The Three F Words ~ Julie

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No. Not that F word.

The last five years have been so hard for the folks in this country. Lots of endings, lots of fear. It’s easy to believe that it will never get better, never be different. It’s easy to wait for things to change.

Maybe there’s another way to see it, though. Maybe, instead of waiting, we should be jumping at opportunity.

We know that God has a plan. What if we were brave enough to ask God and ourselves this question: What is it that we really want to do?

Meet our friend Julie. In a few weeks, she and her husband and her three year old daughter are making an amazing and brave and thrilling life change. Julie asked God the question and then she embraced the answer. We hope she inspires you as much as she inspires us!

I believe in two “F” words: Faith and Fate. Is this belief strange for a Christian? Maybe, maybe not. I believe everything happens for a reason, a reason we may not understand, but maybe we’re not supposed to understand why somethings happen. Sometimes a third “F” fuels the other two “F” words to work hard in one’s life: Fear.

Around this time last year, my husband and I were making a lot of life changes that included: moving houses, adding to our family, and learning to live on one income.

We were moving houses as a temporary situation to save money for a year and I was excited. It was going to be an opportunity for me to stay at home with my daughter for the year, but also to be able to see my mom every day. It was an especially exciting time for us as we learned that we were expecting our second child after trying for almost a year.

While I had happily taught English at the high school level for six years, I needed a break or a change. I also couldn’t believe how quickly my two year old daughter was growing and how much I was missing, so I made the change that many people couldn’t imagine taking in this economy: I took a leave of absence from a career I loved.

Some people looked at me like I was crazy or even dissatisfied with my school (which I really wasn’t), but I FELT something. I felt like God was sharing His plan with me. That’s what faith is, isn’t it? Trusting in God’s plan when you just can’t conceivably understand how it will fit together. So, I fearfully/faithfully took a leave of absence from work and trusted in Him.

On June 9th, 2012 among moving boxes and Dora birthday presents, I took a test that revealed I would be carrying a second baby in the year I had chosen to stay at home. It was an exciting and surreal moment. I felt like I understood why God had aligned everything so perfectly now, it was all working out!

But, things don’t always work as expected because three weeks later, I lost the baby.

To say I was devastated is an understatement. I questioned everything, and unfortunately, even God. This is where the three “F” words come in. From my FEAR, grief and sadness over losing my precious baby, I prayed for understanding. When tested, our FAITH appears and we start to understand our FATE slowly.

After losing the baby, I became like a hermit. I didn’t want to leave the house and so I started to surf the net and also reminisce about happier times, which led me to the summer of 2008. My husband and I had traveled to Rio do Janeiro as a way to visit family and experience a new culture.The pictures were beautiful and filled with happy and carefree times. I wanted that again; I wanted to escape to a new life where I could start again. So, while my heart was slowly starting to heal, I tried for a new beginning by applying for jobs in a country thousands of miles away.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? They call it “CidadeMaravilhosa” or the Marvelous City because of its constant motion, sounds, smells and friendly people. People from all walks of life are active throughout the day, usually near the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, or even Leblon. It’s going to be a busy few years for this city of roughly 6.5 million people, as they are hosting both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

I started remembering everything I loved about my mother’s native country and the memories gradually started putting me back together. I started emailing and researching a few schools in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And slowly, it started to become a true possibility. After a few months of making a dream into a reality, we did it…

We attended a job search in Atlanta, Georgia for educators interested in teaching or working in Mexico, Central, South America and the Caribbean. It really seemed as if God was pointing us in the right direction again. Once we were finally inside the meeting area with the schools, we were informed that only two of the four possible schools we had been interested in, (very few of the schools had positions open for both English and Math) still had positions for both of us. And when it was time for us to interview with a school, there was only one, Rio’s American School (the one we really wanted) who still had our positions. It was if the lord was narrowing down the choices for us. To make a long story short, they called us in January to offer us the jobs.

We don’t know what we’ll encounter or even if it’ll be easy for us, but isn’t that what faith is? When I asked my husband why he wanted to do it, he answered, “Why not? I mean there’s so much out there. There’s so much to explore and so much to see. I want our daughter to be the kind of person who wants to see the world and not be afraid to take risks.” I agree, hubby, I agree.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Julie will blog about her new life in Rio at expatsparadise.wordpress.com

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