As a child, I loved the back-to-school season. It was a time of new beginnings, a time of fresh pencils and crayons, of new clothes and shoes, of new friends and of reuniting with old friends. As soon as the Fourth of July ended each year, I set my sights on September. I would brim with anticipation.

(Yes, I was a nerd.)

This year, our oldest child is heading off to full-day kindergarten. She never went to preschool, so it’s been her, her younger sister, and me every day together for the last nearly four years. Instead of looking forward with anticipation only, the new school year has been mixed with tears (on my part, not hers), knowing that the sun is setting on an era of our lives. And instead of reaching forward and grasping new experiences, I’m uncurling my fingers and letting a little girl walk into the next stage of her childhood. She’ll thrive, and I know she’ll love it like I did, but this new experience of letting go is a bittersweet one.

Earlier today, I realized that this autumn’s theme is letting go in multiple areas of our lives. The leaves will turn red, and the trees will release little pieces of themselves at the same time we will be required to let go of our familiar experiences. Not only is our oldest headed toward kindergarten, but our youngest is of age to begin extracurricular activities as her sister did at four-years-old. I will have one evening every week without our daughters, and I haven’t had consistent time like that to myself since our oldest was born. (Once I get past the tears of the years past, the plan is to devote this time to writing each week!) We are also leaving the main campus of our church and will attend the newest satellite campus in our own city. All of these new experiences are mixed with adventure, anticipation, and apprehension of moving on to new stages.

This will also be the autumn I let A Sacrificial Justice go. It’s only a mere four weeks and change before I will submit my manuscript to Pitch Wars and test the waters of the merit of this book. Just like our other experiences, it’s a mix of excitement and uncertainty. This will be my first foray into querying (I will be querying if I’m not accepted into Pitch Wars), and, while I am hopeful, I have no true idea whether any mentors or agents will fall in love with this story and these characters.

At the middle/end of last year, I considered querying in January of this year (don’t laugh, I was optimistic), but the importance is not lost on me that this novel will be ready at the same time of loosening our grip on our children and saying goodbye to friends at church. There are rhymes and reasons for seasons and an ebb and flow of our lives, and it always amazes me how well God orchestrates these times to work together.