the state of things

the holidays and our travels are over, visits with family and dear friends as short as they always must be. I’ve packed away the ornaments, pulled down the strands of white twinkling lights from our windows. the spring semester has started, a new year begun.

Over the past couple months, I’ve had so much that I’ve wanted to write about, but I’ve been unsure of myself.  I met the new year with both dread and irrepressible hope. 

Bryan works nights, the night librarian, a beautifully romantic title for a not so romantic job. At first, the hours worked wonderfully—we’ve been able to keep our kids home and for me to work full-time.  We always knew, though, there’d come a tipping point, and we’ve reached it. 

Last fall was very difficult for me and for us as a family.  Those months that we anticipated being a time for us to gel as a family of four, to bond, to weather the inevitable sleeplessness and constant care of a newborn, became months where bryan and I rarely saw each other. His job changed so that instead of going in after the girls bedtime a few nights a week, he went in earlier and earlier, and eventually it whittled down the time we had alone together, with no kids to care for, to two nights a week, one taken up by the church small group we lead at our house. 

I’ve never liked bryan working nights, but I could bear it when we could make time in other parts of the day; with two kids and my full-time job, we can’t. I miss him terribly. 

In the midst of our missing each other and the difficulty of taking care of colicky june (who was and is and will always be june, not zuzu the second) and a two year old, God was working on us in some areas we didn’t want him to mess with, old mire deep in the soul. 

What does it all add up to? We don’t know yet. I started asking that question though. In the past, before a big change, we had these same things happen—the situation changing so that we couldn’t stay put, God working in our hearts to prepare us for something new. 

I don’t think God has forgotten us. I think he has a plan for us, something prepared already.  He has never led us to an insurmountable obstacle without providing a way out—sometimes a surprising way out. I would’ve never suspected, when bryan and I first got married, that we’d live in Boston or that Bryan would go to seminary or our nearest neighbors would be cows. i don't know if this time change means moving again or new jobs or a new ability to keep up with what we're given.

So part of me is despairing. I cried and cried this week, returning to school ,returning to a work schedule that keeps bryan and me apart and wears us down. That same part of me does not see a way out. Has no confidence that there will be anything but this.

another part of me hopes. That God will provide. That God cares about our little cares. That if I pray for something, he will answer.  And if he says no, then maybe I was praying for the second-best thing for us, which I’ve done before; he always gives us the first-best, even if it doesn’t seem first-best at the time. 

Because we are his children, and he loves us.


  1. Oh Renee, my heart hurt for you as I read this. It is so so hard to be pulled between work and home. Praying for you as I type this that you guys would find a solution that brings peace to your heart and the best outcome for your family.

    1. thank you Erin! your prayers mean so much to me!

  2. Renee, thank you for bravely sharing things like this. It is a blessing to see God at work in you and your family.

  3. Wow, I think this sentence changed the whole way I look at anticipating change: "In the past, before a big change, we had these same things happen—the situation changing so that we couldn’t stay put, God working in our hearts to prepare us for something new." I think I have a tendency to think everything is more random than I know in my heart it really is and I struggle to find God in the day-to-day complications. I think I've done something, or need to be more content (which, of course, is sometimes true, too), but maybe God is causing unrest in my heart to prepare me for a change. Thank you for this.

    1. i have been praying that if it is just an issue of contentment, that God will make me content and fix what is broken in my heart about this. actually i need to email you soon--bryan met with some of the elders this week and it changed the direction we thought we'd head it. it was hard but good because we had been praying that God would give us guidance (but it wasn't exactly what i wanted to hear)