Working with purpose is an everyday way to make a difference.

Yet as as a mom, I often view my life in terms of before and after, with and without. The years before, life without kids — and the years after, life with kids.

Soon after our first daughter was born in 2001, my husband and I transitioned to new careers. He left full-time work as a pastor while I became a full-time mom at home.

I loved the work I did at a non-profit in those years before kids AND I loved being a team with my husband in our work with the church. Those were busy years, those years without kids: working 8  to 4 and coming home to evenings filled with church meetings, company for dinner. We spent our Saturdays preparing  for Sunday, the highlight and focal point of our week’s effort.

Those were days filled with purpose, dripping with meaning and mission.

When I decided not to return to work after my daughter’s birth, I went to my office to gather my belongings. While my co-workers bounced my sweet girl, I packed away files, pictures, and pens, leaving this poem on my bulletin board until the last when I carefully folded the tattered white paper and added it to my box. I tucked it away as a relic, thinking it belonged to another era, my life before kids.

Life before and life after, life with and life without.

I should have kept the poem prominent in my life, brought it home to hang above my kitchen sink or in the laundry room, beside the rocking chair or on the playroom door.

During my stay at home years, I sometimes lost sight of the purpose in everyday work: diaper changes and dishes, laundry and lullabies. Each day, I recreated the work of the day before, my life a rhythm of repeated tasks.

Though sometimes obscured, I know that those days were filled with purpose, dripping with meaning and mission.

Work that makes a difference is a unifying theme in life. In the before and after, the with and the without, is this: work that matters.

I want to jump into life headfirst, to strain in the muck and mud to move things forward, to do the things worth doing well done.

Working with purpose is an everyday way to make a difference.

Please read the poem. Print it out. Put it where you can see it every day. Allow it to inspire you to live and work with purpose. What you do matters.