Was that anti-climatic? What were you expecting? : P
(Okay, did I really just make a little face with the tongue sticking out? I think that just happened...)
Anyways, moving on...I would really like your opinions and advice about some things we're stepping out in faith and doing. Chris has felt the call to go to seminary and do full-time ministry since he was 16. Me, on the other hand, well, my calling was a little different. I guess to get a better picture of how God has worked in this area of our lives, you'll probably need to read this post. It's pretty wordy, but it gives you a good idea of how long this has been in the making.
Chris has been accepted into a couple of seminaries since I last blogged about it in April of last year, and as of now we've made the decision to attend a seminary in St. Louis, MI. It is a HUGE step of faith. One that I can't believe we've actually made. And how it's coincided with sweet Hannah's arrival into lives... well, it's mind-boggling, but we know that God is writing a beautiful and perfect story in this. Even if, to us, it doesn't make sense or doesn't seem like the best timing. Hannah Mae will be about 3 months old when we move to St. Louis and start school.
So, here's where I'd like some advice. I never know who's reading here, so I don't know your backgrounds or your stories, but I'd love to hear from some of you who have attended seminary or graduate school with a wife and kids in tow. How did you do it?
I mean, seriously, I'm a practical kind of person. I like lists, and plans and excel spreadsheets...I like budgets and knowing exactly how much money we have and what our expenses are, down to the small coffee we had with friends one morning.
We have this amazing scholarship opportunity that would pay 100% of Chris' tuition. There is a (maybe small) chance he could be awarded this and honestly, I can't think of any other possibility than his receiving it (it overwhelms me to consider having to come up with $20,000).
What I'm more concerned about is how we'll pay our living expenses while in school. Chris is planning to get a part-time job and work 15-20 hours a week while in school, and there's a chance I could work at a daycare on campus a couple of days a week and bring Hannah Mae to work with me. I really can't imagine my finding a full-time job that would be worth putting Hannah Mae in daycare for... daycare (good daycare) is so expensive and I'd have to have a pretty good job to make it work. Honestly, I really want to stay home with my little girl.
We are considering a loan, but do you know what kind of income pastors make? Um, it's not much...and it seems unwise to take out a huge loan that we wouldn't be able to pay off for 15-20 years. I don't care that we won't be making tons of money after school. I never planned on having an extravagant lifestyle and really, I'm an easy to please kind of girl. I knew what kind of man I was marrying and I knew that he either wanted to be a minister of the Gospel or an artist. So, yeah, I didn't foresee keeping up with the Joneses in our future. Oh, and I was a Sociology/Child and Family Development major in college. Not exactly the fast track to a high powered, money making career.
Making money has never been a priority, but now all of the sudden, I'm thinking about it more and more. How will we take care of ourselves and Hannah Mae for the three years we're in seminary, without accruing huge amounts of debt that we won't be able to pay off?
I know that people do it. I know that there are several couples with families in seminary and they're able to manage it, but seriously, how?
I'd really love to hear some of your stories and advice. Anything helpful you learned from budgeting or making it work while in school?
And as always, could you pray with us as we continue forward in faith, knowing that God does not always call us to be comfortable, but that he walks with us in the lives he's called us to live.
And this is the part of the post where I step back, calm down and believe that this is God's leading in our lives. In order to be an effective minister of the Gospel, Chris needs this education and if God has called Chris and I to full-time ministry, then he will provide the way and the means.
He has always shown himself to be faithful and I need to rest in his promises.