Monday, October 17, 2011

Memorial Stone-MONEY and College Tuition

To a good deal of the world, I am "a rich American." To many in my immediate area, not so much. You won't seeing me buying ocean front property any time soon, and by American standards there are certain rooms in my house that could use a good demo and total makeover. Money is relative isn't it? One man's poverty is another man's riches. One man's riches is another man's poverty.

My husband and I have tried hard to be wise with our money. I could list our failures with money but honestly, the list is too long. We are a one income family. We believe God has called me to stay home and focus on raising the kids and keeping the home. I am happy to get to do that. (No, I am not bored. On the contrary, I often feel I am sprinting through the day always with a nice long "to-do" list. )

In about January of this year my oldest son came to me and asked if we had a college fund set up for him. That was a tough conversation because it was January of his senior year and we did not have a college fund set up for him. There just was never "extra". 

What did I do next? I prayed. I asked. I was specific. I asked God to provide the tuition money for the college he wanted our son to go to. I prayed it would be debt free. I prayed my son wouldn't have to get a job but could focus on school. I asked expecting a reply. I didn't know if it would be a "yes" or a "no." I knew if God wanted my son to attend college he would provide but I didn't know how. It may be a totally different way than the one I was praying for. Maybe my son would have to get a job. Maybe we would have to make payments. I also told God that any money from that moment on above our normal paycheck would go to college tuition (My husband in agreement of course! and we agreed to tithe it first). 

I didn't ask my son to choose a college we could afford. I asked him to list what he wanted in a college. I asked him to pray and seek out colleges and narrow down his search to the ones that had the best chances of giving him what he wanted. (We did have the boundary that if he left the area, it had to be a Christian school. If he attended a secular school we wanted him to live at home.) 

Once he got his short list I asked him to walk towards them and see what God would do. We asked around. We planned visits and appointments. 

What happened next blew my mind. Within 3 months of that "college fund discussion" God gave us a bigger lump of money than we had ever had at one time. It went into an account for college. It wasn't enough for the bigger colleges, might be enough for the smaller one. But we didn't make a big deal about the particular amount because who knew what else God might do, but just kept walking forward (all the while praising God!!). 

He visited the last of the 3 colleges on the list. He and his dad met with an administrator who gave them a ballpark figure to work toward for tuition, books, and food. One year was the EXACT amount God gave us!! At the moment I thought, "God, I bet that's the one You chose" but I kept quiet (well my husband and I talked but I kept quiet to my son)...

My son came home and after all visits told us the 3rd option seemed like the one for him. It was a very friendly place. The people were outgoing. It was Christ centered with a missional emphasis. He loved the area, the *feel* of it while he was there. I questioned and questioned him, but he truly believed this was where God wanted him. Blissful confirmation...

And he's there, and he loves it. God provided. Hallelujah!!

We'll take it year by year through prayer. I share this story for a few reasons (besides it being a memorial stone for me on God's provision and his direct leading of my child). You know, sometimes we don't do things the way the experts tell us to do them. But God is not bound by experts. We're trying. God has a plan. He has lessons to teach us. Next year he might have a different lesson to teach us. Sometimes he teaches us to work through a problem slowly, working hard and seeing what can be done that way. Other times he wants to show us that nothing is too difficult for him and he just drops the solution on us. Sometimes we get it all wrong and do it all wrong, yet his mercy and grace provides anyway. 

The point is, God is in control. For the willing soul, his plan will not be thwarted. He has my son right where he wanted him. He provided for him to be there. He agreed that my son should not work this year. 

We are grateful!!  Our lives are in his hands to do with as he wishes. Never give up. Always ask him, always seek him. Free fall into his mighty, capable hands. You'll not ever regret it.

"If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself." 2 Timothy 2:13

"Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify
against you: I am God, your God, I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:7-15

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