Unfamiliar Places

I recently met someone that had returned from a state in the Northeast, and was trying to get used to the change from one place to another. She was originally from Austin, and had been going to school there. One of the things she shared with me during our conversation was how she hated change, and being in unfamiliar environments. She preferred to have things stable, and familiar to her consistently rather than changing. This made me think of my own life and how even recently I have been dealing with similar circumstances. How living in different parts of Austin seemed just like in living in different parts of the country to me.

I was came from a Hispanic family, but had grown up with mostly black friends going to mostly white schools in Central & West Austin. I had grown comfortable in the neighborhood on E. 15th Street, and had a hard time being too far out side of the area. When I was about 14 we had to move out of the house in East Austin that I grew up in. My mother found a duplex in South Austin for us. It was a whole new world to me compared to the life of seclusion I had known before. I felt a sense of liberation, with fast food places, and other conveniences near by that we did not have before. When I started high school I  met new and diverse groups of people. It was a different world to me. Little did I know that a world of drugs & alcohol would be coming my way through smiling facings. Even with that part of my life the next few years in high school seemed at the time to be the best of my life until my senior year.

When my senior came my mother decided to move to my uncle’s house in East Austin. It was not that I hated the Eastside, it’s that this meant changing high schools my senior year, leaving my friends, and the world that I had come to love. I applied to stay at Crockett High School since it was my senior year, but was denied. I now had go to a different high school away from the people I had grown close to. Even though I was Hispanic, I found myself in a strange environment. Socially, and culturally I found myself much different from the other students there. There was an obvious dynamic that existed there compared from that of my old school, and the South Austin life I had known. I did not take this new change well, and it negatively impacted me for a few years.  Out of this experience came a blessing, and it was the birth of my daughter. That changed my world forever.

As soon I was able to I moved back to South Austin I made it happen. With my new child, and her mother I found a place. It felt like home, it was familiar, and comfortable. I would work, and live next few years in this world I loved until my relationship with my daughter’s mother crashed. Even though I managed to live alone for another year in South Austin, I eventually found myself back at with my family in East Austin.

In 2003 I met the person I would later marry. During that time things were not going well, and I had to leave my families home. I found myself back for a 3rd time in my beloved South Austin. I would spend the next 15 hears there until my marriage imploded, and came to end. I found myself in a dilemma, in a difficult and uncomfortable situation. I needed to find a place to live, but could not rent an apartment for myself. The chance at moving back to my uncle’s house in East Austin came up, but that was something I just could not accept or allow. It would come down to finding a room for rent in someone’s home. Now a follower of Christ, I asked God to help provide a place for me that would be affordable, livable, and safe.

By God’s grace I found a room in North Central Austin a couple of miles from my job. I quickly found a home church, and began getting out into my new world. It has been  a unique, and different environment to me from my former world in both the way of ethnic backgrounds, and culture. It has taken some getting used to this new world, that is absent of what was familiar, and comfortable to me. This is not like the negative experience I had when I was forced to attend a new high school my senior year. I welcome this experience, this change.

At different times in the Bible people where sent or taken to new lands, unfamiliar places, people, and cultures. Just a few examples are how Abraham is sent to Egypt in Genesis 12, or the amazing account of Joseph being sold as a slave and taken to Egypt in Genesis 37-50 or how in the book of Esther we see how a young, Jewish woman is taken from her family. along with other women. to be considered King Ahasuerus next wife and queen. In the New Testament we see how Paul is converted, and goes through many travels, and unfortunate events that lead up to his imprisonment, and death. Ultimately, the greatest example of this is how God the Son left the glorious, Heavenly realms to come to Earth, and be clothed in flesh.

In the Bible God had specific reasons for sending His son Jesus to Earth. Why people like Abraham, Joseph, Esther, and Paul were either sent to or allowed them to end up in unfamiliar or uncomfortable  places. God has reasons today for where we are at in life, and that is ultimately to accomplish His will. So while we may complain, or not understand why we are in the marriage we are in, they place we work, or the area where we live in I believe there is something bigger going on, especially, for the family of Believers.

Psalm 37:23-24 says. ” The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”

This lets us know that what ever we are going through, and wherever we are in life we can trust that God is in control. He has a plan, and even though we may not understand it, like it or can see the reasons for our situations we can know and believe that it is for our good, and His glory. Have you found yourself in “Eqypt?” Pray, and ask for God to lead, you to follow, and give your peace while you are there. I have learned that different areas are just that. There is nothing inherently bad about living in one part Austin than another. They each have their different groups, cultures, and yes maybe challenges. I did not expect to be where I am at right now in life, but I can trust God that He is working things out for good.

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