A devotional was shared with me this morning about the phrase God is good. We hear it so often that we sadly become immune to its meaning. I was reminded, though, that goodness is something meant to be experienced and then believed, not the other way around. God demonstrates his goodness in countless ways, and I found myself, throughout some very challenging summer months, giving thanks for this truth, especially in terms of enrollment at Stillwater.
I’m always saddened when I hear from a parent that a student will not be returning to us. Reasons vary–families relocate, students may want to raise hogs, join a cheer squad, or play football… I’m used to receiving those calls and always want parting students to know how much they’ll be missed.
This spring was especially difficult in enrollment. Many of the calls had a different flavor to them, with an underlying factor in common–financial strain after the sudden shutdown of our economy, health concerns that cautioned against enrollment, or basic uncertainty about the year ahead. The impact of this virus felt very far reaching as I spoke with so many parents who had decided to disenroll.
And yet, we have greatly experienced the goodness of God. Close to one quarter of our student population is new to us this year. Most of my summer was spent meeting some pretty great families who have chosen to join our school community! Their reasons to relocate differ, as well as their prior homes (Washington, Texas, California, Oregon, to name a few, even Australia!). Many already had the Flathead on their radar for a future home; the challenging times simply accelerated the plan to make it happen. Others made the decision quickly, and we had several living out of hotels on the first day of our school year.
Regardless of the circumstances that brought them to us, I give thanks. My continual prayer for these families is that they are made to feel welcome in our school community. I’ve asked many of you to reach out to them, and you’ve found creative ways to respond. Yet I’ve been reminded of God’s goodness in the actual people he brought to us. Just last week, my phone lit up with the sweetest text from a new mom, panicked that she’d missed a teacher’s birthday, asking how she can spoil our staff this year. I also forwarded an invitation that evening from another new parent, inviting the families in her daughters’ classes to a Friday bonfire night. And that same week I opened an email from one of our middle school teachers, taking a moment to share how much she’s enjoyed having so many thoughtful and friendly new students, loving the dynamic they bring to classroom conversations.
I’m reminded of God’s goodness when I reflect on his provision. In innumerable ways, he looked after us during a very trying season. He’s brought some remarkable families to our special valley, and I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to connect with them this year!