When you grow up on Welfare without Christ, you begin to form your own semblances of what success must be. And I decided that a sure way of avoiding poverty and addiction to drugs and alcohol was a higher education. I had never seen a June Cleaver English teacher being hauled away to jail. I had never seen a 5th Circuit Judge with a red alcoholic nose, dark circles under his eyes, starving on the street. And so in my small street-smart world, I began to assume that education was the key to success. Yes, I now know that even highly educated people commit horrific crimes and become addicted to alcohol and drugs, although they don’t set out to do it - but I’m speaking from a child’s viewpoint of the world. Children usually take bits and pieces, visions and memories, and the smallest of comments, and they begin to make connections as to what the world is really all about. Their views of the world and what they see can be small and quite insignificant. More so, however, I believe children take the smallest bit of information and let it begin to stand for a monumental definition as to who they are in the world.
Take my life for example. I had a best friend when I was a child. Her dad was an upstanding businessman. He probably had a 4 or 6-year degree in business management of some kind. He wore a tie every day, and brought me and his two daughters to his office every now and then on our way out of town before we headed to their cabin on a small lake in Washington State. He was home every night around six, paid us to stack winter wood, took us running with him and even entered us in small city races. He paid for his daughters’ piano lessons, went to their softball games, took us to the neighborhood pool, grilled out, and helped with dishes after dinner. I didn’t have a dad (I don’t count any of my stepfathers as “real” dads, just pretend fathers who liked to step on the hearts of children, i.e., – that was my definition of a “step-father”, and my childhood friend’s father came to represent my definition of an actual real dad.) And so, to get back to my point, because of what I saw in their father, I decided that their dad’s college education helped make him a good dad.
Their mom was a teacher. She taught special education. She was wonderfully nice, and she was a good runner, ate healthy food, she was as kind as Snow White, and she loved their dad. And since she was educated too, I decided that her college education also helped make her a good person. Nobody in my family (except my uncle, a Marine who served in Vietnam, who I saw on holidays) was educated. I decided that the difference between Welfare and jail, and fair-ing well, was a college education.
I also decided at the age of 7 that I would be a runner. I saved up my wood stacking money and bought my first pair of running shoes soon thereafter, and I ran all the time with my friend and her family. I had already decided at an early age that I would go to college, but, when you only have occasional weekends with the Cleavers (an ideal family from a 50’s T.V. show), and all the rest of your time is spent in your usual survival of the fittest environment, it’s kind of hard to remember all this stuff as you grow up and go out on your own. Fortunately for me, I ran into a couple more Cleaver families as I was growing up, and even though, as a young adult, I scrambled the sequence of life like eggs and expected to get an omelet, the things that I observed with fondness, and the fact that I came to know Jesus and God’s grace, eventually got me to the same Cleaver standpoint. I just took a longer route, but thank God He got me there!
There are always consequences to our decisions. The consequences of enlisting in the Air Force and getting married at the young age of 18 are many as you might well imagine, but the blessings that God has chosen to rain down upon me are countless, I assure you. I’m not saying that scrambling the correct sequence of God, college, marriage, kids, and “Cleaver-ness” is advisable by any means, but I am saying that if you do happen to do what I’ve done, God has the means and the know-how to work it all out for your good, regardless of you and all the circumstances you think you messed up or couldn’t control even if you tried. It also took me a couple of years and a lot of hard lessons to unlearn what I taught myself earlier in my life. I thought that college was the answer; God showed me that He was the answer. Once I understood that God was the answer, I asked Him about college…. And, after a couple more tests, and a couple more grading curves, my Heavenly Dad said, “Yes” to college and provided the means.
I THOUGHT I KNEW IT ALL
I thought I knew it all
But then I heard
And I stopped and questioned my outline
even though I made everything
My roman numerals and small a’s
b’s and c’s
appeared neat but were in fact
And so I asked my Dad
And my Heavenly Father said
Let’s take this number II
and put it first
My number II was God
My number I was me
It seemed my sequence was out of order
The problem I could now see
I had my outline scrambled
Scrambled like an egg
But I gave it to my Dad
And this is what He did say
So you’ve taken life’s sequence
I see you’ve outlined it all so-so
But if you’re willing I’ll fix it
I know a better way to go
You see, your number two is Me
Your number one is you
And it’s quite simple child
To rearrange them
If you want to
Your outline will be in order
And then you can begin to write
Your teachers will all think
You are extremely bright
You see the thing about knowledge is
You must first get understanding
And then the pressures of an outline
Seems much less demanding
So take it from Me
Your sequence now looks fine
And if your teachers question your homework
Have them call your Dad
For you are a child of Mine
Warrior Moms, may you recognize that no matter how much you know or you don’t know, knowing God more and more each day is the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.