Get Real.

OK.  So, a lot of people have written me saying something along the lines of, “I love your blog, it’s great to keep up with what you guys are doing.  But HONESTLY…how are you REALLY doing with it all??  How do you really like it?  How do you really feel?”

The truth may surprise you, but we REALLY LIKE IT.  Michael and I are really happy and we are really happy HERE.

To be honest, I didn’t know how I would like living in Brazil, I mean, I had never been here until we stepped off the plane almost 2 months ago.  I had never spoken Portuguese.  I didn’t have a job lined up.  With the exception of Michael’s brother, Joe, I didn’t know anyone.  So in most ways it felt like a pretty big leap of faith to move here.  But it was a carefully contemplated and thoroughly prayed over leap.  And while I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into, I knew that I didn’t know.  What I mean is that I knew that what laid ahead was an adventure.  I knew that I would need to be flexible, patient and not too serious.  I knew that simple things would suddenly become difficult.  I knew that I was leaving my career behind and that I would feel dependent on Michael in a new way (that is not necessarily a fun way).  I knew that I would feel lonely and miss my friends and family…  So although I didn’t know WHAT to expect, I think I knew HOW to expect it.

And it turns out that while simple things ARE difficult and I AM dependent on Michael, while I DON’T have a career here and I DO miss my family and friends…it has actually been fun.  No, I should say it IS fun.  We are really enjoying the day-to-day and we KNOW that this is the right place for us right now.  Michael and I are constantly saying to each other that we can’t believe we are really here, doing this.  I mean, I get to be on this great adventure in a really cool city with my best friend.  We have met a ton of awesome people – expats and Brazilians.  Honestly, I feel incredibly LUCKY that Michael is working so hard to provide us with this amazing experience.  And I know that he feels lucky too, that I am supporting him in as he goes after his dreams.  Maybe I expected it to be harder than it is, living here.  And there are definitely moments when it’s difficult.  But I think that’s more just LIFE than Brazil.  I mean come on, life is just tough sometimes, right??

I will say that I have cried ONE TIME since we landed in Brazil.  Only once, but it was a big one.  It was about a week after we had moved here, Michael had started working, and I felt sadness about the “loss” of my career and confusion about my place here.  I think that at this age and especially in big cities, we tend to place a lot of value on being BUSY all of the time.  It makes us feel important.  And the reality is that I’m just not that busy here. I have FREE TIME.  And free time might sound nice, but I bet if a lot of you had free time for a month straight, you might feel a little insecure.  A little like, “What the eff am I doing?”  So I was feeling that way.  But, it has truly been a blessing to me.  It revealed to me that I was finding some of my value in places that were neither real nor lasting versus in Christ.  A friend once told me that business [of activity] is sometimes a mask for laziness of mind and spirit.  I have definitely been guilty of that and I feel like over the past few months God has been sloooowing me down.  Not just for the sake of slowing down and stepping back.  But stepping back in order to step TOWARD Him.  After all, that is what we see Jesus doing throughout His life.  Taking time to withdraw not just to “get away” but to get closer to God.  And so this is what I have been learning lately, or trying to learn.

Clearly I do not mean that working or being busy are negative things.  (In fact this may be the busiest time in Michael’s career.)  I think it’s normal for me to feel sad about not being able to continue my career AND I feel confident that over time I will find my place here more and more.  I’m just saying that right now, for me, this time has been a blessing and God is using it to grow me in new ways.  To grow me in my love for Him, my trust in Him, and my security in His promises.  Which makes me all the more thankful to be here, and all the more certain that this is right.

So.  THAT is the real deal. 

11 thoughts on “Get Real.

  1. What an adventure. I am so happy for you. And I, for one, knew that you would be happy there because you are with Michael. I miss you and I love you!!!!

  2. Love this honest post–especially the line about “Not just for the sake of slowing down and stepping back. But stepping back in order to step TOWARD Him.” I am still trying to find a balance between pure relaxation, structured study of the Word during “down time” and working/being busy. (You know I love a good project! ha)

    I am excited for you and will be praying that you continue to glorify God and encourage those around you (and yes, virtual encouragement counts!!). I say “continue” because you already are! I love you!

  3. I am impressed with your “real deal” Ashley. I DO have a job and my big cries (I would venture to call them close to mental breakdowns) have happened waaaaay more than once. Though not for a few months now, so that is progress ;). I love your positive attitude. You are awesome and I am CERTAINLY glad you and Michael are here! Beijos!

  4. Your writings, especially this one is insightful and inspiring. A real gift. If you didn’t have the free time that you talk about, then this blog might not be touching so many people.

  5. I am happy to hear that you are having such a wonderful attitude about your adventurous new domicile. Learning and yearning to live an adventurous life will produce no regrets!

    All the best,
    Uncle Ladd

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