For the past three months, my focus has been to find the answer to one question: Which seminary will my formation take place at? Answer: Virginia Theological Seminary. Done. Right? Nope.
One answer has cleared the way for what seems like a thousand other questions to take its place.
- Question: What is my actual cost of attendance?
- Answer: $54,563 per nine-month school year.
- Question: How much financial aid will the school provide?
- Answer: $27,000.
- Question: How much financial aid will the diocese provide?
- Answer: Answer: $7,500.
- Question: Should I rent or sell my house?
- Answer: Yes.
- Question: Will I bring my cat Jack?
- Answer: If I can afford to, I’d like to.
All of these questions and so many more have swirled through my head recently. It’s amazing that once one question was answered another one (or ten) filled its spot. However, whether it’s seminary or life in general, that seems to always be the case. In our daily lives we are always on the lookout for answers to our questions. Truth is, answers always make way for more questions.
$54,563. That’s a big number. However, it is just a number and it holds no real authority over me. It cannot, on its own, grip me with fear and doubt. I could allow it to. I could choose to think about all the things it doesn’t include. For instance, it doesn’t include the other three months of the year that will require food, housing (VA apartment rental: $1700/month!), and medical insurance. It doesn’t include anything for my Sheboygan house if it isn’t rented out or sold. It doesn’t include the additional $25 per month if I bring Jack with me instead of finding a new family to adopt him. Plus, let’s not forget, I’ll be unemployed for the next three years! However, I choose not to allow the number to frighten me. I can, because we have an amazing God!
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” I love that! He tells me not to go borrowing trouble because I have today to worry about. First things first. Don’t start worrying about next summer’s living expenses when there’s much that needs my attention before next summer even comes along! However, this is the kind of thing we tend to do. Often, we’d prefer to have the whole picture laid out before us before we make decisions. There are moments though where we must simply drop our nets. God calls to each of us. Each request is different. However, there is one element that is true is every case: God equips us.
I thank God for my visit to Nashotah. God reminded me there, during a financial presentation, that for the past fifteen years, part of my job has been to teach others how to raise funds and to be good stewards of the funds they are entrusted with. God has been providing me with tools for this journey all along! Each time I’ve worked to help others fundraise or find and write grants, He’s been preparing me. Now, those tools will be applied in new ways to find funding for others and for me.
The process of shrinking the “big number” has begun. Scholarships applications are in the mail. Shortly, I’ll begin reaching out to ask for assistance to prepare individuals for ministry. I purposely say “individuals” because as I raise funds, if what I raise is greater than $54,563, my grant will be reduced and will be made available to those who may have a greater need. I love the idea that what I do, by applying for scholarships and reaching out to others, may also help someone else! I love the idea of building partners in ministry! PLUS, I can trust that God will bless this work because, if it is for His purpose, it will be. AND, I’m not alone on this journey. You are with me. Thanks be to God!
As always, your prayers are coveted. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.
By His love,