Yesterday was G-R-E-A-T (as Tony the Tiger would say)!! I had a good morning all around, but when the mail came, I was blessed to receive two pieces of mail from Mercy College. The first was my official acceptance letter (hooray!); and the second, was my financial aid package. I was overjoyed to qualify for financial aid, and now have accepted this provision. I will receive full tuition paid for the next year (PTL!)
I have never accepted aid before, at the least not for school expenses. I was blessed to have attended Junior College at a time when the costs were incredibly low (my first semester cost me $80 total). When I went back to our state University for my Bachelor's, the first semester cost was around $300 (upped to $900, two-and one-half years later). Still pennies compared to what schools cost today. I was able to swing the cost with help from my parents (initially), and then later through working and being married.
This time around, graduate school runs about $750 a credit unit (for a three credit class, that comes out to be about $2250 a class). My total costs for a Masters program will be close to $20K. I priced schools out before applying and know that some are a little less and some a little more than this amount; but they tend to average right around this mark (Bible programs often are around $500 a unit). Still, with the economy in such a bad way, the thought of taking on such a major expense is daunting. However, when unemployed as I am and have been, the thought of getting a job -- no matter the cost -- well, it seems to lean towards taking the risk and going back to school. Most of the jobs I am seeking expect a Master's degree or higher (Ph.D.), and since this is the game I want to play in, I have to have the credentials to be considered.
I am thanking the Lord for His provision. He told me not to worry about paying for school when I first applied. I believed Him, but couldn't imagine how it would all work out. My advisor back in school told me the same thing once: "Carol, never worry about the cost of going to graduate school. There ALWAYS is a way to pay the bill." She was right, of course, but I just couldn't contemplate that thought back then. Now, my mind is different, and my relationship with the Lord is rock-solid. I trust Him, and believe that His Word is true. He is faithful to provide what He has promised to me. I can rely on Him, and have confidence that if something is His Will, then it will be. I have learned that He is true to Himself, and that He always keeps His Word to me.
Now, I am over the moon, so to speak, and excited for September to arrive. I will be taking two classes: Major Authors (Chaucer); and Reason and Imagination (18th Century Literature). These will be challenging courses, no doubt; but I am up for that challenge, and cannot wait to get into this program and get going (finally -- after 17 years -- finally working towards a Masters degree!! PTL!!)
Some Other Thoughts
I couldn't help but think about the other promises the Lord made to me -- especially after thanking Him profusely for this provision. One of the things the Lord promised me was that the changes He planned in my life would come in a specific order. I remember thinking how practical He was, how orderly (is that not the case, though -- after all -- He IS the God of the Ordered Universe! PTL!!) I mean, I am all about lists and making lists. I love to make lists, and I make one almost every single day. I keep check lists of things in my purse, even old lists, marked and wrinkled (too lazy to throw them away!) LOL! But this list is different, it is not a grocery or Walmart list. No, this list is the list that will eventually define my life. This is the list that tells me step by step what to do, where to go, and when to do it. Furthermore, this list is the list that provides me with the comfort and confidence to know that God's will is working in my life. This check list is a reminder that He is faithful and that He always finishes what He begins. He is Good like that -- to never leave loose ends.
Item One on my grand list was to get accepted to Mercy College. This included all the little details that go along with being accepted. I was accepted last week, and then this week received my confirmation that my schooling would be paid. Hooray -- check that little puppy off the list!!
Item Two is the long awaited JOB. It includes receiving THE CALL, and then going through the interview process. It ends with being hired!!
Item Three is moving or relocating for SAID JOB. The job I believe the Lord is calling me to do is not here in Phoenix, so there will be a move involved. This item has many sub items, but they are all dependent on THE JOB, and then on the company, their timing, and moving expenses. Lots of little things here -- including getting myself prepared now -- and also doing the due diligence of preparation for relocation (like finding a new place to live, scoping the scene out and making sure everything is covered).
I actually have been working on item three for about six months. Ever since the Lord put that ditty on my heart, I have been in the process of doing the diligence work. I have literally driven through the town I will live in (thanks to Google Maps), looked at a zillion homes, checked schools, grocery stores, banks, libraries, gas stations -- you name it -- I have visited or looked over and considered every aspect of said town. Modern techonology -- you just gotta love it!
The Lord knows me well, and He knows that I NEED TO KNOW certain things before I can do what He wants of me. I needed to see this town, I needed to visit it (in person yes, but virtually first). He wanted me to know what kind of place it was, and He wanted to show me that it had everything I could possibly need (like a hospital, and Walmart and Target). He knows me so well, and knows that certain "comforts" make it easier for me to consider "going". I cannot tell you how I felt when I scanned this place out. It truly is a PERFECT FIT FOR ME. Of all the places I might choose to live, this one has it all. There is nothing missing, nothing lacking -- it is perfectly situated near a major city, yet far enough away to be homey and friendly. All the necessities are there, and the town itself is rather small (my preference). Truly, I could not have picked this place out for myself -- and therefore -- I know it is totally, 100% of the Lord. He is so GOOD to me in that way, considering my needs so carefully, and then providing not just a good place, but a great place (the BEST Place).
So here I am, with list in hand (er, on the computer), and I am watching as the Lord ticks off these items for me. They are of His Hand, so He is the One who is doing the providing for them. I am simply holding this list, and watching as He does what He does best -- Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will see to it; the Lord will Provide). He truly is my Provision -- and His Provision is the only provision I seek now. I want nothing EXCEPT what His Hand provides. I have learned that the Best comes from God; second best from man. There is nothing wrong with second best, and often it can be pretty good. BUT, the very best, the highest and most good ONLY comes from Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord G0d Himself, and I have determined that it is His Best that I want, nothing else and nothing less.