My first baby is graduating in May. This is a picture of her preschool graduation cap. Soon she’ll be donning a black one. She won’t be wearing pigtails underneath this time. She’s grown into quite the young lady. I can’t even write about what a blessing she has been to me in this life and in the life of our family. I cry every time I think about it. She’s been called into youth ministry, and we are so very proud of her. This should be a joyful time for our family, and it is. It is bittersweet giving them back to their Heavenly Father after holding them for so long… We are anxious to see what He has in store for her life. But you know, where there is the joy of The Lord, the enemy is not far behind. He is lurking, just waiting to steal that joy.
In some ways, my oldest daughter’s senior year has been exasperating. The college application and financial aid process is overwhelming and discouraging. She has been accepted at two colleges at which she felt led to apply. She hastily chose one because she felt it made sense to her and to God for her to attend, but The Lord started really speaking to her about it. Multiple circumstances led her to question that decision. After more investigation, further thought and prayer and much agonizing, she chose the other university and has had such a peace and reassurance from The Lord about it.
Then started an excruciating journey: FINANCIAL AID. You hear about all of those scholarships that go unused each year. NOT TRUE! I have spent days researching scholarships. I have uncovered every leaf I possibly can. She doesn’t qualify for most of them, because she doesn’t have a physical or mental disability. She isn’t a minority. Our family doesn’t meet the income level requirement. She doesn’t work for a mainstream retail store or fast food chain that gifts their employees with scholarship money. Don’t get me wrong–I am grateful for scholarships for students who are at a disadvantage, but what about those whose disadvantage is not recognized by today’s worldly and carnal society?
We are very grateful that she has received merit scholarships from our state and the college she will be attending. However, it is only a small dent in the cost of tuition.Before you ask, yes-we have filed for FAFSA aid from the Federal government. This is where my aggravation comes into play. We applied for FAFSA aid early in January. We have become discouraged in this process and the response we received. She was not awarded a Pell Grant, only student loans. I know it is the way of the world to borrow money, but we had hoped she would not have to be saddled with debt when starting out in her adult life.
It was explained to us that our EFC (estimated family contribution) was just a small amount over what it needed to be to qualify for a Pell grant. It was also explained to us that if we were a two income household that we would have gotten a grant. If we were on government assistance we would have gotten a grant. If my daughter was working she would have gotten a grant. This is a very distorted way to award aid in my opinion.
From time to time I have posted affiliate links in this blog. I didn’t begin this blog for income. I do have an Amazon store. I also have an essential oils account. I used to have my store linked to this blog, but the essential oil company no longer allows it, so if you are interested in purchasing you can contact me directly. However, in the five or so years I have been attempting to encourage moms and spread the joy of The Lord through this blog, I have made a total of $8 so I don’t see it as a means of income. If the Lord blesses in that way, it would be great, but it is more of a ministry. The Proverbs 31 woman did all she could, but never to the detriment of her family. So I have had to get creative, making small streams of a few dollars a month that come in to help our family, like my accounts with Swagbucks and Clixsense. I have sold beauty products in the past, held yard sales, sold crafts. However, at this time I do not have a regular income. That’s okay. Obviously, God knows where my time is better spent…
We do not indulge in brand new vehicles, a large home, designer clothing, dining out, or lavish vacations. We have endured pay cuts and layoffs over the years. We have sacrificed on our own, have not used others to get ahead. We have lived in obedience to God’s call and even given money to others who needed it even when we didn’t have any ourselves. We know loads of families whose household income is more than ours. They have grandparents who contribute to their household by paying some of their monthly bills or gifting the grandchildren with lessons or seasonal wardrobes, etc. That is a blessing for some who truly appreciate it and don’t take advantage of it or expect it. We rejoice with those who don’t feel entitled to that help in those circumstances. We don’t have those circumstances on a regular basis. There have been a couple of times in our 21 years of marriage that we have received a generous gift, but basically we have done it all on our own with the exception of the help and faithfulness of God.
We have had to sacrifice in many areas, but it has been worth it. We have been able to dedicate quality time and instill values in our children that we would not have had the time to do if I was working. I know my children would not be who they are today had I not stayed home with them. It is very likely that my oldest daughter might not have felt called to go into ministry at all and her life goals could be much different. She would not have the servant’s heart that she has.