I haven’t written a blog in what feels like ages. Actually, according to WordPress archives, it has been almost a year and a half. I guess once I stopped being a “missionary” in another country, I figured it wasn’t worth updating everyone on my life and what was happening nonstop. But then again, life is just as interesting as it is ever been before. And just as my last blog stated, life is every bit as worth writing about now as it was before, just from a different perspective these days.
Feliz Navidad Everyone! December 21, 2015
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the primary reasons Andrew and I came home from Costa Rica when we did was because we felt that God was calling us to return to the United States and begin a family. Therefore, that’s just what we did! In the summer after we returned, we decided to try and have a baby. We were so fortunate and exactly in the part of the plan where we were supposed to be because within just a few months I became pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. I could talk for ages about being pregnant, but I will leave it at a surreal experience. When we went to Costa Rica last year for the Christmas parties in December, I was already pregnant and didn’t know it. Everyone kept asking when we were going to have kids and we kept saying we don’t know. But one person there already seemed to know. Pastor Maria, the woman that led our women’s ministry, told me that I was pregnant the moment I first saw her. As in those were the first words out of her mouth. I told her that I wasn’t because I honestly didn’t know that I was. And she just pointed up towards the sky and told me that she knew that I was pregnant because God had let her know that.
Fast forward a bit to August of this year and here we are with our sweet baby, Ruth Mary Elizabeth Davis. I had no idea what to expect from motherhood but it’s greater than anything I could’ve ever imagined, all the while being the most challenging thing that I ever could’ve ever imagined. Many, many moons ago, I was talking with a friend who is a bit older than I was and she mentioned being a stay-at-home mom finally when she didn’t think that would be possible years prior to that. But somehow God made it possible for her and her family financially. I related to her so much in that moment because Andrew and I had just gotten married and we were young. It didn’t seem possible that we would ever be at a place financially that I would be able to stay at home with our kids, which was my dream. My first job out of college was a great place to start, but let me tell you – I was making next to nothing. I had coworkers that had student loans and just couldn’t make it work, that’s how little we made. But such is life and that’s where you start sometimes. Needless to say, as little as my income was, it certainly didn’t seem possible to eliminate it and become a stay-at-home mom.
God intricately plans things for us in ways that we could never understand until the plan truly starts to unfold. Several years ago before we became missionaries, we used to think we needed a whole lot more than we did in life. One of the greatest lessons that God could’ve ever taught me is contentment. It’s not a lesson that everyone necessarily wants to learn, but it’s an incredible thing. When God teaches you that you can be content in all situations with very little, maybe then you’ll realize how much happier you can become. That’s what he did for us. He sent us as missionaries to Costa Rica with four suitcases and that was it. He provided everything we needed and we never went without. But we certainly lived with a lot less than we were accustomed to. When we return to the United States, unpacking all of our things was a gut-wrenching experience. I realized all of the excess I had in my life and almost felt physically sick by it all. Those few weeks when we were moving back into our home were very eye-opening. We once considered our little beach house as a starter home because it was “way too small.” Now that doesn’t mean that someday we won’t move to a bigger house, but suddenly now we realize that this house is perfect for us and way bigger than any home we would live in if we were back in Costa Rica right now.
Only in my wildest dreams did I believe that I could be a stay-at-home mom. And now suddenly here I am, writing this blog as I sip my coffee and my baby sleeps in her crib, today December 21st – the day that my maternity leave ended and I should be back at work right now. Sometimes we think things are impossible, and here God is to show us that if we are faithful and follow His plan and learn the things in life that He’d like us to learn, perhaps things really are much more possible than we ever imagined.
I know this has turned into a blog of many different things, but I promise I’m getting to the point where I talk about our recent trip to Costa Rica. We knew this trip would be a complete 180 from anything we’ve experienced there before. Bringing a baby seemed a little overwhelming at first. But the thing is, if you want your children to grow up knowing who you are, then you have to show them who you are. Ruth will grow up to realize that her mom and dad weren’t just missionaries a long time ago, that they believe in the mission right here and right now. It’s as important now as it ever was before. We hope and pray that she’ll grow up realizing that mission work is a normal part of life, not something special and not something for a select few that are called to do it. I hope she realizes that everyone is called to do it and that’s just who we are.
Leading up to the trip, the preparation seemed to be out of control. You never know what babies are going to need and when they’re going to need it, so you just seem to pack everything. When the day finally came, we were ready and we went for it. Ruth was the best traveler I could ever have imagined. My sweet little smiley 3 1/2 month old baby boarded her first plane and fell right to sleep. The day of travel was long but uneventful, thank God. When we arrived at the mission, the children saw us coming and were beyond excited. One of the most endearing things that I saw throughout our time there was the sweet, sweet love that the children have for baby Ruth. They asked about her constantly and were so careful with her the entire time we were there. I wasn’t sure if I would let her leave the apartment much because I didn’t know how practical it would be to bring her in front of floods of children, but in no time at all, I found myself taking her down to the playground to sit and watch the children. She enjoyed seeing and meeting all the new people and did much better than I could’ve ever expected.
This year marks Andrew and I’s sixth year of being a part of the annual Christmas parties at the mission. Everyone looked forward to Ruth’s presence there this year and everyone is already talking about Ruth’s attendance next year and how she will be walking around and talking. I love that the community there knows without fail that we will return. They never ever ask us if we are coming back, but when will it be. It was one of my dreams when I was pregnant that we would get to do this with our children and I’m so excited that the time is here for us to experience this with Ruth. The people that we love so deeply in Costa Rica, that we are lucky enough to call friends even though they’re really like family, have now met Ruth and have welcomed her into that as well.
One unexpected parallel that I saw during our time there was that motherhood reminds me greatly of what my life was like as a full-time missionary. Interestingly enough, they are the two greatest jobs I have ever had or will ever have in my entire life. They are the most challenging jobs and what I realized is that neither job really gives you a legitimate break to stop what you’re doing. Any parent knows that. Mom and dad don’t get sick days. And maybe a missionary does get a sick day, but my greater point here is that in life, missionaries don’t just get to stop what they’re doing and decide not to love people. They can’t just stop trying to bring people to Jesus Christ. I remember working at the mission all day in the education programs and spending our evenings working with the teenagers in ministry. Those were some long days. Andrew and I would go to bed completely exhausted most days, yet we loved every minute of it. We went to sleep at night physically tired, but so fulfilled by the day’s activities. I think I look at motherhood the same way. Sometimes I go to bed and find myself lying in bed flipping through pictures of Ruth on my phone and realizing even with as tired as I am, I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and do the same exact thing all over again.
I know I’m bouncing around a bit, but I will say that I also had this thought when I was in Costa Rica. Andrew and I have often talked about moving back there with our kids one day, but it became so clear to me while we were there that this season of life is meant to be lived here in the United States. I don’t know how long this season will last, but I know for sure that this season was meant to be lived here. I was fortunate enough to be hired by the mission that I love so dearly to work part time here in the US handling administrative tasks. When I first got pregnant, I remember having dinner with a friend and talking about life in general. I specifically remember saying that it would just be so great to work part time for the mission so that I could still stay at home with my baby. We actually laughed because a job wasn’t on the horizon at that time. I really don’t know what kind of sense of humor God has, but I imagined He smirked at that moment. It seemed like an impossible dream but He had already woven it into the plan for me. Anyways, I feel as though I have talked about all kinds of things that may or may not tie together at all, but that’s a taste of what has been happening lately. Merry Christmas everyone!