Dear New McKendree Family,

For many, this is a stressful time of year. Summer's ended, the vacations we'd spent months looking forward to are now memories, and we're once again stepping back into the rhythm of a new school year. Of course, it's a rhythm that most of us have experienced. After all, your ability to read this newsletter results from you having been a student. And yet, while the annual launch of a new school year is as predictable as our annual Christmas celebration, it's still stressful for students, parents, and teachers. It's stressful because it's new. For students, the new school year means new friends, a new grade, and new expectations. For parents, it brings the new logistical challenge of adjusting your family routine to an inflexible school routine. And, for even the most experienced educators, the new school years brings with it the stress of educating a whole new group of other people's kids. So, even though the school year beginning happens every year, it's new and, therefore, stressful. 

Be that as it may, there's a big difference between being stressed and being over-stressed to the point of being stressed out. Stressed out is bad; bad for you and bad for everyone around you. But a little stress, on the other hand, is a good thing. Working your way through a dose of new school year stress pushes you, makes you stronger and prepares you for the next stress-inducing new thing that comes along.

Most importantly, life's minor stressors (and certainly life's major stressors) remind us to rely on God to lead us, sustain us, and pick us up when we fall. And, when we acknowledge our stress and turn it over to God, more times than not, we find that our "beginning something new stress" turns into excitement. I think that's what King David, a man that endured more than his fair share of stressful situations, had in mind when he ended Psalm 139 with, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

So whether you're feeling a twinge of student stress, educator stress, or parent stress, give it to God and then jump into your new routine with both feet. After all, you've got a church family praying for you and, best of all, a God who invites you to "Give all your worries to him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). With all that going for you, you've got every reason to be excited!

May God bless our students, their parents, and all those who dedicate their lives to educating our children and youth. And may God continue to bless his New McKendree family with new, exciting opportunities to serve his kingdom. 

Remember, God's got this. So, keep on looking up and keep on loving and caring for one another. 

Your brother in Christ, 

Pastor Bryan Wendling