His battle not ours: Gear up for a bumpy school year

Written by Cynthia Yanof
Published on July 31, 2020

Remember last spring when we thought school was going to be out for two long weeks because of COVID? Do you recall how we collectively gasped at the notion of keeping our kids busy, while also ensuring they learned something?

That was real cute, right?

In reality, the days turned into months, and we found ourselves celebrating like lottery winners when we scored toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Not to mention all of the time we spent searching Pinterest for ways to turn our dining rooms into make-shift learning labs.

It may have gotten a bit weird.

So now, as “summer” is wrapping up, it’s feeling a little like Groundhog Day as we’re looking at back-to-school and the continuing implications of COVID. And like it or not, we will likely be dusting off the dining room table for yet another stint (or two or three) of good old-fashioned homeschooling. 

Bless it.

Our eyes are on you

It can be frustrating and anxiety-provoking to live in the uncertainty of our new pandemic normal. It’s easy to feel powerless when weighing health concerns with our kids’ educational and emotional needs. 

But I read something recently in 2 Chronicles 20 that is a good word for us as we gear up for another bumpy school year. In the passage, King Jehoshaphat (took me roughly three times to spell that right) received word that a vast army was preparing to attack his province. Before he did anything, he resolved to “inquire of the Lord” and called his people to fast and seek God for direction and protection.

Stay with me, this is important.

In doing so, he gathered all of his kingdom together in a grand assembly and prayed over them. Although the whole prayer is beautiful, it’s the last line that really gets me. I picture this powerful king, standing in front of all of his province, humbly confessing to God: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Yes, that’s it: we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.

I can’t think of a better prayer for us in the coming days. These are the words we need to write on the bathroom mirror and tattoo on our biceps (maybe not). But what a great reminder that instead of being frustrated, impatient, or anxious, we can choose to seek the Lord. 

As things roll out for the school year, we have the opportunity to humbly confess that we don’t know what to do, but we will keep our eyes on him. 

The battle is not yours

But there’s more. 

After King Jehoshaphat spoke those beautiful words, the Lord honored his prayers and responded by telling his kingdom not to be afraid or discouraged, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15).

Spend a hot minute pondering that. 

The battle is not yours (or the school’s, or the government’s, or the CDC’s) . . . it’s God’s. Those words can’t help but change our perspective and our posture, as we face the next few months in the thick of the uncertainty.

My challenge to all of us is this: pray, fast, and “inquire of the Lord” in the coming days. 

Let’s take a step back and be reminded that the battle is not ours—it’s God’s. As we hand this new school year over to God, let’s shift our attitude, internal dialogue, social media posts, and (most significantly) our prayer life. 

There’s nothing more important we can do today (or any day) than pray for our kids and ask the Lord to fight their battles for us.

As we wrap up, I want to be sure you know that despite my sound theological suggestions, I still feel your pain. Around this time last year, I wrote a blog where I shared my woes about the endless summer movies, water parks, play dates, and activities that were wearing me thin. 

Honestly, I would like to fight my 2019-self for writing those words. 

So I’m now offering you a metaphorical olive branch in the form of a 2020 summer ode, COVID-19 edition.

A Summer Ode to COVID-19 

2020, you’re a hack, a real loser, we’re not a fan,

We never saw it coming, I mean who’s ever heard of Wuhan?

We were going about our business, living each day without a clue,

Meanwhile, you launched a curve ball aimed at the only life we knew.


In a split second our country shut down and the news was doom and gloom,

Everything appeared to stop except our gray roots visible on Zoom.

We’ve worn the masks, sanitized hands, and gathered food in an instant,

We’ve visited family and celebrated birthdays all at a six-foot distance.


But now it’s back-to-school and time for you to get a grip,

We’ve been around these people 24/7 and desperately need a girls’ trip.

Our kids need a real education, our math skills are a serious bomb,

But they also need their friends and our seniors want their last prom.


2020, you’ve been a doozie and you’re making us berserk,

But for real (as much as we love them) our husbands must go back to work.

We appreciate the unexpected family time and a dose of what really matters,

But next time skip the reminder that too much baking makes us fatter.

Join me

Thankful for each of you and looking forward to praying for our kids in the new school year. 

If you haven’t already, please grab a copy of my newest prayer journal, Marked by Prayer. And beginning in September, please join me each Monday morning on the Pardon the Mess podcast, as we pray for our kids. 

Remember: the battle is not ours but God’s.

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Cynthia Yanof

Cynthia Yanof is a wife, mom, blogger, and the host of the Pardon the Mess podcast. She has a relaxed style of interviewing, combining her quick wit and sense of humor with a firm commitment to never taking herself too seriously.

She loves Jesus, her family, foster care, and having lots of friends around her as often as possible. Cynthia is relatable, real, and a friend to all of us just trying to walk the parenting road in a meaningful way that’s pleasing to the Lord.

Read more about Cynthia

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