Dolphins in the Desert

May 22, 2008 at 9:29 am (Uncategorized)

I figure since we have moved many, many miles from our last location it is now alright to reveal where we have been living for the last 4 years.

So sit down and get ready!

Yep, Las Vegas Baby!  Now, I am sure you are probably wondering how a conservative Christian homeschool family ever ended up in Las Vegas!  Well, I will tell you it was NOT my idea! I went there kicking and screaming!  Everything in my mind, body and soul told me NOT to go to Las Vegas.  However, my husband had a different view.  His job wanted to transfer him and it seemed like a good career opportunity at the time. I had always told him I would follow his job anywhere since it allowed me to stay home, but I didn’t mean LAS VEGAS!!!  However, no matter how much I heard no, he heard yes and eventually I did the only thing I could.  I submitted to my husband.  So with our 9 year old, 2 year old and 3 week old we headed off to Sin City.  I was sure my children would be ruined for life!

To say I was terrified was an understatement.  I had been to Las Vegas a few time.  (My husband and I were married there 15 years earlier.) and although there were a few fun things to do is was certainly not a place I wanted to expose my children to!  However, I had to trust God and my husband. 

One day shortly after we had moved I was in my "making the best of it" mode. I took the kids to the Mirage Casino to go see the dolphins and other exotic animals they have there.  The exhibit is really nice, but of course you have to walk through the whole Casino to get through it.  After we had been there watching the dolphins awhile my then 9 year old son said to me "You know Mom, we are just like these dolphins in the desert.  As Christians we don’t really feel we belong here, but we just have to make the best of it, trust God and try to adjust."  WOW!  From the mouths of babes!  From that point on I always considered us "dolphins in the desert."  We may not feel we belonged there, but we could survive and God would provide what we needed to get us through a challenging time.

And provide He did!  I cannot say that my heart turned around and I got a good attitude about living in Las Vegas right then and there.  Trust me I continued to argue with both my husband and God about what we were doing there.  But, God did provide the most amazing people to love and support us.  It never occurred to me back then that someday when we did leave I would actually MISS people from Las Vegas!  I never imagined the amazing Christians I would meet there that would teach me so much.  I never dreamed the lessons He was going to teach me or the changes He would make in me along the way.  Much of the journey was NOT pretty.  I am not necessarily proud of my attitude or actions along the way.  But, I did learn more in those 4 uncomfortable years that I ever could of if He had left me in my comfortable place where I yearned to stay.

In the end I am glad He loved me enough to take me down a REALLY tough path. Our pastor in California use to say "God loves you just the way you are, as a matter of fact he loves you too much to leave you there!"  I am glad for the pain and sorrow.  I learned to trust and love both God and my husband in a whole new way.  I now know for sure that both of them did it for my own good.  They were doing what needed to be done, even when I didn’t want them to.

As for all the harm I thought would come to my kids?  They have pretty much come out of Las Vegas unharmed.  I have had to explain a few things to my oldest that I would have preferred not to. (But, in this day and age it is probably a blessing he learned these things from Mom and Dad!)  He did not turn into the hard core sinner I thought he would!  LOL  The Little’s are pretty much unaware of the Sin part of Sin City.  They associate Las Vegas with home, friends, church and buffets!  LOL  (If anyone asks my now 7 year old if she liked Las Vegas she says "I LOVED the buffets!" LOL)

So what did I learn in my four years in the desert?  (I like to think I am in good company with being sent to the desert by God!)

  1. I learned that no matter where you go God is there.  I know as a Christian of nearly 30 years I should have already known that!  The truth is that I would have said I knew it, but now I really do know it deep in my heart
  2. I learned that sometimes God does His best work when we are at our lowest point.  – Honestly, I could not have learned the things I did had we not have moved away from California.  I was so comfortable there.  I loved my life and even though it revolved around church, it wasn’t always about God.  I really thought I had it much more together than I did and I didn’t even realize how much he still had to teach me!
  3. I learned that I can get mad at God and He will still love me.  I mean really mad.  There were times I was amazed He did not send a lightening bolt for me!  I learned that people in the Bible argued with God. (Moses and Lot both come to mind.)
  4. I learned that I need to be less judgemental and accept and love people. Even if I don’t approve of someone actions they are just as much a child of God as I am.  Sometimes I don’t even think there is that much more sin in Las Vegas than in any little town.  I just think that when you live in a place that proudly calls itself “Sin City” is is more socially acceptable to be open about your sin.  I have seen such brokenness in the lives of so many people in Las Vegas.  It is really heart breaking.  I really did learn to see beyond the brokenness and love people in a different way during the time we spent in Las Vegas.  Not only is sin more acceptable, there is also a LOT more temptations!  Staying pure in Las Vegas is not an easy task.
  5. I learned that God will protect my children even better than I can! – Wow, the fact that my kids came out pretty much unscathed from our 4 years in Las Vegas I can only attribute to Him!  We learned pretty quickly to stay away from the Strip.  (Although you can’t live there and avoid it completely.)  So many times I was amazed as I would see some sign on a taxi or billboard that horrified me and I would look back at my kids in the car and they were minding their own business blissfully unaware of what was happening outside the car windows. If that is not divine intervention I don’t know what is!
  6. I learned that God will get his point across!  Even if it means your husband’s time in the desert is over, God will keep you in the desert another year to figure out what you are suppose to learn!  – After my husband left to start his new job I knew this is what God was up to!  (The humor of my husband wanting to go there and me being stuck there was NOT lost on me!  LOL) I knew as the saying goes that “God isn’t finished with me yet!”  So while the kids and I stayed behind waiting for the house to sell I adjusted my attitude!  I began to pray that God would not let us leave until I had learned whatever it was He had sent me there to learn! (YIKES)  I began to dive into Bible study and church.  I applied myself like I never had before!  And yes, I did learn what He wanted me to in that last year.  I wish I could say is was something earth shattering, well it was for me!  But, all I can say is this list is what He need me to really get into my heart.  I have no idea where God is going to take me from here.  But, I do know I am a better person for the 4 years I spent in Las Vegas.  I love the Lord even more and I love others more too!  That is a lesson worth learning!


One last thing…During the years we were in Las Vegas whenever we would travel people would always ask  me "What is the weirdest thing about living in Las Vegas?"  I would always reply "The weirdest thing about living in Las Vegas is that people who live there don’t realize it is weird to live in Las Vegas!"  LOL

If you would like to read more about what God is doing in Las Vegas I would highly recommend the book Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas.  It was written by a Las Vegas pastor and it is awesome!

If you are interested in learning about an amazing ministry that is coming to Las Vegas check out The Vegas Project!



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8 Comments

  1. Dana @ School For Us said,

    First of all, I had no idea you were living in Las Vegas. You've "hid" it pretty well. 🙂 And, I LOVE what you shared about what God taught you. And, I LOVE that you prayed for Him not to remove you until you'd learned the lessons He wanted to teach you. Thanks for sharing them! And, may God continue to bless you as you move on into all God has for you…
    Dana, http://www.alexml.blogspot.com

  2. amuller said,

    That is terrific. Thanks for sharing. I always thought you lived in AZ for some reason. You've taught me a few good lessons in this post. Thanks for sharing how God has been working in you and your life.www.homeschoolblogger.com/mulleracademy

  3. redmom said,

    Thanks for sharing that and for a great reminder.

  4. kaenhu said,

    So now you've told everyone. LOL You forgot one other great thing about Vegas. I would not have met you 3 years ago if you lived anywhere else!!! And now I get to meet you in a more sane place. LOL Welcome to our state! Yay! And thank God for sustaining you in Vegas.

  5. tiredmom said,

    I grew up in Las Vegas–lived there for nearly 20 years so I have a soft spot for that city, but I really didn't want to raise my kids there. Not so much because of the sin–that really is everywhere–but because after living in the green, green South I never want to live somewhere that is so BROWN!

  6. Anonymous said,

    How sad reading this post made me feel…. I am one of those homeschoolers you pointed out…. I love Las Vegas and I do not believe my children will come out of Las Vegas harmed by it's "sin" It is not wierd here… It is so sad to see such judgement come from such a lovely person…. I believe my children will come from Las Vegas as non-judgemental people… and love as Jesus loved…. From your Non-Christain Friend….

  7. Anonymous said,

    Conservative Christian homeschooler here in Vegas! After living in many different cities I have come to love, love, love Las Vegas for all of it's diversity. There are some amazing Christians here! There are so many opportunities to shine for God and show His love. I am thankful to be able to raise my children here, all of the people we meet, different experiences and ways of life they get to see, even if we don't agree with all of them, lol. Sorry we never got a chance to meet (although I believe we have a few mutual friends 🙂 )

  8. Anonymous said,

    Conservative Christian homeschooler from Vegas, but not living there now. Sigh… I get so HOMESICK for Vegas, yet I love where we are now. LOL, if you start getting homesick for Vegas too!

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