August 25, 2020

This Feels Impossible

The months of August and September always remind me of preparing for going back to school.

This year, as students and parents get ready for the new school year, there is a heightened sense of excitement due to the abrupt end of the school year during the spring semester.

Years ago, when I was a young parent of school-aged children, the looming thought of registration day always caused significant financial stress. As parents, we were determined our children would have a Christian education. We were of simple means so the thought of having the registration fee and one-month tuition in advance, not to mention the back-to-school clothes and supplies, would leave us unsure of how we could financially accomplish it all. It felt impossible. To this day, I cannot tell you exactly where the necessary funds came from year after year. 

It was a blend of carefully reviewing our finances, sacrificing the desire for certain needs and the latest accessories; the most important tool was a lot of prayer and faith.  Somehow each year we survived, and our daughters thrived. They received an Adventist education that prepared them for their futures with a Christ-centered foundation.

 If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, I encourage you to be willing to work to have the faith that God will provide for all your needs. Surrender all you have to His glory and His purpose. Philippians 4:19 reads, And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

After my daughters completed their K‒12 school years, I had the privilege of serving at Andrews University as associate director of Student Financial Services for 11 years. In that role, I was able to bring into play for many incoming college students and their parents the same principles I had previously learned and used. Each year the students and parents may change but the one constant was a sincere desire to receive an Adventist education. Many of them were under stress as they didn’t know how they were going to accomplish their goal with limited finances. I would guide them through the maze of financial aid. My desire was to be a calming tour guide to assist them and provide them with the financial tools they would need to complete their degree. I would always encourage students to work at summer camp or in publishing ministry as this would provide them a matching scholarship. Amazingly, it would be just the amount needed to bridge the financial gap.

If I am being truthful, there were some cases that I didn’t know how we could achieve the needed funds. But, with a blend of faith and determination, God would bring all the necessary funds together at just the right time. In the past few weeks, I have been blessed to encounter a few of the students I had accompanied on their financial journey. Each one recalled how there were times during that process they did not know how they were going to be able to overcome the financial obstacles. Today, they have all become successful professionals, receiving a degree they didn’t think was possible. It reminds me again, But with God all things are possible!

Vicki Thompson is assistant treasurer and assistant HR director for the Lake Union Conference.