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A timeline update

I sat down to examine our finances about two weeks ago, and as I started considering where our savings accounts are at now, how much we’re putting away monthly, and how much we will be able to put away in the future, I started wondering whether August makes the most sense for us to start at SEBTS.

The short answer, on financial terms alone, is no. Not because we couldn’t afford it then, but because we can afford it so much better if we wait and start in the spring semester. God willing, we should be able to put aside somewhere around an extra $12k just by waiting those 5 months (and that’s estimating high on baby costs, ignoring May, June and July, and accounting for the cost of my buying a new, very pricey computer sometime late spring or early summer).

Seeing as that’s over half the cost of seminary, that was a pretty strong prompt to reconsider a bit. With my working full time over summers, we should only have to deal with living expenses during the semesters. Obviously that will take quite a load off of us financially, and that diminished load will translate directly into lower stress for each of us and for our marriage. Good things all around.

Upon realizing all of that, I started going back to a number of other concerns I had regarding the timing – most especially, including the difficulty for Jaimie especially when stacking so many significant transitions atop each other. If we stay through December, Jaimie will have 7 months to transition to being a mommy before we leave behind our existing friends and support network. She’ll also be much nearer her family for a little while longer. Both are important.

As a small but significant point, it also means Wildwood Community Church won’t be left without a pianist for 2 to 3 months (our other regular pianist is in Florida from April through October). That might not be a very big deal to most people; but we are not most people, as you’re well aware. Our membership matters, and continuing to serve is a good thing. We’ll probably be able to continue leading our small group through that time as well.

To my bemusement, the reaction of every single Wildwood-er we’ve informed has been the same: unbridled initial excitement, tempered after a moment by the recognition that it’s hard for me to wait the extra time. That’s been encouraging – to know that we are so loved and appreciated that people have real, immediate joy at the thought that we’ll be around longer is incredibly encouraging.

I know Jaimie is very excited to have the extra time near friends, and to be relatively close to her family for a few more months. For my part, the fact that we will be far away from our friends the Kings for a much shorter time is a plus, as well. No doubt having greater financial stability will make things easier on our family; financial stress on top of the emotional challenges of finding a new church and new friends and adjusting to a new city would certainly not be easy.

The downsides… well, Oklahoma isn’t getting any prettier, cooler, or less windy; it’s certainly not going to see a sudden increase in driver intelligence; and my job remains (and likely will continue to be) a source of frustration. But God’s grace is greater.

So while I’m not particularly excited about this decision, it is definitely the right one. One of the joys of being an adult, and one of the responsibilities of being a godly husband and father, is making the decisions we don’t necessarily like because they are best, even when they are not fun. I trust that God will work good through our obedience. In the meantime, you can pray for me to endure well. The reality is that I am profoundly dissatisfied with my job, tired of my commute, and long since ready to live someplace beautiful again. God has called me to glorify him here in the midst of those challenges, and that really is my desire. So pray for me!

PS – only about two months left till Baby Girl arrives! So fun!


    • Can’t imagine why that would be. ;)

      (For others’ sake: I adapted and expanded this post from an email I wrote the Kings earlier in the week. It seemed a more sensible use of my time than rewriting the same information.)

      Offer a rejoinder↓
  • Ame thought to say:

    once that sweet baby is in your arms, much of the frustration will fade as you will realize how much you both need, but especially your beautiful wife, the support of family and friends. giving her space to adjust to the baby and hormones, share these precious, never-to-get-back days with family and dear friends, will be worth the frustration of the job and the landscape of oklahoma (which i totally agree w/you on). in the long run, though financially this is also a very sound decision, this will be what you will look back on and say, “that was worth it.”

    Offer a rejoinder↓
    • I’m confident that I will be even more aware that this is the right decision, then. The frustration? Well, suffice it to say I don’t think it’s going anywhere. But it will be worth the price paid in frustration to take care of my family.

      Offer a rejoinder↓
      • Ame thought to say:

        i think there is purpose in your frustration. ask God if He will reveal it to you. there is also a place within frustration where God can create peace – it is certainly a difficult place to find and then a difficult place in which to remain.

        Offer a rejoinder↓
        • I have no doubt of it. I see a few of those purposes, and others remain hidden from me – which is fine, that is as it often is in life. It doesn’t make the frustration any less; but I do trust Him that this is good for all of us, even if it doesn’t particularly feel enjoyable at the moment. Really and truly. :)

          Offer a rejoinder↓
          • Ame thought to say:

            i’m very glad you see and accept the truth that it doesn’t make the frustration any less, especially as you prepare for ministry. i hate the philosophy that is directly or indirectly seeped thru the christian culture that God should take away all frustration – or rather that if we were more godly, then our frustration would be gone – that it is indicative of how strong our relationship with Christ (little frustration; stronger relationship). no, He just doesn’t always take it away or minimize it. He does help us thru it … He does give us choices in it, but He often does not take it away. (as i get older i see how this makes me long for heaven more).

            i have believed that God “allows” (or however you choose to define it) frustration and anger and difficulty to see what we’ll do with it – will we choose Him or ourself or the world. that seems simple, but the more the frustration and anger and difficulty piles on, the longer it seems since we’ve had confirmation from God, the more challenging the thoughts in our mind.

          • Ugh. That’s an awful view; I’m with you. I can’t stand that – it’s just a prosperity gospel dressed up in more appealing (read: deceptive) attire. Peter makes it abundantly clear: anyone who seeks to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted. Jesus tells us we will have trouble in this world. I’m not sure how it gets clearer than that.

  • David Krycho thought to say:

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again.
    I’m very proud of you for being so forward thinking concerning your finances for the time in seminary.
    A question I’ve been meaning to ask is, with a new baby, you will also have need of money for well baby visits, and shots, and other things which can be expensive; will you have health insurance available through the seminary? Have you considered what the cost of that will be in addition?
    I remember when you were sick when you were little, it was very expensive for you to be in the hospital even for the few days. Something like that can empty your savings quickly. Just wondering…

    Offer a rejoinder↓
    • Thanks; I appreciate the affirmation. :)

      On insurance, it’s something I’ve been looking into. We’re probably going to use one of the Christian co-ops, which seem to be working really well for a number of self-employed people I know. Still doing early research on it, but they’ve come well-recommended, and they seem to be administered much more sensibly than most insurance companies. The way they work, the kinds of situations you describe should be taken care of. I expect more out-of-pocket expenses up front, but also much lower contribution rates, so it will balance out; it’s also something we’re taking into account as we plan budget-wise.

      Offer a rejoinder↓

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