(Please find Part One to this post here.)
So we’d made it to Texas!
For so long, we’d just been focused on getting there. So I think we all kind of had a moment of looking around and going,”Hm. Now what?”
First order of business was pretty simple: we needed a place to stay.
Buying a house immediately when we didn’t know the area obviously didn’t make much sense or was even close to possible. So the next option would be a rental, but the kind of rental we needed was a pretty demanding checklist.
Big enough for 6 people.
Space for a 28-foot-trailer.
Would take two huge dogs.
…All before Dad needed to start his new job in five days.
Once again, we were in need of a miracle.
And once again, the Lord provided us with one!
Just so happens, my sister had a friend on Facebook she hadn’t spoken to in years contact her out of the blue when she found out we were moving to Texas. And what do you know, but that she had an uncle who was a realtor in the very town we were moving to.
We contacted him, and this realtor was able to find us exactly two places that fit our needs.
The first option was honestly a little scary, which left option two.
However, on the way to option two, the realtor called us to let us know it had just been rented out.
A familiar phrase that was starting to become a family motto came to mind: now what?
Trust the Lord, that’s what. Just as He’d asked us to do. He is never late, but seldom early! And really, we had no other option than that. We’d made it here on the waves of God’s grace alone, and now that we had, there was nothin’ else to do except sit back and watch Him provide as He’d promised He would.
And He did!
The paperwork of the other potential renters fell through, and after four days of living in a LaQuinta and one day before Dad had to start work, we got into the house.
Praise Jesus! All that had gone into just that one moment… the fulfillment of God’s promise, it’s crazy and awing and amazing to think about.
But as difficult as it was at times to get to Texas, I honestly think the true battle started right then.
Because Texas at first was not “the land of milk and honey” as we had dreamed it would be.
Things got tough, and they got tough fast.
Dad had a job, but quickly found out that the job he had involved unfair work situations and people with little to no integrity. He came home often feeling discouraged and defeated.
My sister struggled to find work and her own place to live, and my niece struggled like never before in school, coming close to not graduating the third grade. It would take until almost the end of the year before she was diagnosed with ADD.
Being very relationship-oriented, my mom and I struggled the most with seeing the ones we loved struggling, as well as keenly missing the friendships and family we’d left behind.
The rental house–while meeting our needs–didn’t exactly match our wants. (See “An Ode to the Rental Home I Will Not Miss,” here.)
For a year or so, I lived out of a suitcase, because there wasn’t enough room for both my stuff and my niece’s in the bedroom we shared together. I slept on an air mattress that constantly leaked and deflated and had to be blown up again, and I will never forget our first Christmas in Texas getting sick, laying on the couch as my family handed me presents, and going to my air mattress to get some rest and ending up on the cold, hard floor in the middle of the night.
More times than I can count, I dreamt of having to pack and leave our home, and woke up on that air mattress with tears that had dried cool on my cheeks, because I’d been crying in my sleep. In those moments I’d pray, “God, I am trying so hard, I promise you I am–but I miss home so much.”
My mountains had gotten squished flat. The calming sound of crickets at night became the annoying buzz of cicadas. Peaceful two-lane roads became busy highways of the city, and I went from running into people at the grocery store who were there when my parents brought me home from the hospital, to not knowing a single soul.
It was painful. More painful than I can even describe.
And it didn’t seem to match what God had promised. Not even a little bit.
What was going on?
“A time of rest and peace,” Lord? What is this?
But I remember thinking it once and only once.
Had God abandoned me? Had He brought us all the way here, only to desert us now? Did this hard time cancel out or negate all the other hard times He’d brought us through? Was this the one circumstance that would somehow leave God scratching His head, shrugging His shoulders, leaving us to fend for ourselves?
I knew it with all my being, and at last something He’d told me and promised long ago finally made sense.
I’d been praying for my own promise back in Colorado, for God to speak to me as He had Dad, just giving me something so that going to Texas wouldn’t be so hard.
I am not taking you to this new place to abandon you, the Lord had said. I am taking you to this new place to bless you. I have good things in store for you. (Read that story on my other blog here.)
What I felt right then certainly felt like abandonment.
I was a stranger in a strange land. Dropped out in the middle of a place I really couldn’t understand or felt like I belonged in, all on the word of God.
Left a beautiful home, a beautiful area. Decades-old friendships, my sister and nephew, an amazing church.
And for what?
I really didn’t know.
But I remembered another time. A time where I questioned God’s motives. Where what He’d promised and the reality of my life didn’t match. I remembered how it felt then, and how what looked like the exact opposite of what God had promised became the very goodness of God Himself.
What the enemy means for harm, God always means for good. All things work towards the good of those who love him, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. He has good things in store for us.
So, then. I had a choice. Stomp my feet, despair, cry, doubt, complain? Or fall back and rest in my loving Shepherd’s arms, eagerly looking forward to see how He’d show His love for us in marvelous ways again?
What God had asked of Dad, He now asked of me.
Will you trust me, little one? I know it hurts. Oh, daughter. I know it hurts. But there was a time when your dad was sick and your heart was broken, a time when you, too, were forced to trust. But you handed me your broken heart, I took it from you gently, and I gave it back to you whole and full of joy. Hand me your heart again? Give it to me willingly?
Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. You can have it. I trust you. I love you. Oh, Lord, I don’t understand and it hurts, but I trust you. And you can have it.
That prayer didn’t come without pain. It didn’t come without a bit of fear attached. But the fact that I could pray it and mean it in and of itself is a testament of God’s work in my life.
Dad says often that without his years of sickness, he would never have been able to do what God asked him to do in moving to Texas.
Without my own battle of depression and the years of Dad being sick, I could not have prayed that prayer.
Two different ways, two different stories, same lesson.
He is trustworthy. God’s grace is enough. At the end of yourself, you will find Me. And it is worth it. Every single time.
Here we were, at the end of ourselves again.
Time to find some Jesus.
(Stay tuned and please check back soon for the last and final installment to this story, Our Move to Texas: Part III.)