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Old Dogs Do Learn
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Photo: Mark Barner
I wasn’t a very strict Mom. I had my rules, but if my kids played their cards right, they could often find a way around me.

I got so tired of asking my son to make his bed that I got him a sleeping bag. Somehow that didn’t seem as disorderly when it wasn’t made up. He also got out of having to take piano lessons – I couldn’t stand his whining.

I used to threaten my children that if they left their lunch or homework at home one more day that they would have to go without, but I always ended up bailing them out by delivering their books or lunch to school. And if they ran out of allowance, I was always good for a loan.

But on the topic of college, I was a rock. If it took them 10 years, they were going to finish. One of my daughter’s boyfriends described me as an over-achiever and he was probably right. I always felt like I had something to prove and blamed a lot of my insecurity on not finishing college.

At the time I was offered a M.R.S. in place of a B.S., I was thrilled. I hated school and was pretty awful at it. I think when I finished my third year at Columbia Union College, I may have had a whopping 2.0 grade point average. High school hadn’t been much better. Throughout the years since 1968, I had thought about finishing and had even taken a few college classes along the way. I loved the process of finding out more about a subject and actually retaining some of what I learned, but I didn’t finish my degree.

Then about three years ago, I got a bulk e-mail about online degrees and decided to give it a try. I found a college that would offer me something other than business and computers, a caring adviser helped get me a student loan(s), discovered I had enough credits to begin my junior year – and I was off. And I can’t describe how fantastic it felt.

My classwork consisted of a college course begun and completed every six weeks. I was considered a full-time student, all the while holding down a full-time job and taking some freelance writing jobs along the way, plus authoring a devotional with my daughter for 2006. It hasn’t been easy, but in one month, I graduate with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in English and Psychology and a GPA of 3.7. Its been expensive, time consuming and at times exhausting. Would I do it again? You bet. My sense of accomplishment is at an all-time high.

Still Growing

Now that I’ve proved I can learn, have my insecurities vanished? Mostly yes, but that had nothing to do with GPA or degrees or the amount of my student loans, it had to do with coming to terms with what makes me worth anything. It’s God’s love and it’s always been there waiting for me to recognize its power. The following verse, with some added personalization, sums it up for me, and it didn’t take a college degree to understand it. "Nothing can ever separate me from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. My fears for today, my worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether I am high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus my Lord" (Romans 8:38).

So, don’t give up on your dreams. Fulfilling them can give you a lot of pleasure and don’t worry about being too old to start. At 58, I figure I’ll die before I pay off my student loans. So keep achieving, but do it because it pleases you. And if it pleases you, you know that the One who will never let you be separated from His love will also be pleased.

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By Dee Litton Reed. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from  the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION©.


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