Palmer

  35. My kids got new tennis shoes because they need them, and we attempted to get a new outfit for each. The one my daughter picked out will not work until it cools down, being that it has pants and long sleeves and we live in the South.

    My daughter’s Sunday School teacher asked her if she had a back to school outfit yet the week before school started, and my sweet girl just looked at her like she had asked her to balance an algebraic equation. (She’s in second grade…. and not a math whiz kid.) Even some of us Americans are more preoccupied with doing things like reviewing basic math facts and summer reading than unnecessary worrying about the wardrobe.

    Thanks for a post that reminds us to focus on what is significant.

  36. Bonnie, Thanks for writing. I’ve been following you for over a year and have been praying for you…
    I liked the wording of the Matthew 18 passage. From what version was this taken?

  37. Wow. I loved that, about clothing our minds and hearts—that’s more important than our external clothes. You gave me food for thought, thank you.

  38. My daughter has just entered her last year of college, and we went shopping at Target and thrift stores for some clothes prior to school starting. We added some more professional items as she hopes to be interviewing when recruiters come to the school. She is not obsessed with clothes like I used to be thankfully. Clothes have always been a touchy subject for me, and I have a strong need to have the correct clothing for the situation, but I am also very frugal, so it’s a balancing act for me to get what I think I need and not spend too much money. I used to yearn so badly for some cool outfits so I could “fit in” at school. I was the “preacher’s kid” and because my dad didn’t get paid much people always generously passed their hand-me-downs on to us. Do you know how embarrassing and agonizing it is to go to school and have someone laugh at you wearing an old outfit of theirs and letting everyone know how out of style and uncool it was,and that’s why they got rid of it? I found that when I did wear something that fit well and was in style I not only felt better, but I also felt more attractive. Since I had acne and cat-eye glasses I craved something that would help me to not be an outcast at school. With hindsight now I understand how everyone was obsessing over their own needs to fit in or not be ridiculed. I want to fit in and be confident, we all do. As moms we don’t want out child singled out as the misfit or oddball or poor kid, so we buy them clothes. In a way it’s a symbol we put on our kids to let others know our socio-economic status. I know everyone doesn’t do that and I think it’s great when we can avoid getting caught up in materialism, but as much as we try to be of the world and not in it. We are IN it.
    So we pray. I have pledged this year to pray for my daughter every day on my way to work, before I get really busy, this is the only consistent way I can do that because I do consistently drive to work each day. This year she is taking an overload of classes and she works. She is starting to think about the internship she needs and getting her resume together. She is pushing away from her religious upbringing too as she struggles to be her own person. I pray for the still small voice of God to whisper to her that she is loved and she still needs Him in her life. I pray for her not to stray from doing the right thing.