I’m Standing With the Ones Who Wait

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Babies, it seems, are everywhere I look. I wish I could tell you that I am 100% happy and content in this current season with both of our careers, surrounded by family, and enjoying our freedom and independence. I wish I could tell you I didn’t want kids just yet. But I can’t.

When my husband and I first moved back to the States after living in Venezuela I knew it was not the right time to have a baby. We needed to get settled, to find work, to take care of a thousand other things. I knew it wasn’t the right time, but oh how I wanted a baby. I spent many a weepy evening crying.

One night over dinner I finally talked to my husband about my frustration with waiting to move into this next step in our family life. I had a long list of things that needed to be settled before we could start thinking about kids and Brandon surprised me by asking, “Why do we have to wait X amount of time? Says who?”

He reminded me that while we had plans, sure, we could also change those plans. I was delighted thinking that the waiting was finally over. But it seems that God’s plans are a little different than mine. There is still no baby in sight. I have no idea when it will happen or if it will happen. You can’t will yourself pregnant.

If I’m honest, each day is a struggle to believe that having a baby is even possible. It’s hard to trust and have faith and to reconcile this desire and God’s goodness with God’s silence in the waiting. Each day I have to choose not to be frustrated or give up hope when the road is dark and bumpy and it’s not what I wanted at all.

I have this dream to be a mother and right now I can’t live it out. Maybe that’s your story too? Maybe there’s something else that’s good and life-changing that you’re waiting for and the road is taking much longer than you ever imagined. I know the struggle. I know the sadness and the moments of panic and wondering, “Will this be forever?”

I do not know the future. I do not know what will happen in the next week, month, year, or years for you or for me. However, as I have spent day after day, month after month in the kind of desperate prayer I do know one thing: Your story is your own.

While it may appear that everyone else in the world is getting married and having babies and doing this and that, that is not actually the case. I have never met two people who have had the same timeline of events in their lives. And I’m willing to bet you that you haven’t, either.

One of the most dangerous pits we can fall into is thinking that, “Everyone else gets to have this but not me. God has forgotten me.”  I promise you this: God has not forgotten you. As I’m in the middle of this season of waiting and wanting, I would give anything to fast-forward to the part where I get what I want. But I know I need to trust, and thank God for working on it, and be open to what God might have in store. God has made everything beautiful in its time.

I promise you this: God has not forgotten you.

I have to hold on to that truth or else I keep falling back into that pit of despair and doubt and self-pity where I’m stuck, unproductive and truthfully, a kill-joy. In the waiting, I have to remember that God is well aware of what is going on. I need to stop focusing on my plans and instead pray a simple prayer, “But in the meantime Lord, what?”

It’s not wrong to dream. I believe that God wants good things for me, and for you too. Wherever you are right now, whatever dream you might be hoping and waiting for, you are not alone. I can promise you this: there is beauty in the way that is unfolding, not shame, not regret, beauty.

In This Time of Waiting.

About two months ago I had the very real and sudden urge to write about what was going on in my heart, mind and current reality. Usually, when that happens I can’t ignore it, I have to sit down right away and the words just pour out. It’s an interesting feeling that takes place once I’ve sat through those writing sessions where I’ve poured out those emotions, feelings, realizations and thoughts until it’s quiet. Until there are no other words left. Until something has been created from a part of my soul, breathing into reality.

When it comes to writing and blogging, I’ve always wanted to be one of those daily stop in’s, causal posts, day-to-day eats/happenings kind of writer… But, I’ve realized that the things that pull me to write, what comes naturally and easily are those posts of more depth and reality, of things I am going through and can connect with other people as well, the realizations that bring life, truth, freedom, joy and meaning.

One of my personal goals (summer project once break begins in 2 weeks) is to write more consistently and do more of the everyday, daily posts, to provide more of an “everyday essence” feel to the blog and snapshot into what real life is, hopefully to connect more with the people near and far.

However, before that begins, I would like to share those last two posts that had been bursting from my heart containing my very real and raw emotions on things that people do not seem to talk about enough. These two posts I had written in one sitting, one after another, but something in me knew that it wasn’t time to post it just yet. A month passed and I still didn’t know what I was supposed to do with them until I came across two websites that share truth, inspiration, and real-life encouragement to people all over the world. I knew immediately I had written those posts for that reason immediately. While I have NEVER submitted anything for posting other than on here, I believed that what I had to say was not just a sentiment that I shared personally, but one that countless others have and still might be experiencing.

I am not going to lie, I am nervous about sharing these because this is as real as the heart gets, and is not in the “happily ever after” stage. It is hard to share real things, to show weakness and vulnerability while waiting for something that you have no idea when or how it will come to pass.

I have attached the links to both of these posts (they act as a two-part series, in a way) below if you want to step into my world, my heart, and my prayers the last year. I am not merely doing this because I love overly sharing about my life to anyone and everyone. I am doing it because I have always believed my writing is not for me alone. Rather, it is meant to connect, encourage, uplift, and create a bridge with someone else out there experiencing something similar too.

All to say, if you have ever waited for something with all of your heart, and are still waiting, then you can relate. I have posted the original submissions below and will put these posts on this blog in the next couple of days/weeks, as well.

Blog Post #1: I’m Standing with the Ones Who Wait

Blog Post #2: Writing in Pencil

I hope these find you in a place where you need to know that you are not alone, that I understand and that we can remind ourselves that there is beauty in waiting and that waiting is not forever.

What to do When You’re Not Where You Want to Be.

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Before we even start, let me preface by saying that I am NOT unhappy exactly or am going through a quarter-life crisis. Just reflecting.

There comes a point in life where I think many of us hit that moment of, “Wait. Is this what I want to be doing?” and we’re left with that weird feeling of doubt. It’s in those moments, whether it happens quickly or it’s a slow build over the course of months or years, that you wonder where that career plan or life path slowly started going in a direction different than what you originally desired or expected.

Sometimes that phase lasts for a bit and then, poof! it’s gone. For others, it’s like a constant itch that can’t be scratched. A bug in the back of the brain. A knowledge of something is different but not knowing exactly what to do about it.

Currently, I feel like I’m in the “itch” stage of life. I have been in the classroom teaching for the past 5 years, have been through many years of training, degrees and learning to be where I am at in my career, have taught every grade from K-12 and many different subjects within those different grades but…. That itch still persists. Even with the ongoing training I still receive and the learning that continues on a day-to-day basis, I just can’t shake the feeling of, “Is this right?” I keep thinking, maybe when I teach this subject to this level? Or maybe at a different school? Or maybe this other combination that I have not tried before?

There comes a point when I have to just stop. For those that are list-makers like me, you can probably relate to what I find myself doing next, the old classic pros and cons list to help guide my thoughts. What I came up with is not surprising to me, there are very clear and rather equal things I like and dislike on both sides, leaving me with the “now what?” that keeps reverberating in my ears.

Do we keep doing something we know we are “able to” and “good at” doing even though there is a part of us that is not fully content?

Or do we choose to listen to that small part of us that is calling out for attention, for some kind of change, even if it means that accepting to listen to it may lead us to a land of unknown?

If you were hoping to read this and get a clear step-by-step guideline for your future, I have to apologize. You see, what I have gathered so far in my own current journey towards direction is that we are not the only ones in this equation.

So much of the time we are convinced that the pressure and decision-making falls on our own shoulders. We feel like we were the ones to choose a path, and we’re the ones who have to sustain and maintain it. No. Matter. What. We feel like we are “failing” if our desires change, if we change our minds, or if we are unhappy. We feel like WE are the ones controlling it all. But you see, it’s that cycle of “we” and that pressure we put on ourselves that is weighing us down and not allowing us to listen and gain the insight we so desire.

This is a season of life where I am learning to listen. Guys, this is hard. I have always been a major doer and extremely task-oriented and achievement-focused. Days off are gold if I have checked everything off the list, professional and personal, even though my soul still feels tired and busy. I am learning right now that the key to figuring out what that voice is saying is to actually stop and, you guessed it, LISTEN.

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I started a journal at the beginning of this January (as in 1 month ago), AND I AM ALREADY HALFWAY THROUGH WRITING IN IT. About what??? About what I think I am hearing, my prayers, thoughts, desires, what I think God wants me to do and how I can still be useful in this season of not loving where I am at but still wanting to be 100% present.

What I have realized so far is that there is something stirring in me. There’s something in the works that I am not fully aware of but I can be expectant and hopeful. I can tune my ears to listen in to the things that excite me, to those passions that are within me. BUT, I can still be engaged in where I am and what I am doing now. Knowing something is ahead does not give me a license to check out and disengage, rather, it allows me to look at things in the light of I may not be doing this exact thing again in the future so I better soak it up.

Yes, saying that and living it are very different things, but I have experienced the awesome shift in perspective and freedom that has been the result of accepting, of acknowledging that something is happening even though I do not know what it is, but, living this particular season with intentionality knowing that the next season will look different.

What does that mean to you? I would encourage you (whether currently content or discontent) to stop. Listen. Write. Reflect. What things are bubbling up inside of you that gives you life and excitement and makes you feel like YOU when you do it? If you do not even know where to begin, talk to someone who is close to you and you might be surprised of what they say.

We are not failures if we desire more than what we are presently living. Rather, this is the beauty of you and I. We were made to create, made to contribute in our own unique way. But, in order to know how to contribute, we have to know what things give us life and were placed inside of each of us by someone more intelligent, strategic and creative than we could ever be.

So take hope, if you’re like me and do not know what to do when you’re not where you want to be, this is not forever. This is an exciting place of expectancy and waiting. Of discovering and listening more, of giving up the false idea that we hold everything together, and to wait in hope KNOWING that we are a part of something bigger.

8 Months Later.

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Well, hello!

As you might have seen (or not even noticed at all), I kind of dropped off the face of the earth here for the past 8 months. Yes. That happened.

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I have been wondering how to start this specific post for a while now (8 months to be precise). At first it was because I didn’t know what the update would be: “Back in the States! Only half of us have jobs and we don’t have a place to live yet or a car!”. And then once we did have jobs and found a place to rent it would be something along the lines of, “We’re overwhelmed with transitioning and starting everything over again in a different (albeit familiar) country!”. Another 6 months in, the title would read something like, “Still overwhelmed with work, working too many hours, feeling like we’re catching up on everything but grateful for the convenience of things, caught up in the busyness of the States, who are our friends and community and are we doing this right??”.

This leads us to today.

We have been back in the States for 8 months now (WHAT?!) and are in the hustle and bustle of our jobs, and transitioning (still) back to discovering what is our everyday life, what our purpose is now, and who is our community.

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Being back doesn’t downplay the incredible adventures, memories, challenges and growth that we had in Venezuela. Just as being so thankful to be back here doesn’t mean the 2 years  in Venezuela aren’t close to our hearts and in everything that we do.

When you experience something life-changing, it is a part of you forever. This is not to say that you are forever scarred and must drag the shadow and aftermath of horrible experiences and memories with you forever. Rather, this is saying that you do not have to take the burden of those experiences with you, but can choose intentionally to be the stronger, grateful, wiser and more mature YOU thanks to what you learned and how you grew exponentially during those experiences. Venezuela was an incredible 2 years of our lives, and while things were difficult and there will be more posts on what we saw and worked through there and how that has challenged how we live now, overall, we have such good memories. As a result, I’ve noticed how often we’ve said, “In Venezuela…” in normal conversations with those around us in our jobs, friend groups, with my students, and families on a regular basis. Not to highlight our “exotic adventures” to seem cultured and knowledgeable, but because that was our life for 2 years and the very thing we have to relate to those around us now.

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Life does not pause. It is ever-changing. People have changed, friendships have evolved, and while some things have slid easily back into place, others are still waiting to find their right fit and space in our new reality.

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We are content knowing that this is where we are supposed to be right now. Even while we do not know what the next months, or even year has for us. You see, no one actually tells you that when you are finished with one “adventure” you actually are embarking on an entirely new one. And while “Pasadena, California” does not have the same ring as “Caracas, Venezuela,” God is still moving and at work in our lives here. While some things are “figured out” there is a vast number of things that are on the horizon, waiting to happen, and we are realizing that our everyday and ordinary life is actually more extraordinary than we thought. Not because of the events that transpire in the day-to-day, rather, that we are growing and developing and learning in each of those moments. We are seeing and appreciating the beauty of these normal moments, and getting excited for what this path is bringing us to next.

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Pancho & Lady back at it again. 

On What’s Next.

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To think that almost 2 years have already passed is something that makes me pause and reflect on a number of things:

1) While 2 years is a good chunk of time, I feel as if our time in Caracas has been both a blink-of-an-eye and also a significant portion of our adult & married life.

2) In two years, you can clearly mark the passage of time with the birth and growth of nieces and nephews, of friends getting married, of people growing and changing and moving. We have seen these special things take place from afar and have poured over Facebook and whatever connector we can to feel a part of those events even though our life here has remained relatively the same.

3) I can clearly recall the day that Brandon and I decided to actively begin our search for an opportunity to teach internationally. We made that decision one regular Wednesday morning. That very Wednesday night, a representative from an organization visited one of my grad classes to talk about international opportunities for teachers. After an initial quick beating-of-the-heart and emotional response of “Is this seriously happening?” while listening to this presentation, the reality of this being the answer to that desire in us quickly settled. Within just a month from that date, we were on a journey of preparing for what is now our current life.

We had no idea what it would entail: the joys, the challenges, the life-changing adventures and experiences (that bring both good and tough memories), the people and community around us.

As we are approaching the end of our two years in June, it was time to make a decision about our future next steps. Basically, we reached a place of figuring out our lives all over again while grappling with the following questions:

  • Do we stay and renew our teaching contract for another year?
  • Do we move back to the States? If so, where? And what would we do?

Ultimately, after months of prayer and discussion between ourselves and family, we arrived at a decision. This post should hopefully sum up what goals and future plans look like (however little we know, since there’s still plenty of things to figure out).

Brandon and I have been feeling that after almost 4 years of marriage, we should start taking steps towards being in a place where we could start our own little Burrito family. No this is not the “announcement”. Not even close. In this, we see the value of living closer to family and friends.

With that, our plan is to move back to the Southern California region this June! I have been so grateful to be recently hired as a High Spanish teacher at a school within the Los Angeles District for the upcoming school year! Brandon is currently looking for positions in Finance, Human Resources, Benefit Plans, or a part of the business/management/HR side of a young, fun start-up company (so, if you know of any positions within the L.A. area, send a shout out!).

There are lots of emotions involved in this decision. Obviously, any big life decision comes with a wide range of emotions. Right now we are trying to be in two very different places, both successfully and unsuccessfully some days: perfectly present and engaged in the now, and applying, planning and prepping for 2 months away.

There will definitely be more on this in the weeks and months to come, however, this is the initial “big change (again)” announcement!

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Pensamientos.

El otro día, estuve leyendo un versículo en la Biblia en Marcos 6 que me hizo pensar y contemplar:

7 Entonces Jesús llamó a los doce y comenzó a enviarlos

de dos en dos, dándoles autoridad (poder) sobre

los espíritus inmundos; 8 y les ordenó que no llevaran

nada para el camino, sino sólo un bordón; ni pan, ni

alforja[d], ni dinero en el cinto;9 sino calzados con sandalias.

“No lleven dos túnicas[e],” les dijo. 10 Y añadió:“Dondequiera

que entren en una casa, quédense en ella hasta que

salgan de la población[f].

Que interesante que Jesús incluyó las cosas lo más básicos que nos importan — la comida, el dinero, el amparo, y la ropa — en esta mandato a sus discípulos. Me hizo pensar inmediatamente sobre cómo estoy viviendo ahorita, y si estoy siguiendo a su modelo. Hay dos cosas que vi en esta sección: 1) Dios no quiere que nosotros estemos preocupados sobre los básicos. 2) Dios desea que vivamos en fe, confiando en la promesa que él va a proveer para nosotros durante todos los tiempos. El desea que nosotros pasemos nuestros días en proacción, viviendo sin esperar para lo que queremos, sino actuando por fe.

Me puse pensar sobre lo que mi vida parecería si viviera según a su consejo. Primero, yo sé que sería una persona más tranquila y calmada y serena (¿qué genial sería?). No actuaría desde mis propios temores, más bien, me enfocaría más en los asuntos que los demás. Si no pensara en todos mis problemas durante el día entero, tendría mucho más tiempo y energía a ayudar y servir a mi esposo, familia, estudiantes, compañeros de trabajo y mi comunidad. También, si no fuera tan estresada (consciente o inconscientemente), mi cuerpo sería más relajado y sin tanta tensión, lo cual, a su vez, es mejor para la salud mental y física.

Últimamente (y lo más importante), si seguiera este versículo, abriría las puertas para ver Dios en acción, porque el es Dios (no importa nuestra circunstancia).    


The other day, while I was reading from Mark 6, it made think and contemplate on a couple of things:

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.[a] 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.

How interesting that Jesus included the most basic items that we worry about – food, money, shelter, & clothing – in this command to his disciples. It made me immediately think about how I am living right now and if I am following after His model. There are two things I see in this section: 1) God does not desire for us to be worried about the basics. 2) God desires that we live in faith, trusting in the promise that He is going to provide for us in every season. He desires for us to live each day in pro-action, living without simply waiting for what we want, rather acting by faith.

It made me think about how my life would be if I were to live according to His example and command. First, I know that I would be a much more relaxed, calm, and stress-free person (how great would that be?!). I would not act from my own fears, rather I would invest more in the needs of others. If I were to not think about all of my own issues and problems during the entire day, I would have much more time and energy to help and serve my husband, family, students, co-workers, and community. Also, if I were not so stressed (consciously and unconsciously), my body would be less tense, which is the best for both physical and mental health.

Ultimately (and most importantly),  if I were to truly follow this verse, it would open up the doors to see God in action, because He is God (no matter our circumstances).

A Typical Day.

Looking through the posts I have written over the last 18 months in Venezuela, I’ve realized that there isn’t much on “what the Burroughs do” during a typical day/week.

While there are things I cannot (and have not purposely) posted due to security reasons, there are still plenty of things during our days that make up the majority of our time/purpose here in Caracas.

So, for those who would like to know what our typical days/weeks look like (a little later than it probably should have been), this will definitely enlighten:

Mornings/Early Afternoons:

5:25 a.m. – The alarm goes off. I stumble blindly into the kitchen to the coffee maker to turn it on (I make sure to set it each night so that I do not have to think/measure first thing in the morning).

5:30-6:00 a.m. – Get ready for the day still halfway asleep and eyeing that coffee dripping down slowly. The hardest part about getting up is always the first 5 minutes… But, I always tell myself I’m fine after those 5 minutes. Oh, the mental games we play.

6:00 a.m.-6:15 a.m. – Head to the kitchen to make breakfast and prep my lunch for the day. By this time Brandon is going through his morning routine (it’s incredible how little time he needs to be perfectly ready for the day).

6:15-6:35 a.m. – Sit down with my cup (cups, let’s be honest) of coffee (finally) and do my devotions, some journaling and quiet time before leaving for work.

6:35 a.m. – Our driver/shuttle comes to pick our group of teachers up to go down to the school. We literally live on top of a mountain, and about a 15 minute walk downhill to school. It’s not because of the walk in itself that we take the shuttle, but, for overall safety reasons.

6:40-7:00 a.m. – Emailing, prepping all my classes’ materials for the day, running last minute errands and copies, etc.

7:00-7:20 a.m. – We begin each day with a faculty devotional, rotating between prayer, small groups, Bible Study and worship that Brandon and I get to lead about once a month.

7:30 – 2:35 p.m. – Teaching! Both Brandon and I teach a number of different content and grade levels, so the days for us hop from one subject to the next, whether it’s English Language Arts, or Business Math, it keeps us on our toes. You can see all of the other classes we have taught here and here.

During the lunch times, we either eat with our students (a.k.a. engaging in heated Star Wars discussions, playing games, or watching just how entertaining our students can be), attending Friday Secondary Chapel (where Brandon and I get to lead weekly worship), or I am sitting through the Student Leadership Team’s bi-weekly meetings as the advisor. Lunches are fun because although we still supervise, we can just be with our students in a non-teaching setting. For those of you teachers out there, you know what it’s like to be “on”. Yes, we are still “on,” however, we are able to spend time not teaching new topics and facilitating learning in the classroom, but, actually getting to know more about who our students are and who Rey’s father really is. This is a good time for both us and our students to build those relationships that have really marked and made all of the difference this past year and a half.

Afternoons/Evenings:

After the school bell rings at 2:35 p.m., it generally takes a bit of time to funnel students out of the class, to their lockers, and on their way home. Brandon and I have led a number of after-school clubs, currently being Soccer Club on Tuesdays! For one hour, we run around in the heat with some of our 6-12th Grade students, having fun, occasionally scoring, and laughing a lot.

On days that we do not have clubs after school, we have been running a lot more (4-5 times a week) as we are training for two upcoming Half Marathons later this Spring (April) in Caracas and Summer (July) in California. Yes, we’re crazy. At least we’re sane enough to not do another full marathon. Guys, if I ever say I want to do another full marathon, you can definitely shake me (gently) and tell me not to do it.

Weekly, we try to maintain a set schedule for “life things,” such as:

  • Monday: Grocery Shopping (either at the supermarket or the local fruitería – a literal fruit/veggie shop) & Weekly Game & Tea Hour we host at our apartment for our teacher friends/neighbors (same thing)
  • Tuesday: Date Night (always dinner and alternating between either seeing a movie, coffee shop + reading/talking, or cozying it up at home). It’s a big deal when we stay up past 9:30 p.m
  • Thursday: Spanish Tutoring with a dear friend from church, Alba, for 45-minute lessons each
  • Fridays: We try to do no any work on these nights, saving it to relax and spend time either together or with other people
  • Saturday/Sunday: Long runs in the morning, lesson planning for the week, food prep for the week (cleaning, peeling, chopping, roasting, cooking, baking), laundry, church, grading, resting, spending time with people, talking with family (basically: our life & school “catch up” days)

I’ve always known that Brandon and I are “list” and routine people, but, we’ve seen both the productivity and the rest that comes from planning life, professionally, spiritually and even in the “fun” things. Yes, there are lots of things we plan that never actually happen (hello, living overseas & life in general), but, keeping in this routine has made us less frazzled and more effective individually, professionally and as a couple.

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Our handy white board (master list).

One thing we are wanting to add more of to our schedule in these upcoming months is outside of school time with our Secondary students. We had a group of them over not that long ago for a game night and had tons of fun. We have a very creative, goofy yet strategic group of students who make playing strategy games quite enjoyable and interesting. As there are not many things that are safe and fun for our students to do after school (with many of them going home and not going out again until the following morning), providing activities and hang out times in a safe environment is a very easy and meaningful way to show that we care outside of the classroom.

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Game night at the Burroughs.

Life in Caracas has taken time to adjust to, as many people stay indoors once it begins to get dark (generally around 6:00 p.m.), including ourselves. But, we are learning what it looks like to maximize our hours (both daylight and dark) and still build in necessary rest time without going stir-crazy. We’ve found that you can create a warm, cozy atmosphere with what you have, but, more importantly in the manner you use your time. It’s easy to lounge the night away. We all are tired after working and can come up with a billion excuses to just sit and watch Netflix or scroll through hours of Instagram and Facebook. However, we have seen for us the life-giving and effective results of using our time in a more meaningful way. And, yes, we still definitely watch shows and relax but all in balance.

Yes, there are always many things that I could do to make even more use of my time in a way that glorifies the Lord and serve others, but isn’t that life? There is always more of what we should be doing? I think there needs to be a level of contentment that comes with 1) intentionally planning your time wisely and 2) not adding on more and more and more (even if they are good things) to that schedule. There is beauty and fullness in simplicity, service, flexibility, organization and a lack of busyness.

I know for me, I am craving that calm, peaceful and gentle spirit that begins intentionally and internally and then spills out into the days and weeks.