Earthen vessel


You lift me up

in the valley of despair

above shadowy sorrows

downcast discouragement

ground-level grief.

You flatten my mountains

of pharisaical pride

arrogant accomplishment

puffed-up knowledge.

You level my rough spots:

habitual temptations

chronic conflicts

persistent flaws.

Your glory shines forth

through all the cracks

in this earthen vessel.

Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
and all people will see it together.
Isaiah 40:4-5a NIV


Pick two: from SAHM to working mom

pick two quote
I laugh bitterly at this Pinterest pin. Two months into the school year, I am STILL barely keeping my head above water as a working mom. I’m a little discouraged—will the chaos ever stop?

Ten years ago, I worked full-time for one year before taking a work-from-home, seasonal job as an event coordinator. I raised my babies and enjoyed a flexible schedule: time to read, visit friends, cook from scratch, and nap if necessary. As eight years passed, I enjoyed the job less and less, but the benefit of working from home outweighed the challenges. When my contract expired, I was a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) for a year-and-a-half, dabbling in a network marketing program with little success. The financial strain was tough, but I enjoyed the relaxed SAHM pace and the ability to be available for my children.

This January I started working at a school 20 hours per week. Every day I had about two hours each afternoon to shop, run errands, make phone calls, start dinner or throw in a load of laundry, or write. A major job perk is summers off with my children—a blissful 10 weeks of SAHM wonder.

In August, the school extended my hours to nearly 30 per week. I love my job, my colleagues, and the much-needed extra pay, since our children attend private school. But I despise the weeknight fatigue, my cluttered countertops, laundry on-the-fly, weekends crammed with errands, lack of reading time, spotty friend connection, no energy to exercise, and more-frequent prepackaged dinners. Oh, and my husband and I barely have time to connect at night before we crash from exhaustion. I am frantically dog-paddling in the deep end of the pool with ankle weights, struggling to keep my head above water.

And I’m trying to start a writing career on top of everything else. I feel torn between my daily life, my writing life, and my old SAHM life. I know I can’t have it all, and I want to move forward. I thirst for balance, but I’m not sure which choices on my board should stay and which should go, since they all seem worthy.

If any of you have been here before, please comment. How did you survive your transition from SAHM to working mom? Thank you in advance.

Hope, in bird form

cardinal in snow

Wild birds arrive from the heavens
like God’s love letters.
On sad days
I watch the blue heron arise
from our pond, gracefully gliding
over treetops into the sunrise.
On lonely days
I observe the wood duck pair traversing our pond,
so opposite in coloring
yet mated for life.
On worried days
I study the goldfinches bustling
at the sunflower seed feeders,
delighting in that day’s provision.
On harried days
I see the indigo bunting’s wings
wink at me like a starburst
against the backdrop of hard maples.
Once, on a day dark as night
I blinked back tears of despair
to witness three sleek orioles
sampling my calamondin oranges.
I held my breath
as they pried the fruit open with scissor beaks
and drew strength from the bitter juice
as if it were sweet honey.
As they left my heart lifted
like a red cardinal from a snowy thicket.