You Are NOT What You Do

365 days ago…

We were frantically finishing up our last days at the ministry we had worked at for the past two years, training the next leaders to take over. With it being a sudden and unexpected transition, days were full of tasks… packing and prepping for our month long stay in the capital, where August was to be born. So much anticipation, so much anxiety about the unknown future.

Chaotic transition.

It was partly pregnancy hormones, but I could not rest knowing that our life was about to change forever, especially since it would be a while before we would know what that would look like. At that point, all we knew was that we didn’t want to leave our sweet village in Costa Rica and all of those teens that had become like family. Obviously we were going to have another child, but what were we going to do next? Where would we live? When would we know if we were going to have to uproot our little family and move to another country? What were we supposed to do in the meantime??

The days unfolded differently as expected.

August decided to wait two weeks past his due date to be born (which could have been seen as an opportunity to practice patience…). Then we spent a month in our home in Esterillos, packing for a furlough in the States that was originally supposed to last about two months, but was not guaranteed without having a ministry to return to.

Uncertainty.

Then began the eternal furlough of 22 houses in less than 6 months… nonstop travel, transition, packing, mourning the end of a season, and looking for a sense of purpose while our life was seemingly paused. The whole time we were so overwhelmed because we didn’t know how long we were to be in transition. A few more weeks or another year? Plus sleep deprivation with two babies makes everything so much more interesting…

Anxiously wandering.

I will never forget how hard it was to feel like we were just meandering through life, not knowing what the next step would be.

When we finally returned to our beach home in December, we were stoked to dive into ministry (whatever that would look like). The days were slow, but exciting. Also, I was relieved to know that there would not be any major moves in the near future (as fun as it is to pack up your life every 7-10 days).

We finally (FINALLY!!) got started after months of building relationships and preparing. Our team was thrilled to be gaining momentum. Even so, I had anxiety about another transition. This was it, the start to our new reality!! I even made an amazing color-coded schedule in my bullet journal (an impressive task for a Type B personality like myself).

After our first day, we received word that Costa Rica would be closing its schools until after Semana Santa or Holy Week.

Just like that, the momentum train stopped in its tracks.

And that is where we find ourselves currently. Waiting. Wandering. AGAIN.

And this time, you are all with us. Experiencing the grief of missing out on events, trying to transition into a temporary new routine without going crazy thinking of the “what ifs” of the future. Trying to make this interruption “normal.” Dreaming of the day when quarantine is done.

Listen.

I will be real with you. The last 365 days of my life do not look super productive on paper. In a way, it would be easy to dismiss the last rotation around the sun as a “loss.” As if life were on pause and the last year didn’t count because we don’t have a lot to show for that time (at least from the perspective of a task-based North American).

Ethan is constantly reminding me, “Amanda, you are NOT what you do.”

I hate that reminder because I LOVE doing. I love accomplishing tasks and being productive.

But he makes a great point, and I think we can all join together in reflecting on it during this unprecedented time where most people in the world are being exposed. For many, it is the first time “what they do” has been ripped away from them, so they are faced with the question, “Who am I?”

What is our identity, and who is our God?

Is our progress and productivity what defines our worth? Is it our title? A finished checklist at the end of the day? Is God waiting for this pandemic to pass so He can get back to work? Do we really even know what God is accomplishing through us at any given time?

I am a missionary mom who used to be daily overwhelmed by the needs I would see, and constantly felt like I am was not doing enough.

And then the last 365 days happened.

And I realized that it is true.

NO ONE can do enough.

There will always be more needs than we can meet.

God did not call us to save the world…That is why He sent Jesus.

Right now you might feel like I have many times in the last year. Uneasy about the future. Mourning the loss of a life that will never be exactly what it was.

But that is not where our identity is. And PLEASE do not try to find it in perfect color-coded homeschool schedules or newfound TikTok fame.

Instead, join me in singing (Click here for video link):

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flow’rs we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

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