Dear Abigail

Should I return to school or not?


I am struggling with the dilemma of whether or not to pursue a degree in higher education. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom of three small, wonderful boys, and I find that very rewarding . . . well, at least on most days!

Some of my friends who do not attend our church are telling me I will regret not getting a college education and that I’m making a big mistake if I don’t. When I ask my church members, they shrug their shoulders to indicate I shouldn’t go back to school. . . while others say, “Go for it!” And to make the decision even more difficult, my husband is praying with me about this, but he says he wants it to be “my” decision.

Also, it would be great if I could contribute to our finances. But I wouldn’t want that to be my main reason for going back to school. As you can tell, I need direction badly.


To school or not to school

Dear School,

If you haven’t already, I recommend making a list of positives and negatives about pursuing a college degree. This can be a great visual tool to aid in your decision. I also commend both you and your husband for your commitment to pray and allow God to guide you.

It must be very exciting and rewarding to be a mom to three precious boys, who most likely keep you very busy! The boys’ ages weren’t shared, but you did say they were small. Depending on your support system, going to college could create new challenges you didn’t expect. The added expense of childcare and college fees would most likely add burdens financially. Also, consider how you would manage your study time and family time with your boys and husband.

On the other hand, there may be some willing church members or friends willing to pitch in and help you meet your goals!

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention my concern about how much the children would miss out on while mom is preoccupied with classes and studying. Some valuable lessons about God, life, and character building should come from you and not babysitters. Our children are small for such a short time; these are crucial, formative years that I believe God has carved out for a special time and purpose for you and your family.

I wish I could give a concrete answer, but there really isn’t a one-size-fitsall answer to this question. There are many factors to consider. In many places of the world it is encouraged for a wife to go to college, while in other geographic areas it is discouraged. In many families, the pastor and his wife enjoy being “partners” in ministry and feel that the wife’s priority is the family. It is a great duty and privilege to take care of the children and support your husband in pastoral ministry. It doesn’t mean college is out of the question forever, maybe just on temporary hold depending on your current situation.

As you continue your commitment to prayer and the study of God’s Word, you and your husband are sure to find peace and assurance that will not disappoint.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5, 6, NKJV).

With love and prayers,