Here I am back on I-10 heading west to Texas with Bob and Abbey. I like Texas. I always have. Texas was good to my family. We lived there for two years. During that time our family grew closer together. Our faith grew stronger. We were rebuilding and regrouping, especially after losing our business back home, not making any money when selling our home in Destin, filing bankruptcy, and just being exhausted from the marathon race we were running trying to make ends meet.
In Texas we uncovered some mysteries. For instance, after many years of seeking answers and never getting them from our Florida pediatrician, a pediatric neurologist diagnosed our oldest son, Paul with mild Tourette’s Syndrome. It was good to have some answers and direction. We also discovered that Paul had some optic nerve damage, maybe from birth, but nevertheless, it explained why he had trouble for years not being able to read the charts and see correctly. Texas was good to my family.
In 1994, after losing our John Deere dealership in Florida, my husband, who was emotionally broken, in trouble and desperate, was searching to discover himself and a new career. While trying to hold on to our business, and feed our family, Bob made some poor choices, along with the poor economy and being given the short end of the stick with his business partner who wouldn’t live up to his end of an agreement. Bob avoided jail by the grace of God and his parents financial help, that we are still faithfully making payment back after more than 20 years.
We had a friend who gave Bob an opportunity to work for him and his company, which was a Department of Defense Contractor. Bob switched from owning his own business, selling tractors and lawn mowers almost overnight to learning how government accounting works. I will always remember catching my husband up before the sunrise, sitting on our sofa with his coffee, reading and learning government accounting, page by page by page.
While Bob was starting his new job, I had to find work also, and quickly. I gave waitressing a try, but did not like leaving our three boys with friends all the time, as well as returning home late at night, after they had fallen asleep. I truly loved putting our boys to bed at night. Saying their prayers with them. Watching them brush their teeth and spit in the sink. Late one evening as I was driving down 30A after my shift at the restaurant, an idea came to me to open up our home for childcare business. From sun up to sun down, and including weekends many times, I had children coming and going. I was the first to keep a couple of newborns. My days were very long and although I made excellent money, we were barely making ends meet. We prayed. We kept up the faith and we kept working. We had our share of miracles and blessings as so many people, anonymously, sent us money to live on. Friends brought us groceries, made our house payment and helped me watch children in my daycare business. I won groceries when Delchamps opened up their new Destin store. One day a complete stranger, who was an Oscar Meyer distributor, showed up at our door to give us all he could give. Fisherman’s wives would bring us their catch of the day. We were scared at times of not knowing where our next penny would come from, but at the same time amazed to see who Jehovah Jirah was.
So how did we get to Texas? Bob had applied for a job as a Comptroller with a defense contractor in El Paso, Texas and one day we got the call. I was watching kids and also homeschooling when I answered the phone and learned we might be moving to El Paso. To think of leaving all our friends, our church and moving across country, far, far away from my parents was a lot to process. It didn’t take long though to decide, because we were sinking. So I guess in a way, moving across the country to El Paso was a relief. In some ways, I felt like we were being rescued. So many people would ask us why would we ever leave such a beautiful town, as Destin and go live in a border town like El Paso. Besides not wanting to starve, seriously, it was the only door that God opened up for us. It ended up being our wilderness where God meet us. He met our needs daily. We counted out the pieces of chicken to share. We didn’t shop for labels. I discovered thrift store shopping.
While we lived in Texas, my father passed away at a hospital in Alabama. I was with him. We had to borrow money for Bob and the boys to get to Alabama and attend his funeral. God always showed up. He was near. He was and is faithful.
Our boys made new experiences while we were in Texas. They made new friends. Our black son, who was missing us, and unhappy back in Destin, rode a train for two days to come live with us in Texas. It was good to all be back together. We were poor, barely making ends meet, yet staying grateful and thankful for “our daily bread or manna”. We joined a homeschool co op for David and Kevin. Marlon made a name for himself in football very quickly, as Paul did in music at each of their public schools. The boys enjoyed soccer, football, baseball, music and settled into our small apartment with two birds, a bunny, our Sheltie and a partridge in a pear tree, without any complaining. We were family. We stuck together. We prayed together. We laughed together and cried together. If I ever became sad or concerned that we were in a tiny apartment, I was reminded that all is well, when I would peek in the boys room many nights and see them all together whispering or giggling.
I believe our desire to follow God’s lead to Texas was rewarding. We still lived paycheck to paycheck but truly saw God move in ways we had never before. We were broken. We stepped out in faith. We overcame fears. We were obedient to his calling for a new life in a foreign land. We decided to plant our roots there permanently. We were planning on buying the home we were renting, and trying for another child when Bob got a job offer back in Florida in our home town. We honestly didn’t jump at the chance. We prayed. We thought. As much as we would of loved to return, we wanted to be right in the center of God’s will. It was like a healthy fear of making sure we were where we were suppose to be We knew though that no matter where we lived, we could be faced with 10 years without any credit whatsoever, since we had to file bankruptcy.
Texas was grande, but our hearts and our home were back in Florida. A door was opening for us to return. Why did God love us so much to bring us back? He just did. Some things we don’t need to know why.
So there we were, our family and pets, leaving the dessert and returning back home to the beautiful emerald coast. I should say, most of our family. Paul and Marlon stayed back for a couple of weeks to finish out the school year. We were back on I-10, but this time heading East. Still living on faith, love and hope. Happy and expectant. God was faithful. He gave us so much more than we could of asked for when we followed Him out to Texas. The best gift of all was that I returning home, five months pregnant with a baby sister for the boys, and a daughter for Bob and I.
As Bob, Abbey and I travel back to Texas today, I am remembering that Texas was good to my family.