We have been debt free our entire marriage — even before that, actually — save for some small personal loans from family that have been paid off / forgiven / are almost paid off. Now we’ve made the decision to enter into some serious, serious debt, and it is the best thing we could possibly do for our little family.
Husband has been in school for a, uh, really long time. It’s taken so long because he, of course, has to work full time, and with a family, that really only leaves room to take (online) classes part time without dying. Except he has been dying.
This is what our life has looked like:
Husband works 8 to 5, does homework from 5:30 to 10, goes to sleep (dead).
I single-parent from when E wakes up at 7 until he goes to bed at 8, then read books or blogs, then go to sleep (also dead).
The end. The WORST.
The fact is that if we continue with this life, Brandon will graduate in 200 years and miss every important moment in his sons’ lives and I’ll shrink to invisibility. He will have a degree but will not have a relationship with his family. Yes, Pell grants have covered all his tuition. But is it really financially responsible to remain debt free but want to kill yourself? I’m being dramatic but I’m also being serious.
We’ve prayed and thought and searched and then prayed harder for a solution to this. Brandon’s heart has always been to teach, and more recently it has been to teach the Bible, so we started looking into Arizona Christian University. It is the world’s smallest school (<– probably not an accurate fact) but almost 100% of their alumni are successfully doing what they went to school to do. Many of the professors also teach at Phoenix and Fuller Seminary or do important political, church, and activist stuff. Basically, it’s Brandon’s dream school. He wasn’t confident in applying because his GPA is less than lustrous (being dead will do that to you), but after meeting with an advisor there and praying endlessly, he couldn’t shake the duty he felt to try, at least. We also had no idea how we were going to afford it, and life, but God does crazy stuff. So we went for it.
He applied on a Monday and was accepted that Thursday.
Praise, praise, praise God.
We flirted with the idea of Brandon working part time while going to ACU full time, just to keep that door open and to keep some earned money coming in, but have felt sincerely convicted that that isn’t how we’re supposed to do this. It would be the same life, only flipped — school full time, work part time, sleep, death. So we, my friends, will be living entirely off of debt. And you know what? I look at the five, potentially six figures we will owe the government and the bank and I smile. I welcome it. My family will be whole. My marriage will be whole. I’ll have my best friend back and he’ll be pursuing his dream and then he’ll be living it, which means we’ll all be living it, and how could we not have joy at that? I’ll tie pretty ribbons and thank-you notes around the money we pay back. After all, it is impermanent, fleeting, gone in a second, but my people, my men, our families and our community — they are forever, so we choose to invest in them.
It will be worth it to have Brandon doing what he wants in two years instead of 200. It will be worth it to be making a real living instead of a retail living. It will be worth it to have dinner together again.
It will be worth it.