Hi from Boise, Idaho!  My family and I have officially relocated ourselves from Dripping Springs, Texas!  Ironically, 2 years ago almost to the day I was staring into my oven in Kirkland, Washington getting ready to relocate to Texas.  Oh the journey I’ve been on these last 2 years and the amazing lessons I’ve learned.

It was June of 2014, I had my 2 best friends and they’re massive clan of children helping me pack up the rest of my stuff to get me out of Washington and on our way to Texas.

20140528_165739 Michael and I were good, we had been good – I’d wanted out of Seattle for so long now that I honestly couldn’t get out of there fast enough and up until this day I was beyond ready, emotionally and physically.  I was antsy for a long time in Seattle, complained about all the things I wished Seattle was but never lived up to for me.  Why couldn’t it have the sun of southern California but the beauty of the PNW??  Why did it have to be so expensive and why in the world were we living in a place on one income that cost so much?  Oh and why didn’t we make more money??  These were just a few of the things that I grumbled about and I knew that moving out of this place was going to fix everything and finally life would be greater and greener!

There I was in my kitchen cleaning the inside of my stove while I had my one friend packing my bathroom, (I still can’t find my husband’s razor), and my other friend packing my living room and it hit me…it hit me like a ton of bricks and for the first time I went into full panic mode and started sobbing hysterically.  The snotty crying that distorts your face in ways your never could if you weren’t crying.  What in the world was I doing??  This was my family, these women, these kids, this place – how do I leave it?  I felt a total lack of peace about all of it and I wanted to change my mind, I wanted to push the stop button and make it all go back to the way it was 2 months prior.  God gives his children a long leash and your playground is wide and vast with lots and lots of options!  This is a great, beautiful and wonderful things to have a father like this!  However,in that moment I wanted him to force it to all stop and control the situation…but He didn’t and He wouldn’t.   Instead, like the amazing, gracious, kind, comforting God that He is, He simply loved on me in a unique and special way in that very moment with my head in the stove.  I was listening to secular music on the radio and on came a song that I honestly can’t believe I could hear the words to over my own personal sobbing.  It was called, “Home” by; Phillip Phillips and here are the words;

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

I pulled my head out of the stove and pressed on to what I believed was going to be our forever home.  At the time, I had believed that God was telling me Texas was going to be my new home and to settle the heck down, it’ll all be fine and He’s got it!  He did have it, but what He revealed to me over the course of the next 2 years changed my opinion on what exactly He was saying to me through the words of this song.

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We finished up packing our 18ft. trailer, loaded our 4 kids and left Seattle with no job or home waiting for us in Texas, we were seriously living on faith and a prayer for next steps.  Lesson #1 – Sometimes God won’t reveal next steps until we make that first step of faith and trust in Him.  It doesn’t mean that we can be stupid and make unwise decisions, but if we have a spreadsheet of our lives planned out and have every detail marked out then where does God come in?  He wants his children to let go of some of the control and allow Him to reveal His glory in our lives…He loves showing off and when we create opportunities for Him to do that, He will never let us down. Heb 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see“.

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We arrived to Texas in June of 2014 and proceeded to live in our beautiful, pimped out 2002 26ft. trailer for 100 days!  Let me just break that down a little more for you; 4 kids =  2 on the couch that converts to a maybe full size bed, 1 on the dining table that converts to what I think was a twin but was chopped short a couple of inches, 1 on the floor between sofa and dining table in the kitchen.  When you have to step on your children to get coffee in the morning and it doesn’t stop you to retrieve said coffee, that’s when you know you have a possible coffee addiction.

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We also felt that we needed more fun in our trailer and decided that in the middle of  a Texas summer, we should buy a puppy, because surely potty training a new puppy in a 26ft. trailer would be exactly the kind of fun we were looking for.  It was a ride for sure and I couldn’t get out of that trailer fast enough when we finally found a home, but there was some incredible lessons and growth for me during that time.  Lesson #2 – God will allow us to sit in uncomfortable situations for a period of time to grow our characters and strengthen our endurance.  Romans 5:3,4a – “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.”

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Michael and I had this dream of buying a little bit of property, getting some animals, growing a garden and learning to live a simpler life with less chaos from the city.  We thought for sure that life could be so much better for us, easier and way more fun!  We purchased a manufactured home on 2.2 acres in Dripping Springs Texas which sat about 12 miles from the town and over 30 to Austin.  A double wide wasn’t our first choice, but after 100 days of searching and realizing we were going to have to sacrifice the home or the acreage, we caved on the home.

Our initial plan was to tear up the carpet, replace carpet and then move in.  However, when you’re married to a custom home builder and he asks you if you would like to move any walls or cabinetry in the Kitchen before replacing floors, you sometimes say things that you might end up regretting.  We went from tearing up carpet to a full fledged gut and remodel job.20140825_19385620140909_14163720140920_201553

So, as you can see by the above pictures, we really put ourselves in a mess, a hot mess actually!  Here we were in a new city, a new state and living as a family of 6 in a construction zone.  I went from sidewalks and city streets to gravel roads and cows as my rush hour traffic.

The adjustment of moving to a new state, living out of a trailer with 4 kids and a new puppy was monumental, to say the least.  We, however, felt that gutting our new home and living in a construction zone for roughly 7 months would just be a nice way to add to our already overwhelming experience.  During this period of time, I was also getting prepared to put my youngest into full-time school for the first time.  I have always had children and babies at home with me for the past 14 years and honestly can’t remember life before that.  I thought I was excited and ready, “time to myself, wahoo”!   Boy was I wrong.

I remember the day like it was yesterday, I think I was in the first week of school starting.  There I was in my construction zone kitchen, hurdled in a ball on the floor sobbing hysterically.  Whelp, this felt familiar – here I was broken down and what was supposed to be my “greener grass”, felt like sage brush and tumbleweeds and it hurt.  Discontentment started settling into my body and soul again and I found myself desperate to control my situation and GET OUT!!  I wanted out bad, like really bad.  I wanted back to my normal, rain filled, cement laden, tree hugging life in Seattle and with my familiar surroundings.  I was stuck though, really stuck and I knew deep in my soul that there was nothing I could do about it at that moment, but I could control other things and so I did….I immediately went down to the elementary and middle school and yanked my kids out and proceeded to home-school them part time.

 Lesson #3 – Never make extreme decisions in a time of adjustment and chaos, they will most likely always be bad ones.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have thought in the past of home-schooling my kids and completely admire my friends who do it.  I just don’t think that in a season of newness, adjustment and remodeling our home was it wise to bring all of my children home and try to do something like this.  I had thought, emotionally, I needed them with me to deal with the discontentment  I was feeling in life.  Surely, their presence would fill the void and emptiness I was experiencing.  I quickly learned that there was only one place I could go to get the emptiness filled and help I needed.  Psalm 46:1,2 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea”.

God used my brokenness to draw me deeper and further into a personal relationship with Him.  I clung to Him daily as my only real source of strength to get through this time.  I hated where I lived, I hated my home, I hated home-schooling and would daily grumble and complain to Him about it and what He was going to do to change it.   The beautiful thing about our Papa in Heaven is He gave me the complete freedom and grace to complain about my circumstance.  Never once did He shame or condemn me for what I was feeling, He simply comforted me and encouraged me.

Then there was a day, September 24th 2014.  I was struggling to get through another day of home-schooling and the daily routine that I was still having a hard time adjusting to.  It was fall and by golly despite it being 95 degrees outside, I was going to cook something fallish for my family!  I bought a butternut squash and was prepping it to put in the oven.  Anyone who has ever tried to cut a butternut squash can understand the pain of this experience for me, plus I was not in the mood to fight with a squash!  I grabbed it like a football and with the other hand took my machete, (ok it was a knife), and hacked it as hard as I could.  Not only did I not cut the squash, but somehow I managed to cut my finger.20140924_173415

Remember how I shared that I lived 30 minutes from Austin out in the hill country, ya well I was very quickly reminded of that in my panicked state of mind trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding.  Meanwhile, my 3 kids are sitting at the table waiting for their next assignments, screaming that mom just cut off her finger!  I called 911, (maybe an ambulance would be easier than trying to find a local urgent care).  Apparently my phone called the state of Washington 911 and they told me they don’t drive to Texas so I had to figure something else out.  I looked at my kids and made a decision, “you guys stay here, I’m going to wrap my finger and run into a town and look for a place to get stitched”.

I jumped in my SUV and proceeded down my windy, 3 mile stretch of road just to get onto the main hwy that’s going to take me 20 minutes from there to get anywhere, “Please God don’t let me pass out while driving”!  I began sobbing – this was normal now, but this was the one like the head in the stove experience.  Hysterically driving down my Texas road, I turned on the radio and was immediately met with my song, “Home” by Phillip Phillips.  Once again I was comforted in such a unique and sweet way – my finger still hurt and I was still crying, but it was the first time I started looking at everything and this song differently.  It took on a new meaning, or at least the beginning of a new meaning and I started to view what God was saying to me through this song as not an actual physical place.  Eph 3:17 – “That Christ may make His HOME in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

My finger was stitched, my kids were OK and I was actually able to make it home in time to make my butternut squash for dinner.  Lesson #4 – When you feel in life that you are run down, broken and totally incapable of going on, God is empowered and steps in to pull you through;  2 Cor. 12:9-10 – “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Through my trials and hardships, there were invaluable lessons to be learned and God so sweetly and gentled taught them to me.  He showed me how to truly lean only on Him for comfort and peace and was revealing to me that He is my home and shelter.  There was however a lesson that had yet to be learned and that was the lesson of contentment.  I had friends who had pointed it out and I saw it in myself but wasn’t sure how I was going to weed this ever present sin in my heart?

In April of 2015 Michael and I were invited to go to an orphanage in Kenya, Africa.   A fully paid trip to see if we were the right fit to build a medical center there in the village.  Michael and I spent 12 days with the beautiful people of Eldoret.  Here are a very few of the many pictures I took.

I thought this trip was meant for business, opportunity, a way for the Larson’s to help out an amazing ministry.  Nope – God had other plans!  He rocked me to my very core of discontentment and touched it in a way that only going to a 3rd world country really can.  I saw things that I couldn’t process, poverty on a level that was inhumane.  I kept trying to understand it all…everything was difficult for these people!  Water, food, medicine and even love was something that was a hardship.  Yet – here was the craziest part of it all – they were the happiest people I had ever met.  They had nothing and yet they were so filled with joy – how???   They were experiencing the true “Joy of the Lord” and were filled with so much love in their hearts that they were overflowing.  They had nothing to distract them because they had so little and were able to focus their time and energy on the only lasting thing that really matters – Jesus!

I went home a different person, praise God and the words of Paul echoed in my heart and still remain true for me today; “for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Phill – 4:11-13.  Lesson #5 – Contentment and joy in life are not by products of our circumstances but decisions and choices of our hearts.  I wake up every day with a thankfulness, not because of what I have but because of who He is and the abundant amount of grace He daily bestows on me.

Once I surrendered myself to God’s plan, learned to be content in any circumstance and began wrapping my arms around Texas and our little home out in the hill country is when God released us from there.  I had to go around a few mountains before I was able to move on to the next lesson that I’m sure I have waiting for me here in Boise, but until I learned the lesson of contentment in a a place I didn’t like, then I couldn’t go.  Lesson #6 – God will leave us sometimes in places of hardship, trial and discomfort until we fully surrender all control to Him and find peace under His wing.

In the end, it was actually Michael who made the final call to move us back to the PNW.  I was actually kinda cool with staying and made the decision in my heart that it would be great.  When we decided as a family to move back, I thought a lot about the Phillip Phillips song and the meaning for me behind it.  At the end of the day it didn’t matter if I lived in Texas, Seattle, Boise, California or even Kenya for Pete’s Sake!  My “Home” was in the arms of my savior and King and as long as I remained in my true home – I could go where ever I wanted – now THAT is true freedom!!

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One thought on “Home

  1. April-What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing your heart, a real blessing for me. I pray that God will continue to build your faith there in Boise!

    Like

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