The last three weeks have been pretty up and down. Overall, things are peachy keen. I am feeling a lot more settled this year than I was at this time last year, I will tell you that much! As I’ve started writing this, two iguanas have run past me seeking shelter as another mid-day tropical rain settles in. The neighbour scrambles to get her laundry. I hear fires crackling with lunch preparations, worship music blasting, and birds chirping. It feels normal and good. I’ve even gotten used to squishing the ants off of my hands and double-checking my coffee mug for bugs before I take a sip of my tea. I can kill a tarantula without flinching. I’ve started attending a Bible study with some lovely girls, running regularly again, striving to eat better, working towards building better relationships. And yet… Something feels off some days. This work and this life are still really, really hard some days.
A friend here is quite literally the exact opposite of me, so I trust her to be a good perspective for me in many things. After spending an evening together talking, she says, “I think this is what it is: You can do anything for a year. We are past that. Now this is real life. This is where many tensions and realities come out for the first time.” Yes. That’s what it is. This is not an adventure. This is not a trip. This is life. I am here for living. And this life gets just as messy as anyone else’s. I am planting roots. And that is sometimes painful, awkward, impossibly hard, and it reveals the less-than-glamourous sides of people and situations. Being able to recognize that has been really helpful and offers me a new hopefulness. These are just the growing pains of digging and settling into real life here.
I continue to learn more and more each day and God is shaping me and revealing Himself to me in absolutely astounding ways all the time, but this month He’s especially shown me that I just need to keep myself healthy. I don’t need to work and goal-set and practice and force growth every moment of every day. I can just keep myself healthy and He will do His work in growing me. So, I am simplifying expectations and guess what? After too long of feeling guilty for not loving well enough, forgiving often enough, or trusting deep enough, I took a step back and quit trying so hard. And I am better at those things now.
I. Did. Nothing.
I just let myself be open (by praying, learning, reading, and listening) and let God flow in and out and do all that hard work of loving. Because I sucked at it, but He is so, so good at it!
Some Fun Highlights of the Month:
Fiestas Patrias (this year we did a dance from the Atlantic Coast – much different from last year) – I also celebrated the holiday at the beach with lots of friends
Parent Conferences – one parent told us NCA is her son’s favourite school because he gets to worship there, and, “How cool is that, Mom?!” It is a lot of work, but I love conferencing with parents and sharing in conversations with them. This year I understood a lot more of what was being said and didn’t need all of it translated back into English for me. Success!