In September of this year, my husband took the pastorate of a Baptist church in a small, military town in Twentynine Palms, California. My husband was born a Hoosier and raised a Hoosier, and I have lived with him in Northwest Indiana since we were married 26 years ago. Needless to say, this move has been a HUGE change in our lives, and if we were stagnant--at all--and I'm not saying we were--well, we sure not stagnant now! Daryl has worked at Hyles-Anderson College for nearly 20 years, and I taught English there for the past 9 years. Now he is a pastor, and I am a homeschooling mom to 3 of my kids-Jessica (17), William (15), and Keith (12). Our oldest son James just turned 22, and made this move with us. He will be finishing college at West Coast Baptist College in the near future (which could be next semester or next year).
I really did not understand the phrase "culture shock" until this move--now I get it! We moved from a four bedroom bi-level home in the heart of the Midwest to an apartment in the Morongo Valley in the Mojave Desert. We went from being members of a mega-church to belonging to a church that runs approximately a hundred people. I was used to having any store imaginable available in just a 5-10 minute drive; now we have to drive "down the hill" which is really a mountain pass about 35 minutes away to get to the mall. Just adjusting from the Midwestern politics to California politics is eyeopening! We are coming to understand that we were cushioned with Christians back in our old life--meaning, from work to church to fellowship to everything imaginable, we were surrounded with Christians. Even Walmart in Schererville, Indiana was like a microcosm of our church, the First Baptist Church of Hammond. Every time I walked into that store, I was surrounded by fellow church members.
I have always tried to have an open heart as to what God is teaching me. I thought that maybe by writing my experiences in our new life, I will come to appreciate the reality of where God has placed us at this point in our lives. Okay, God, what do You want me to learn?
My first lesson is that everything in life is balanced. Pickles in Indiana were abundant and cheap but orange juice was expensive. Here in Yucca Valley where we live, the orange juice is the best I have ever had and about $3 per gallon, but pickles are expensive! Indiana is very green with lush grass and trees; a sight which is very beautiful; California is mountainous and has a vast array of beauty that we love to explore. I loved teaching English; now I love teaching my kids. We left my mother-in-law, sister-in-laws, and their families, but now we are only an hour away from my brother-in-law Keith, his amazing wife Tracy, and their kids, Lauren and Will. Even though stores galore are not found here, we do have a Walmart and even a mini-JC Penney. We do have 4 grocery stores in Yucca Valley, so obviously we're not hurtin' for food! Although we traded a house for an apartment, I like the apartment. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and my husband and I have the nicest bedroom we have ever had! It all balances out. I really did already know that, but this move is driving the point home. God is always good!
I don't want to stop learning until I'm dead. Even then I will be alive in Heaven and learning all about God and all about Heaven. So, I hope that you will join me in looking for God's lessons every day.