“What do your days look like?”
“What does a normal week look like for you guys?”
These are questions we get asked a lot (strangely enough), and we don’t mind, since it is a very different life we live here then our 7-3pm job we had in the states. And a lot of times we don’t even know how to answer that question…what is a normal week for us? What does a normal day consist of? What is normal? Haha!
It is sometimes hard to answer those questions when we sometimes don’t even know the answers, and I think that is okay.
It has been something I have been pondering for a while and coming to terms with myself (which has been a journey in and of itself since I am Mrs. Routine and LOVE daily rhythms and schedules and to-do lists and knowing ahead of time and planning and ALL that sometimes gets thrown out the window…what a journey it’s been, creating rhythms where there is so much static you have to be intentional and “listen” carefully, or when there is just silence and the rhythms don’t come easily, sometimes just in your head)
So here is our attempt at sort of answering a sometimes-ambiguous question. Here is our attempt at grasping at a “normal” that maybe is not our normal anymore. Do you get what I am trying to say? Maybe?
Now I need to start by saying we are always caught between two, for sure, etched in stone rhythms/routines:
When a Merge team is here vs. when a Merge team is not here
1. When a Merge team is here:
- Monday: with the team
- Tuesday: with the team
- Wednesday: with the team
- Thursday: with the team
- Friday: with the team
- Saturday: with the team
- Sunday: with the team
So as you can see, when a Merge team is here, we basically are 24/7 with the team. And we follow the rhythm and routine of that specific schedule for the week.
2. When a Merge team is not here:
And let me preface this by saying, this is how an average week could, more often then not, looks like. Some weeks, it does not even resemble this routine:
- Monday: Office day (Writing cards, answering emails, working on Merge and budget accounts, planning future meetings and teachings and preachings)
- Tuesday: Marriage Bible Study (We love our Marriage bible study group and wish we could go every Tuesday of the month)
- Wednesday: Bible Study in the mountains (always look forward to this, we usually bring some baked goods to share, sing together, read a chapter of the bible together, converse and ask questions and seek answers together, and eat together)
- Thursday: Meetings day and travel day (we try to use this day to schedule any meetings with pastors, church boards, and ministry committees)
- Friday: Restocking day, cleaning day, laundry day (we use this day to go food shopping, to clean the house, do laundry, bake bread and sweets, and this is our movie night of the week as well)
- Saturday: Free day, exploration day, and pancake breakfast day (it’s hard sometimes not to want to live for this day…I also like to call this day, “Soul Care Day”, as we use this day to do activities or not do activities to feed and care for our souls)
- Sunday: Church, preaching, meetings day, plan and prepare for new week (Sundays can sometimes be the busiest day of the week with a lot of times having to go and preach in other churches, or teach classes or have meetings with church boards and pastors)
So that, my friends, is an attempt at answering your question: “what do your days look like” as we continue to discover for ourselves what it looks like and means to us.
So here we are, almost two months in of living in Ibarra and slowly putting down roots and rhythms.
It is really different being here and not driving across the country having Merge meetings one day on the coast and the next in the jungle.
It’s given us a chance to really connect, get involved, and start to establish and continue different rhythms and routines (which are so grounding for me).
I am learning to appreciate and look for the routines in each season, the crazy Merge summers and the more “slow” autumn and winter seasons. I really appreciate both.
We are so, so grateful for this season; It’s been wonderful to get to hang out with friends (and family soon!) here, get involved in local ministries, bake and cook our own food, learn more about this culture and country we live in, become friends with the local fruit market owner, and start to dream and plan for future ministry ideas.
It has been really great for me to start to connect more here with friends as well. I am so thankful for the sort of built-in friendships I have because of Richard and his amigos here, but it’s been an answer to prayer to be able to connect and form friendships with some incredible ladies here as well!
So from fixing the car, mission meetings, ministry plans and talks, and planning Merge teams, to buying water, getting gas, paying the electrical bill, and baking bread; it’s all been and is a different and welcomed new season right now and I am just so grateful.
Thanks for following along and for your encouragement and support!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
I am reminded again and again how this walk of life with Christ is not about following a set of rules. How it is not about striving, trying to be perfect, trying to cover all our grounds, trying to know all this and learn all that, doing what we ought to do because we ought to do it…. It’s so much deeper, yet so simple. It is liturgical and yet so spontaneous, it is within an institution and yet not able to be confined, it is heartache and suffering yet joy and hope, it is valleys and mountains, and all the while, it is, it truly is, walking with him, through everything, in everything. It is knowing he walks with us.
“And more important than whether something is old or new, winsome or classic is whether it is real…whether it moves us closer to God and to our suffering neighbor. Whether it has fruit outside of our own good feelings” S. Claiborne.
I think so often I lose sight of what his yoke really is. What walking with him is really like…do I even walk with him? Or am I trying to find my own ground in the rush and busyness of life that I forget that he would so love for me to slow down a little and learn his unforced rhythms of grace.
A couple days ago I was worrying about all that encompasses this life we are living right now: a lack of routine, constantly moving and traveling, no jobs, no financial security, unknown month, no house, etc. As I was in this downward pattern of thought (because worrying truly only takes me down), while heating up my coffee in the microwave of the church kitchen with the mumbling of voices fellowshipping in the background, I had a thought, a voice saying something to me…”get away with me and I’ll show you how to take a real rest, walk with me and work with me, watch how I do it, come learn the unforced rhythms of grace”. And then my coffee exploded in the microwave and I dismissed the pleasant words and said, “screw coffee today” and went to find a seat in the sanctuary.
But a little while later, while voices were mumbling and trying to sing the new song the worship team was playing, I again started worrying about how we were going to afford this and do that, and how we were going out to eat with friends to meet and celebrate the birth of their one-month-old son and how we had twenty dollars cash that we could use but we really should be spending it on something other than eating out, etc. and again I had a thought, like a quiet voice saying, “get away with me, walk with me, trust me” So I decided to listen. And I half-heartily, and almost unwillingly decided to respond when I felt like I was suppose to give ten of the twenty dollars away, but again, I heard, “walk with me, trust me”. So we headed to the restaurant with ten dollars and met our friends and ten seconds after I sit down, a friend that I haven’t seen in years came up and gave me twenty dollars that she said she owed me.
I am not equating following his unforced rhythms of grace with getting money or everything that we want. Rather, I am learning, or re-learning to get away and follow his unforced rhythms, of how he does things, not how I would like to do them. I am learning that he will provide, although it may not come how or when I think it will.
I don’t believe that living freely and light means I won’t walk through hard times or trials…I have had my fair share of those and I know I will walk through more, but when I “get away” with him and talk with him, he is really good at putting perspective on circumstances, and…honestly, sometimes he doesn’t, but although I may not understand, I know he will not leave me and I know the more I get away with him, the more I’ll learn, both intrinsically and experientially, about how truly loving, trustworthy, and faithful he really is. I will learn how to live freely and light in the midst of trials and joys, in the midst of unknowns and knowns, in the midst of routine or no routine, in the midst of coffee and my whole world exploding and his steady voice guiding me to the unforced rhythms of his grace.
the smell of fallen leaves
the sun at 11 o’clock am
being able to be alone
flowers and plants
the instant cozy vibe: snow falling + candles burning + dustin o’halloran
learning the rhythms of our sabbath
lauryn hill and loud speakers
getting back into that ballet