Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Houston Changed Us.


Well. That’s it. We’ve packed it up. The moving company is en route with my crock pot and we are on the road headed East. We are pumped to be bonafide, Salt-Life wearing, Life Is Good sportin’, paddleboarding Floridians again. I’m looking forward palm trees, key lime pie, & Publix. Oh, sweet Publix.

We have been in Houston for just over two years. If you’ve been here since the beginning, you know it was only supposed to be three months. But, we loved it. When it was nearing time to leave, we knew there was unfinished business there. We didn’t know what it was, we just knew there was something more in Houston for us and something more in us for Houston. I do hope we impacted the city a little, because Houston sure impacted us.

We are changed because of our time here. How could we not be? We left a town of 35k people to a city of about 5 million. There is a lot to love about our little country hometown of Plant City, Florida. I like to tell people it’s the “Southern-most point of the Bible-Belt”. (I made that up, PC. You heard it here first.)
Then, the Bayou City happened to us. Yes, I know Houston didn’t “happen to us”. The Lord used our time in Houston to change us. And, as hard as some of it was, I’m grateful.

We know what it’s like to be the visitors at church. When the pastor says “Greet the people around you”, we see it differently now.

We have become Tex-Mex snobs. We loved fajitas before and were looking forward to the amazing fajitas we would get when we got here. And, for the love of tortillas, we have gotten snobby about them.  What’s your favorite Tex-Mex dish? Where do you get it?

We have become the city mice. We lived fairly rurally in Florida and went straight to downtown Houston. We eventually made it to the burbs, but I’ve not been more than 3 miles from a Target or a Chick-Fil-A in over two years. There's that.

We learned what it’s like to have to pay for water usage. Ugh. For the first time in my entire life, I didn’t have well water. We got our first water bill. Welcome to the city.  We love it, right?!



We learned what it’s like to have to plug in to groups. We had to be so intentional about meeting people and finding our places to serve.  And, then sometimes it didn’t work out. Which brings me to…

We were reminded that sometimes, you just aren’t gonna be everybody’s cup of tea. This was fun. Except not at all. But, there were times when I just had to come to grips with the fact that some people just didn’t care for me. That is all I have to say about that.

We know why Texas pride is different. It’s contagious. Like the good kind. The traditions, like those homecoming mums, are crazy awesome. No one really knows where it came from, but it is so over-the-top Texas that you can’t help but love it. I am equally perplexed and amazed by it. You have the Aggie traditions and Go Texan Day, a bunch of stuff. Anyway, I have long since loved my palm tree stuff, so I’m gonna have to step that up a notch or seven in order to adequately represent.


We are officially a Blue Bell people. We knew of Blue Bell Ice Cream before, and I had heard people go on about it. But, once I visited the creamery in Brenham the first of SIX times (!!), I was sold. And, it really is better.
Also, I’m sorry, Texas Fam, I am a one of a kind, and so is Dr. Pepper, I just don’t love it. I went to the museum, had a float and it was so cute.
I’m not drinking the DP juice.

We view grief differently. One of our pastors at Bayou City Fellowship, Vernon, speaks of pain and suffering like no body’s business. Learning to let people grieve for as long as it takes is counter-cultural. Even counter-church cultural, in some  ways. I was definitely a “get it together, press on!” kind of Christian. Even in my self-talk. So, when I would experience a season of depression or blues or doubt, I would beat myself up over it, rather than allowing for sadness and lament to the Lord. No more. Dude. “Sadness is not a sin” is so very liberating to the Christian who has been told to “Find the Joy!” all the dern time. Which brings me to…

We have been a part of a church plant. Our church was a baby church of six months when we got to Houston. It was a breath of fresh air we didn’t even know we needed! Totally different from anything we had ever been a part of : simple, bare-bones approach to worship services and gatherings; taking the same approach to programs, our calendars have not been filled with “church” activities to do more things “at church” than in the community. I don’t even know how to fully explain it, but it’s been a great experience for us.
We are so sad to leave it. 

We are changed because Jesus didn't waste one minute of time we spent in Texas. Not one. He grew us in ways too deep for a blog.

Mostly, we are changed because we have been loved. These Texans (both born in and brought in) have loved on us in the sweetest ways. 



Houston, We love you back.



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