Once again, we've been blown away by God's goodness and provision.
Over the last several months, God has been teaching Anna about trusting Him as she submits to His plans for her life.
She had to trust Him to raise nearly $6,000 in just a few months for her mission trip to Africa. And she had to trust Him to get her to college.
For years, once our family grew beyond two children, we started being asked how in the world we were going to afford to send that many kids to college. We simply answered that we weren't going to afford to send that many kids to college. We expected them to work hard, earn scholarships, and trust God to provide a way for them to go to college if that's what He wanted for their lives.
As Anna approached the end of her homeschool years, we spent a lot of time praying, seeking God's will, researching college and scholarship options, preparing her academically, and also encouraging her to work a job so she'd start providing in part for her financial expenses.
God led her to a college perfectly suited for her vocational goals, she scored really well on her ACT, and this spring, she was awarded a full-paid scholarship. Her college of choice, HOLY CROSS in New Orleans, is a private college so the scholarship was a nice one but as there are no dorms, she would be expected to find her own housing, cook her own meals, etc. The scholarship would only cover tuition plus a small meal plan.
I'll be perfectly honest, we don't have the money needed to just pay all her expenses. We've got six other kids, we are in the process of selling our home (which costs a lot more than I ever realized), we've got medical bills and moving costs, and all the other things add up to mean that other than helping pay her first month's rent and basic set-up costs, we just don't have any leftover to pay for month after month of living.
But we kept telling her to trust God to provide. She's hoping to get a work-study job but even if she gets one, the first check won't come in til sometime in September. And praise God, she did qualify for some pell grant money, but again, that won't kick in til mid-September. In the meantime, she's got groceries to buy and a truck that needs gas and all the other things that require money.
We drove away on Sunday and almost emptied out our checking account to leave her with a bit of cash. It was something, but not much. Ultimately, God was going to have to be her source. Yes, He had used us and graduation gifts from friends to provide, but now it really was going to have to come from other avenues. She wasn't stressing, but she also knew that things were really, really tight and an emergency, such as an unexpected truck repair, would break her.
After we left Sunday morning, she and Chandler --- her sweet friend who is staying a few days with her --- started going thru more of her boxes. She came across a bunch of old mail and as she sorted it, she found an unopened letter. When she opened it, there was a check for over a thousand dollars! It was a refund check. It had been mailed to her quite a while back but she'd never opened it for some reason. I guess she thought it was junk mail or it got lost in the shuffle or maybe God just blinded her from seeing it, knowing that it was going to be needed right now.
Whatever happened, she found it now and the timing was perfect.
Here she is, starting her life as an adult in her own home, and on her very first weekend of this new life, God gives her a big lesson on trusting Him.
Because you see, we should work hard and do what we can to live wisely, but ultimately, He is our provider. Every good and perfect thing comes from Him. And He has told us that if He calls us to something, that we need to trust Him to provide.
Anna's learning lessons now that are going to serve her well in the years to come. He's got a call on her life that is going to be at times dangerous and come with a high price. She's going to be walking a hard path in many places and will only be able to succeed by completely leaning on Him. The tasks she'll face are ones that require resources beyond her means. Only God is going to be able to provide what she'll need on this crazy but beautiful journey. And He's teaching her now that He is not only capable, but willing.
Thank you, God, for loving us enough to call us, use us, equip us, and make the way not just possible, but incredible.