Making a cross-cultural move always has some degree of excitement to it. There was a time in our lives that we thought excitement would carry us through the stress of a cross-cultural move. Fortunately, before we moved to Costa Rica, we realized that, as much as we love adventure, adventure is not enough to provide endurance under stress.
Stress is finally catching up with us, just a bit. The unexpected "adventure" that we rejoice to find ourselves in (i.e. adding another member to our family this year) is so exciting! But the reality is that even excitement (i.e., adventure) brings stress; in this case, it's the "mommy feels yucky all the time" kind of stress, which brings the "daddy has to do a lot more" kind of stress and the "why don't mommy and daddy have time for _____ anymore" kind of stress.
And so we enter a phase of the adventure that requires a lot of stress management; how can we constantly, consciously bring our stress levels down so that they do not stay elevated? A friend wisely reminded us that living stressed actually works again our language learning by in effect killing the brain cells that we need in order to learn a new language. Not to mention that living stressed brings out the worst in us, making it oh-so-very-easy to respond in harshness to those we love most. The long-term effects of allowing stress to dominate our lives are scary indeed.
Once again my favorite book brings a Word of hope that I can grab onto: "Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into My Presence." Yes, we know that eating right, getting enough sleep (!?!), and exercising (no worries there with all the walking) are great ways to manage stress, and we're doing our best at them. But there is no better antidote for stress than sitting in the Presence of the Prince of Peace. Pray for us to keep going there - and more than just in the morning for a few concentrated moments. Pray for us to live there. "In Your Presence all my fears are washed away..."
The Spirit has been encouraging me with these words today: "I will not ask you to do anything that I will not give you the strength to do." Today I survived a church service with no nursery with a very cranky but incredibly active one year old; it was not fun. But as I sat in an empty room (which I was very thankful for) with him as he screamed, the Spirit said, "If I ask you to do this, I will help you do it. I will even help you do it with a heart that is at rest in me and not full of frustration." This is what I long for - to do everything with a heart that rests in Him instead of pumping the heat of frustration through my veins.
I/we do not have all the answers. We will have many choices over the next several months; we will need wisdom for how to navigate these waters of childbirth during language school. Knowing that we have friends and family who love us, support us, and believe in us is HUGE - thank you for expressing your support for us.