Last weekend saw the first bank holiday of the summer. A surprisingly glorious, sunshine filled day giving us the first glimpse of the long-awaited summer. Like many around the country I spent the weekend soaking up as much of the wonderful weather as possible whilst exploiting every opportunity to sample several ice creams and the first family BBQ of the year.

Despite the excitement of the weekend…the sudden change in climate also left me with a sinking feeling. As a recently qualified teacher sadly the summer also holds a much scarier prospect…endless hours and seemingly unrelenting piles of marking and exams!

The academic year started off, much like previous years before it, with the excitement of a new curriculum, newly planned lessons with ever so glossy resources, and all the best intentions! Yet as the year continues, and the lessons develop, my focus rapidly switches to final assessments, exams, and the dreaded pile of marking. Initially when faced with this challenge it merely spurs me on in my excitement and motivation, “I am an organised teacher…I am determined…I will conquer this beast”, followed by equally rousing personal pep talks, the likes that even Obama would be proud of!

Unfortunately, I have also recently rediscovered that I am the queen of procrastination. A “self-given” title which has managed to remain dormant, cast away to the realms of student life until now. Sadly, when faced with increasing marking challenges I often choose to replace my crown… a fact which results in further stress and conflict. Often the only solution for this is late nights working in the forced peace and quiet of my office, after my more sensible colleagues have departed. However, it is also within this tranquillity that I am once more distracted…but this time by thoughts of guilt, alarm and ultimately terror at the fast approaching deadlines. It is normally at this stage that my wonderful family and friends step in with, complete with tubs of leftovers and the invitation of gin.

Fortunately, we have solace in a power much greater than such comforts, “our refuge, and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46: 1). Hebrews 12:12 reminds us to step out and focus on the one and only solution… “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”. Within the trials and seasons of life He holds our future and our day to day, regardless of how we feel or the challenges ahead of us. Our only requirement is to switch our focus and to choose to follow his direction, to “be still and know that he is God” (Psalm 46:10).

Remember, in whatever season you are in, we have solace in a greater power which is in God Himself, our comforter and strength.