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. 

 
There are many circumstances that FAFSA does not consider.  My husband is paid component based pay, which means he is not paid the same amount year to year.  His pay varies each and every week.  He is paid based upon the success of the industry in which he works.  He is paid based upon the miles he drives to deliver the products, how many cases they have sold and he delivers to the businesses.  Therefore, we cannot predict how much he will make this year.  He could very well make less this year than he did last year.
 
Our family has expenses that are not tax deductible.  We were called to homeschool our four children, which costs us thousands of dollars each year in curriculum, lessons in the arts, life experiences, and extracurricular activities.  We pay taxes to a school district we don’t use.  We don’t mind paying these taxes, because we feel like we are giving support to the community around us.  However, we feel we have been penalized for homeschooling.  FAFSA doesn’t consider this information on their forms. 
 
We are a one income family.  I, as the mother, do not stay home from work as a luxury.  I don’t stay home because I can “afford” to financially.  I stay home because I cannot afford to sacrifice the educational and spiritual well being of my children.  Staying home is a necessity in this day in time, but it is also a call from God.  We have had to sacrifice in order for me to stay home to raise and homeschool our children.  However, from 1998 until 2012 I was working full time at home.  I had to close my business because of advances in technology and lack of work.  Even now, I try to do small things to earn extra money for our family.  I just don’t have a regular paying job at this time.  

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.  

Our daughter is a leader and volunteer in our community.  Rather than working for income, she devotes her time to her education, serving her community and her family.  Had she chosen to work after school instead of volunteer, our community would have suffered.  It is my belief that she would have suffered as well.  She has benefited more from volunteering than she ever could have by working.  This experience is priceless and much needed in today’s society.  Our daughter has a heart for people.  She has dedicated her life to God and serving others, teaching youth, which will greatly impact the community now and in the future.   We have issued an appeal to FAFSA asking them to consider this information, but we doubt our family circumstances will be considered. 
 
We are extremely honored and appreciative of the scholarship money she has been awarded from our state and the university.  We feel it is a gift from The Lord.  We appreciate the loans offered, but we would prefer that she not go into debt.  We are still a great deal short for her fall tuition.  In order for her to attend school in the fall, we may have to incur great expense that will put the rest of our family in a dangerous situation financially.  We still have three children to raise and homeschool.  We are doing our best to simply trust The Lord. 
 
In today’s society, it would be easy for my husband and family to be lazy and go on government assistance.  It would be easy for me to throw my children into public school and daycare to be raised by strangers while I go back to a career just so we could have a certain lifestyle.  However, we haven’t chosen the easy road.  We have chosen the road less traveled, that narrow path of which Jesus speaks.  Our government doesn’t see it that way.  In fact, this is just another plot of the enemy to attack families.  He tells us we can’t homeschool our children.  He feeds us doubt in staying home with them and raising them.  He doesn’t want success for Godly families because that means success for The Lord.  
 
Thank you for lending a caring and compassionate ear.  I guess this post isn’t really motivational, but perhaps it will open some eyes to the distorted system so we can affect some change.  Moms, I encourage you to continue to follow The Lord with the futures of your children.  Don’t listen to the lies.  Keep listening to The Lord for He is faithful.  Continue to pour into them, putting their needs above your own.  Keep swimming against that current of social norm.  Do all you can to follow His call, and let Him take care of the rest.  We trust He’s going to help in our situation as well.  He always keeps His promises!
 
Mandy
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4 thoughts on “Meaningful Motivational Monday – My Baby is Graduating

  1. You are correct about the untruth of 'all the unused scholarships'. I feel your pain. So many of those are for select groups that we don't fall in to. My son blogged about that recently. https://jessechildressn.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/four-reasons-i-hate-applying-for-scholarships-and-one-reason-i-keep-doing-it/

    I imagine your daughter had similar feelings. Have you asked Financial Aid if Work Study is available? It has always surprised me what FAFSA thinks our EFC should be with 2 or more children in college. It is unreal! Also, it doesn't hurt to check back after May 1 and ask the college/department if there are any more scholarships available. Sometimes scholarships are not accepted, and after National Decision Day, the college can give them to somebody else.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the words of wisdom. I'll be sure to keep all of that in mind. She hoping to get a job on campus, but that isn't guaranteed so we'll just have to wait and see. Thanks again!

  3. My baby (the oldest of 9) is graduating next month. If the Lord has college planned for your daughter He will make it available. Going into debt for a degree in youth ministry is probably not God's plan for your daughter. My daughter volunteers at a nursing home and the local museum, is a leader of a Bright Lights group, works 26 hours a week at Culver's for $9 an hour, and still gets her schoolwork done. She has decided to be a stay-at-home daughter. Next week is her last week at Culver's. She sews, so she'll pick up those jobs as they become available, she sells Lilla Rose locally, and she will help homeschool the younger children next year by teaching them art and music (although she won't get paid for that). Have you read Chucking College? It's a good read. It isn't easy doing things contrary to the world. My daughter and I both struggle when people ask what she's going to do after graduation because the world doesn't value what she will be doing. She earned a 28 on her ACT and was eligible for our local college's Honors program, but we felt the Lord wanted better for her. May the Lord open doors for you and make it clear where your daughter's path lies next.

  4. Hi, Christine! You're daughter sounds like mine, always helping and serving others, such a blessing! Thank you so very much for your words of wisdom and encouragement and for stopping by! God bless you!

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