Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

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Worth: Day 28 of the April Poetry Challenge

The week has arrived. After nearly four years, an incredible European adventure, and a truly priceless opportunity to soak in my little ones’ tiny years, I am going back to work.

I am very aware that I am one of the lucky ones, not only because I had the freedom to take these years away from paid employment, but also because I am returning to an incredible opportunity that seems almost custom-made to fit my skills, interests, and family commitments. On second thought, luck is an inadequate descriptor for my career and family path. Fate seems more appropriate, or divine intervention.

I am going with divine intervention because that reminds me how much I will need continued intervention in the months to come. Of course my circumstances do not dictate any real variation in my reliance on God, but I am especially aware of the need to recognize this dependence now. My time away from the status of career taught me how much self-worth I have drawn from my work in the past. It was a relationship that I unlearned at the price of real emotional turmoil, and the perspective that work provided me is something I do not want to lose. The very wonderfulness of my new job is, for that reason, also a threat. It would be so easy to slip back into old shoes that offer the illusion of so much comfortable support.

But I want to walk a new path this time. And so, today’s poem is a prayer.



Where Does My Worth Come From


Three years ago I struggled with the loss

my markers of

identity and worth.

In giving up career I gave up more

than just the paycheck

and the daily grind.

I had to learn to live within my means

not in my budget

but my sense of self,

to find my value not in what I did

to earn a name

or make my voice be heard.

I had the chance to learn how, with new eyes,

to turn and look

upon to Psalmist’s mount.

“Where does my help come from? It comes from You”

who loved me, fragile,

in my mother’s womb.

It’s not the change that I can make or be

that gives me worth,

gives meaning to my life.

My value is best seen when I am clear,

transparent for

the light that burns inside.

And now a new beginning, new career:

a chance to shine,

or cover up Your light?

Lord, let me not be tempted now to strive

for worth I make,

but find my self in You.


Breathing My Baptism: Day 27 of the April Poetry Challenge

Today Princess Imagination is being baptized. She is almost seven, more than a year younger than I was when I made the same decision. She’s quite proud of that – something she’s doing before I did it – but that’s not her motivation. She is being baptized because she loves Jesus and wants to fully participate in the family of God. As dysfunctional as I sometimes feel that family is, I am nothing but happy that she wants to formalize her membership in it. For one thing, she can only make it better. For another, the simplicity and beauty of her desire reminds me of the simplicity and beauty of a sacrament that turns plain water into a powerful, identity-changing symbol.

It’s so easy to forget. But today, I am remembering.


Breathing my Baptism


The slightest drop of your immensity

floods over me

and lifts me off my self-sure footing.

The ground on which I stood

a labor of thoughts

dissolves in swirling currents.

There is no place for kicking feet to stand

no life raft to  construct

from illusions of my self-sufficiency.

A baptism of consciousness

and I am drowned

beneath the surface of a sea of Love.

I am inside the waters now

and fear is gone,

or in the least it does not fill my lungs.

I find they are transformed to breathe anew

not cold, thin air

but Breath of Life that makes me new.

And when I rise again above the waves

I do not gasp

or gulp for what I craved before submerged.

New life, a Truth both real

and beyond words

flows through my veins like water through the world.