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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Whole Texas Story...And Some Lessons Learned Along The Way

Discomfort.  I have learned a lot about being uncomfortable this year.  I spent basically the first 18 years of my life in Southern California.  Less than a month after I turned 18, my family and I moved to Houston, Texas.  Talk about discomfort.

So the story goes, we received an e-mail that a friend of a friend had a few houses for rent in Spring, Texas.  We decided it pray about the whole situation.  The conclusion was drawn that it would be hard to move to Texas and it would be a harsh change but that a fresh start might be nice.  After much prayer, it was abundantly clear that we were supposed to move to Texas.   The 3 months before we moved to Texas my family and I kept receiving signs daily that we were in fact supposed to move to Texas.  These generous signs came in many different forms.  One day we would talk to someone who had lived in Spring, Texas or someone who almost moved to Spring.  One night there was a box of “Texas Sized Cinnamon Rolls” just randomly sitting in the youth room.  Instead of buying the garlic bread that we normally bought, my mom accidentally bought a box of “Garlic Texas Toast”.  The signs continued.  Though we were uncomfortable about the move to Texas we were, by the grace of God, obedient to Him.  We knew if we did what we were called to do; it would be okay. 

We left California March 3rd and drove the 3 day drive to Spring, Texas.  We pulled into the neighborhood of the house we were supposed to rent and we were appalled- and afraid.  There were drug dealers at the front of the neighborhood and as we drove through the neighborhood it did not get any better.  It felt unsafe and there was just a vibe of pure evil.  The owner of the house took the time to tell my family and I how unsafe the neighborhood was; there had been shootings and robberies.  The neighborhood was so horrible that my younger sisters couldn’t even walk outside alone.    

We. Were. Crushed.

We packed up everything, picked ourselves up, and threw ourselves into something totally new.  We did this because we trusted God and we trusted that He would keep us safe.  I was furious.  I had trusted with my life and this is where He brought me?

We realized we were not going to be able to stay in that house.  We stayed in a hotel for a few nights.  That was interesting.  The 5 of us, two dogs, a bird, and a guinea pig in two hotel rooms.  These insane and unsure days were one big waiting game.  We talked to the pastor at a church about 40 minutes away in the Woodlands, Texas.  He had such a simple solution- he said we should ask the homeschool group we were already connected with if there were and houses for rent in the area.  We were all so confused and upset that we could not think clearly enough to come to the conclusion that the pastor had come to.

Within 3 or 4 days, simply by the grace of God, we had a house.  A house in a nice, safe, and family oriented neighborhood.  We should have been thrilled but we weren’t.  We tried to praise God but it was hard.  We attempted to rejoice in the Lord but it was painful. 

We were so uncomfortable- to say the VERY least!
The homeschool group was fine but it wasn’t our group of friends.  The church was decent but it wasn’t the church we had come to know and love.  There was nothing WRONG with Texas, I mean people live there and the state as a whole is a wonderful state.  But we had all had such a hard time with the house in Spring being a let down that we approached the rest of Texas with a harshness and with cold hearts.  Instead of being open and willing to see what Texas had to offer we were closed off.

During the summer months, we were able to survive just fine.  The heat was tough but it was bearable.  We were attending church on Sundays and going to the gym but there did not seem to be much else to do.  There was still something that was not right.  The painful ache of the fact that we were not home did not subside. 

At the beginning of June, there was some small talk between my dad and a friend of his about a possible job back in California.  The possibility of a job in California seemed so unrealistic and out of reach.  We were partly ecstatic and partly terrified of being let down again. It was around a 2 month waiting game.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, everything worked out and my dad was offered an outstanding job right in same area we had moved from.  We had 15 weeks left in Texas and then we would finally be going back HOME.  We simply could not wait for the day until we were able to leave Texas. 

During the 15 weeks left in Texas I completed a semester of school and made some great friends along the way.  My sisters started school in August so that they would be finished early in December so that they could help my mom pack the house up.  All in all the time seemed to go by pretty quickly.

The holidays, birthdays, and weeks just danced away as December 16th approached.  I finished my finals December 15th and we left Texas for California at on December 16th.  We were all so anxious to get back to California that my dad, very generously, made the trip home in two days. December 17th, though chaotic, was a glorious day.

We. Were. Home.

We have been home for just over two weeks now and it is just incredible.  The Lord has so richly blessed my family.  I am so thankful to be back home.  However, I do realize that we were called to Texas for a reason.  I don’t know that I can pinpoint the exact reason, as much as I would LOVE to be able to do so.   I do know that there are some lessons to be learned along the journey though.

Earlier this week I was thinking back on this insane year and I was wondering if anyone else understood the circumstances and the pain and the joy.  Then the Holy Spirit light bulb went on.

Jesus went through the same thing. And I’m not saying this in a fluffy manner but truly, He understands.  Look at it this way, if we can all agree upon the fact that heaven was and is His home, then earth would have been His temporary home and possibly a place of discomfort for Him.  I am quite certain that Jesus would have experienced some discomfort on earth or some sorrow in missing His Father BUT He went to earth OUT OF OBEDIENCE.  He listened to His Father.  He had a mission to complete.  He had to save the world from death.  Regardless of His mission, He was still a man, a man who was out of place, He was not home, but He completed His mission with GRACE!

I believe that we all have missions to complete.  These missions are given to us by the Father.  I believe there was a reason we were called to Texas.  And I pray with every part of my being that I completed the mission given to me by the Father.  And I pray even more wholeheartedly for His forgiveness if I did not complete the mission given to me by Him. 

I am sorry to all my friends that I complained to while I was in Texas.  I apologize for not seeing this past year as a way of gaining an inexpressible closeness with Christ.

Though I am so not worthy, I take this time to ask you, please, during your next trial in life, turn to Christ.  He has a mission for you to complete.  I want you to be blessed enough to KNOW that you completed the mission He gave you as opposed to WONDERING if you did.

Life was not meant to be easy but it surely will be easier and more grace filled if we turn to Christ during our toughest times.  “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)