Faith is Taking the First Step

Today I took a trip to Family Travels on a Budget, the vacations tips home of my friend Karen Dawkins. I'm there sharing my favorite places in Memphis. Why not come visit there and get inspired to visit my hometown sometime? 

In the meantime, Karen's hopped over here to share with you. Please welcome her to the oasis!

Faith is taking the first step...

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight...
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
Proverbs 3:21-23

“Mom, I forgot how much I love this place,” he spoke quietly as we strolled across the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. I hadn’t forgotten, but I knew this made his decision difficult.

Samford is more than nine hours from home. It’s a private school. Even with a great scholarship offer, it’s expensive. His other option, Appalachian State, is closer to home and less expensive. Not to mention, he already has several friends there.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, he agonized over his college decision. We prayed. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this difficult. Finally, he chose App State, for all the logical reasons. He didn’t seem convinced, though, so we waited to enroll.

A few days later, overcome with tears, I called my husband at work. Between sobs (ridiculous, I know), I tried to convey how wrong it felt. I explained that if God wanted him to go to App State, we should have peace. He agreed -- and admitted he felt much the same way.

The First Step is the Hardest
We waited some more.

We prayed some more.

Still no peace. As March drew to a close, our son had to decide.

“If money wasn’t an issue, where would you go?” I finally asked the question at the heart of it all.

Immediately, he answered, “Samford!”

“Well then, Samford it is.”

“How will we pay for it? You and dad already paid for your college, I can’t ask you to sacrifice that much for me.” We knew this was what held him back. We knew paying for Samford meant giving up vacations, dining out and cable.

Oh my son. Don’t you know I want the best for you? Don’t you know I’d joyfully do whatever it takes to help you to become the man God intends you to be? It’s not sacrifice. It’s love.

Together, we pulled up the Samford website and enrolled him. His face glowed. The peace finally came -- for us all.

An hour later, about 8:00 p.m., the phone rang. His Samford admissions counselor called to inform us that the dean had decided to increase his scholarship offer by a total of $10,000.

As I hung up the phone and relayed the message, my eyes filled with tears. We looked at each other, my son, my husband and I, stunned. Breaking the silent shock, our other son piped up, “See guys. God was just waiting for you to take the first step.”

The first step. It’s that simple, isn’t it? Take that first step in faith…

Where are you in God’s plan today?

Seasoned traveler and North Carolina mom, Karen Dawkins, writes about her experiences and shares travel tips at Family Travels on a Budget. She has traveled around the world with her family on a budget, enjoying the adventure and the challenge of doing it all for less! The next four years will involve lots of travel back and forth to Alabama!

She also writes about faith and family at Karen Dawkins: Destination Joy, a blog inspired by her favorite verse, Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The next four years will stretch her to live out that faith as she takes her first steps away from daily parenting child number one.

Connect with her online at Family Travels on a Budget and Karen Dawkins: Destination Joy. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Shannon I love the posts on your blog. I often, in my coaching business, answer the question "Where do I start?" and I always tell them "It takes a first step." It's funny I don't always follow my own advice. Sometimes I lack faith. Sometimes I need to be reminded (as you just did) that if I take the first step, HE will be there to catch me!

    1. Taking the first step is so simple but so scary. I can relate!

  2. What a beautiful post! It's so true! Often we have to make the first move to see the faithful results!

    1. "faithful results" - love the way you said that!

  3. What a beautiful testimony of God's leading, grace and provision.
    Congratulations to your son, and to all who share this special time with him.
    We had a similiar situation a year ago when my husband was laid off and my daughter got engaged and started planning a wedding, she and her hubby to be planned to pay for it.........The Lord told my husband to pay for it, all of it! We knew we were about to experience something wonderful, so we told daughter was worried for us, and we said don't be because we aren't be know the Lord will provide, and He did in amazing ways.
    She married Oct. of 2012 and we were able to pay for the wedding and honeymoon, as they decided to have a destination wedding.
    God is so amazing and sooooooooo good all the time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, we really need to hear more of these kind of they build our faith and encourage us so much.

    Blessings, Nellie

    1. That is an amazing story of God's goodness and provision, Nellie. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Shannon, I'm so glad you had Karen as a guest. I always enjoy reading her blog posts!

    Karen, congratulations on your son's new adventure! I will pray for God to continue to give you and your husband peace and strength as you get used to the change of pace with him at college.

    God does work in miraculous and amazing ways, and sometimes we see this more clearly after taking a leap of faith. :-)

    Blessings to you and your family!

    1. The cool thing is I'm a Samford grad too so we share another thing in common!

  5. Shannon... if you ever took a first step it would be the one you took when you chose to guest post one each other's blog with Karen. I have been reading both your blogs for some time now and in doing so you not only have touched my heart {many times} but you also have helped my taking "my" first step that much easier. Thank you both for being so inspiring... your sister in Faith, Carla

    1. Carla, what a sweet message. You are such an encourager and I so admire that about you!

  6. Shannon and Karen, what an inspiring post. I love your other sons true!We are taught so many times that in order to see the light, we usually have to step into the darkness. Now, I guess the next hard step is to let him go when the time comes...mama's have a hard time with this one. HUGS Karen and thanks Shannon.

    1. I'm already dreading it, Becky Jane. We've got our first graduating in two years.


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