Monday, September 2, 2013

And then there were six.

At 5:10 this morning, I watched my husband's truck pull out of the driveway, laden with multiple suitcases, boxes, bags stuffed to the brim, a huge basket of goodies, my husband, two giggling high school girls, and one rather terrified but determined college-bound young lady.  I've been praying for and dreading this moment for nearly nineteen years!  Amanda is ready to turn this page and begin this new chapter in her life---she has prepared well through school; she has worked hard to earn the money needed to walk on campus and pay her first payment; she has given her heart to the Lord and is willing to do whatever He asks.  This is her moment of triumph, her destiny (if that phrase isn't too trite), her future.  Once she sets foot on the campus of Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, CA, receives her dorm assignment, and settles in, she'll do great.  Right now though, she is nearly scared stiff!

Amanda is my oldest but not necessarily my most independent child.  She is the only one who couldn't go to sleepovers when she was younger without getting so homesick she would throw up and have to be brought home again. She is very independent on the outside but very much a homebody on the inside.  It took her a long time to even be willing to make the decision to move away from home; now she's going to be responsible for herself completely.  She has to get a job right away in order to work her way through college.  She has to plan her class schedule, her work schedule, her shopping schedule, and her ministry schedule.........not to mention finding time to eat!  (She seriously thinks she'll starve to death in the first month because she won't have any time or money to eat!!)  With each of her concerns, I've tried to alleviate the stress by assuring her it will all work out and God will take care of her, but that is something she will have to discover for herself.  I have no doubt God will provide her with a good job, caring roommates, loving friends, and helpful teachers who will guide her through these next few years.  She'll get to come home for Christmas and summer (I hope!), and each time we'll see her change more and more into the beautiful young adult God desires her to be.  I'm going to miss her so much I literally can't even think about it without crying.  God bless my Amanda Rae.

It's a very good thing we have a day off school today!  I have the luxury of staying home, sitting on the couch, and crying any time I feel like it.  And I've felt like it on average about every four minutes!  You'd think no one else in the history of the world has ever had to send their firstborn off to college, right?  The ladies at church last night were giving me hugs and assuring me they knew exactly how I felt and that it would be all right eventually.  The men were joking about how glad I should be to "get one out of the house", but they too know how Chad and I feel.  Chad gets to drive Amanda, along with Katie and their friend Samantha, down to college, but he doesn't get to stick around for a few days and help her settle in.  They get to stay for a few hours on Tuesday morning and then begin the 16-hour journey home, stopping somewhere to stay Tuesday night and arriving home on Wednesday in time for Chad to get some sleep before getting up to work a Wednesday night shift!  I'm glad Katie got to go with them; she's going to miss her older sister/best friend more than even I know.  And Samantha is friends with both of them and will keep everyone laughing on the way down (relieving stress) while comforting Katie on the way home.  It's actually best for me not to go; I have to teach anyway on Tuesday (my boss kind of expects me to be there), and I don't know if I could handle moving Mandie into her dorm room and then walking away.  I do know that I would be a definite wet blanket the entire way home, tears streaming down my face and breathing through my mouth because my nose would be stopped up and winding up with the mother of all migraines brought on by my own misery.  At least at home, I have three other children to distract me and demand my attention.  Who knew I'd be thankful for more kids?!

God has proven His ability and desire to care for us in so many ways of late.  We, being human, tend to see material gain or financial benefits as the only proof positive of God's loving care, but God knows that about us and sends us such proof occasionally just because He loves us.  Amanda has been in near-constant communication with her contact at college, receiving information about dorm life, the job fair, and financial status.  We had checked online earlier this summer to see how much she needed to walk on campus and found the amount to be about $950.  With the $100/month scholarship she received after graduation, Amanda had just enough saved up.  Then, just a week ago, Amanda received an email with her expenses broken down by category; unfortunately the bottom line read about $200 more than she had anticipated.  This nearly sent her into a tailspin, worrying that they would turn her away at the door for not having enough money to make that full first payment.  (God's hand of providence in three, two, one.......)  Last night at church, people gave her hugs and handed her notes of encouragement.  Tucked inside the envelopes were twenties and a couple of fifties!  This, along with her final paycheck from one of her cleaning jobs, totaled $205.  Praise the Lord!!!  Once again, He gives just what we need just when we need it.  Aaaaaaannnnndd, at church last night we were handed a letter that was addressed to The Ostrander Family but sent to the church address.  Inside was a sweet note from someone in the area named Sharon who thanked us for this blog, reminded us we still had prayer partners everywhere, and enclosed a check for $200 to use any way we needed to.  Amanda and I just looked at each other and grinned!  We have a God in Heaven Who is just itching to bless us, don't we?  Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful hand of blessing on our family.  We don't deserve it---we deserve hell---but He chooses to shower us with His love through the kindness of others.  We get blessed and they get's a win/win situation!

Thank you for all your prayers, love, encouragement, and help throughout these last two years.  It's been amazing to see God's family in action all across the world as you agonized with us, cried with us, shouted with us, and prayed with us.  You have encouraged us and strengthened our hearts with your love and prayers and comments, and we hope to have helped you in return.  God bless you richly for all you have been to our family.  We love you guys!

Philippians 4: 19  "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."


  1. Your post just made me cry. My son is going to be a senior this year and there is absolutely no way that I can afford college but keep hoping that he will get some sort of scholarship.
    I will keep praying about it and see where it leads us.

    Good for Amanda. We were down in Santa Clara just a month ago to visit Santa Clara University and it is a great area...warm, sunny...she will do great!

    Thank you again.


  2. I was actually waiting for this post Kirsten, wow. I've felt as though this has become more than just a blog, and has become an update between family members. Praying over each setback, rejoicing over each success, and just enjoying the everyday chaos that is life with the Ostranders; you have all become more than just names in a blog column. I've never been blessed with children of my own, so I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like as Amanda Rae spreads her wings. But rejoice in the fact that she has a ironclad faith, and your strong family values. She will be a success in whatever she does in life, and you were a vital part in helping her to achieve that success. With the life building blocks given to her by your family, her church and God, who couldn't succeed? Rejoice that her future is wide open, and with God within her, she will hit the ground running. Thank you as always for all that you continue to give us through this blog, it has become an important part of the strengthening of my own faith. You and your family will forever be in my hopes and prayers, all me very best to you all. I remain yours in Jesus Christ, Eric