I have a love/hate relationship with fall.

Then end of summer not only signals the end of my kids’ freedom, but mine as well.

On one hand, I love strolling the Back to School aisles of Target. Tossing twenty-five cent crayons and glue sticks into my cart makes me giddy. Pretty folders decorated with kittens and flowers beckon me and packages of dollar markers, with their untouched ink-filled tips, whisper of new beginnings.

Yet in the midst of my back-to-school euphoria, lurking around the corner waits heaviness, a foreshadowing of the labor to come, and it slips down around my shoulders like a mantle, harnessing me until the spring.

For the last four years of homeschooling, I have wrestled with all that fall brings.  

Fall offers an end to chaos, re-instating organization, neatness, schedules, activities and goals. Skyrocketed bedtimes drop back to earth. Family dinner hour resurfaces. My calendar, filled with weekly repetition, makes expectations clear.

Fall also ends spontaneity, stifling my impulsive nature. No more sleeping in or late night TV. No more ordering out or yelling, “Get your own!” No more spur of the moment afternoon movies and days at the pool—there are too many things on the schedule for that!

It’s love/hate because it’s hard to pick a side. Chaotic “make up your own rules” days vs. “consistent know what to expect” days. I love order and structure—but not if I’m tied to them!

Does God understand my war?

He does! The Bible promises He is always the same, never changing, and dependable without fail. He is the “…Alpha and the Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Revelation 1:8 NIV). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Yet, God’s character is still filled with novelty and my relationship with Him never needs to be idle. There is always a fresh start. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-20 NIV).

As I press on through back to school season, going from one extreme to another, I know that I am not walking this path alone and I love that God understands me, even in all my strangeness and contradiction. He sprints beside me through my chaotic impulsiveness and marches evenly alongside me through my structured organization. And one day when my kids are grown and gone, we will make a brand new path together.

Although, I think fall may always lure me with its nostalgic memories and my desire to reconcile the two sides of myself.

Lori Freeland is a freelance author from Dallas, TX with a passion to share her experiences in hopes of connecting with other women tackling the same issues. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a full time home school mom. You can visit her blog at http://lafreeland.wordpress.com/.