I am both a homemaker and a homeschooler. So, most of my time and energy is spent between the same four walls with the same three people. And while I love both my home and the people in it, there are plenty of hard moments and days.

On the hard days, doubt creeps in. Do I really belong here? Am I doing what’s best? Maybe I should send the kids to school and go back to work. Why did I imagine I could do this? Clearly, I’m not made from the same stuff as the mom who thrives at home and home education.
By January, I was convinced I made a mistake. While we all struggle at times, I was sure no one was struggling quite as royally as me. Enter March and COVID-19. Many people are sent home—forced to spend an indefinite amount of time together between the same four walls—homeschooling (cue dramatic music). And while this is by no means a normal homemaking or homeschooling experience, we collectively got a taste of doing life together in the same shared space. And it’s hard.

I had two reactions to this:

  1. Oh good, I’m not the only one. Because I was starting to think maybe everyone else on
    the planet is better at loving their family than me.
  2. Why is it so hard to be home together?

Home and the people in it are not perfect. But there’s perhaps no better soil for growing hearts in love, truth, grace, and character than the fertile ground of family life. Being in close proximity to other sinners is hard. Being with myself is hard. But rather than running from the hard parts, home gives us the opportunity to work through challenges together. Yes, we miss our routines and activities, our schedules and predictability. Which is fine. But I’m noticing something interesting: My family life and relationships are much richer and more
peaceful without the routines, activities, schedules, and predictability.

That’s not to say it’s been a peaceful fairyland these last three months. But it has forced us to slow down and find new and deeper ways to truly be together. We’ve gone outside in our own backyard more than we have in the whole five years we’ve lived here. We planted vegetable and
flower gardens together and our kids have spent more time working on projects with their dad.

And with all this time spent working alongside each other, we’ve seen such a transformation in our children’s hearts and attitudes. We grownups love to be busy, but our kids just love to have time.

I have no idea what the next half of 2020 holds. Certainly, many of my plans and expectations have already changed. But amid all the challenges and disappointments, I hope we’ll take advantage of the good in it too. I hope our relationships deepen and maybe when life really does
go back to normal, we’ll savor the time together rather than resent it.

Psalm 90:12 admonishes:

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (ESV)
If this wild year is teaching me anything, it’s to number my days with the people I love. May we
find our way back home, back to each other. And may we grow good things as we cultivate the ground we are in.

Kari is a writer, homeschooler, and curator of a slow and beautiful life. A Midwesterner turned New Englander, her family has travelled much and focused on rooting into God’s green earth in search of His perfect soil. You can find her writing at The Wheat Princess blog and @thewheatprincess on Instagram.

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