At graduation the Princess stood at Isaac’s side with her hard won Diploma in her hand, her eyes seeking out her children. It would have been perfect if she had been able to beat Isaac, the Dux of the Business course. They had competed with each other fiercely for marks. “I would have beaten you if not for statistics” she teased him.
After completing the Diploma of Business earlier in the year and leaving the campus in the early winter they found a little white cottage to rent on the main road. It was a bit bare. Some of the furniture did not survive the move and had to be replaced. They needed a sofa, washing machine, fridge, and lawnmower. It would be a good location for the business – if and when they could afford to get it started. Their money had been depleted by the mirage – that desert place where their promised jobs had not materialised. They’d had to resort to living on a student allowance for two years, and now they had to find work.
The Princess looked at their depleted bank account after forking out for the bond, rent in advance, plus a week’s rent to the property agent for their “services”. There was precious little left. The minimal earnings from their student allowances plus the small amount earned from her part time job did not allow them to recover the costs of going to College. She was worried as she stated the obvious; “There is no money to start a business. How are we going to build a business and earn money in the meantime?”
Isaac’s request to the King was short and sharp; “God, we need money, right now!” The next day, Isaac’s bank rang. The bank had some money for Isaac from a mortgage insurance policy that had been overpaid years ago. The princess was amazed. She had never heard of a bank doing that. It was enough to keep them going for the rest of the month. Following that, a refund from the College for overpaid accommodation kept them going for another month. The King provided for them until they could get jobs at night. Despite the financial miracles she still had the jitters. The mirage had taken its toll. It took a lot for her to come back from that place and learn to trust the King to provide. “God helps those who help themselves!” she’d been told growing up. The King said;
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Matthew 6:31-33
Not long after that they received a bill from the accountant for his services. How could it be that much when they did not even have a business? Furious with Isaac who had prematurely hired him before he left City College; she threw the bill that was now up to $1550 onto the floor, slammed the door in his face and walked along the street.
The King caught up with her at the beach. He understood her frustration and anger. She kicked the sand. “How are we going to start this company when the accountant is taking all of our hard earned seed money? You know we need that money to start our business!” she snapped, exasperated and disillusioned. “I will provide!” the King said, but He couldn’t reassure her, or get through the fog. Her black mood kept her from hearing the King’s response.
She sacked the accountant after that, telling Isaac “We can’t afford this. What did we go to college for? I have learned enough to do the books myself, and I can do the tax returns. We can do it ourselves, until the business is established.”
Not long after that Prince Trevor and Princess Jan, the founders of the College, called them to a meeting in the lecture theater at the College with great excitement. Like her, they had long dwelled in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, after losing a son about her brother’ age. The Princess understood something of their loss from the death of her own brother.
Princess Jan’s eyes shone, as they described the fund that was going to be available for the business students. The seed capital was named in memory of their son. It bore the symbol of the acorn. The Princess recognised it as the acorn the King had given her ten years ago after she had bought her house. He had named it as ‘the first seed to be planted on the land made barren’. She remembered the King telling her “it was to replant the waste fields”. The seed had taken ten years to germinate.
Her eyes shone like Jan’s, as she approached the King, the acorn in her hands. “I remember you giving me an acorn the year I bought my house. I didn’t know what you meant by it, but I do now.” The King was financing them into business, and He wanted her included. In the families she had come from, the men ran the businesses with no input from their wives.
The Princess asked, “This was your plan all along, that I should work for myself as a business owner?” He replied “Yes. It is written in my book that women own property and run businesses. They are respected figures in their own right, not shadows of their husbands.”
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard,
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” Proverbs 31
The Princess thought about her first husband’s businesses. In Sydney, there had been no place for her except as an unpaid factory labourer on weekends. She did not have any say in that business. When the family sold the business to buy a foundary back in small town Wanganui, she had been forced to give up her life in Sydney, her career, everything. She had come away with nothing to show for all the sacrifice.
Feeling the pain and regret of her past, she said “they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” Song of Solomon 1:6
The King rested his hand on her shoulder as He reminded her that the vineyard would come from the wilderness.
Therefore, behold, I will allure you,
Will bring you into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to you.
I will give you your vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. Hosea 2:14-16.
His other hand rested on Isaac’s shoulder. “You became my partners, and I have made you into a team. You are the partner I spoke to Isaac of, long before you came. He has confidence in you, as do I.”
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land”. Proverbs 31
“Thank you for believing in me” the Princess said, bowing to the King. “Now will you believe in me?” the King asked, looking at her. “I promised I would provide” He added, as they looked through the loan application. The Princess lifted her eyes to His, saying “You have done exeedingly, abundantly more than I could ever have hoped for or imagined. You deserve the glory for what you have done in my life, and again, I want to thank you.”