It seems as if words fall short during such an interesting time in our world. I’ve hesitated in writing anything. I could ignore reality and write about something I feel more comfortable with. But my words would fall shallow because we are all thinking about “it”. Like a big elephant in the room, “it” is lurking in everything we do as we try and navigate our daily lives. I could write about the virus and the infection of fear, but we all know that both are running rapid. But ironically, a few months ago I etched in my journal that I would take the month of March to write about Our Home. The place I feel the safest. And our home is where we have been asked to stay while we as a country endure new challenges.
To stay in the confinement of our greatest earthly protection, Our Home.
Last August, Wade and I made the decision to put our kids in school. After homeschooling for almost their entire life, we sent a 6th, 4th, 2nd, and a preschooler to venture into the world of three different schools. We did this for several reasons and after lots of prayers, it felt best for our family. Wade and I had weighed out the pros and cons. We discussed openly the fears we had with public AND private. We were prepared for all of what we could see, but never imagined the actual struggle that would come after we said yes.
Our home was divided in the matter of one decision. I found myself running from school to school. Trying my best to maintain a relationship with each of my girls as they spent 7 hours away from me and each other for the very first time. I found myself trying to volunteer. Read all of the books. Bring all of the supplies and rationalize my tiredness as an adjustment period that would soon resolve itself with time. By January, I was worn out and in tears when the Christmas break ended.
I knew I had to make a change.
At the end of January, I took all of my girls out of every extracurricular activity. We said goodbye to soccer, gymnastics, piano, basketball and everything else that tugged us in those afternoon-evening hours. We put “family dinners” on the wall calendar as reminders to hold each accountable to make this happen. Our evenings made room to cook in more, slow down and breathe in time with one another again. Realizing that all of the hustle, the time spent apart were choices we had made and could all be resolved with the simple act of pulling away.
We needed time in our Home again.
Last November, we had a major leak in our home. We lost our entire bathroom, all of the 1400 sqft of floors that our ranch home held and our kitchen. We were faced with the challenge of waiting on insurance because we simply did not have the savings account required to make upgrades to our home out of pocket. What we knew would one day be a huge blessing felt like such an attack on the home we loved.
I remember Thanksgiving weekend when we decided to put our Christmas tree up amidst the concrete floors, dehumidifiers, wet cabinets, and completely gutted bathroom. There was no end in sight as we didn’t understand the length of time it takes for these types of insurance claims. We would continue through Christmas without these basic things including sharing one bathroom among 6 people. Even as I type this, our home is still unfinished with reminders of this flood 4 months later.
But what I learned is that Our Home doesn’t have to be perfect to reflect the protection it provides.
I learned that my kids enjoyed concrete slabs as much as I enjoyed new flooring. I learned that the family dinner table never deserves a place in the garage. But rather amidst the concrete dust and torn down sheetrock where we can gather and laugh and try our best to forget about the destruction around us. I learned that I loved my home not for the furnishings it held but for the meeting ground it provided.
Ironically, we are all finding ourselves in similar situations.
Events are being canceled, kids are home, parents learning to shift their schedule in order to take hold of this new way of living while still providing financially. Officials are asking us to stay at home. Cook in and avoid the common busy areas we used to find ourselves in. Meanwhile, we go home and the destruction that is happening is still ever so evident. We try to close down the noise behind our four walls but sometimes fail. The news rings loud, the social media screams and the eery feeling of seeing our neighbors home, rather than work makes us feel as if our worlds have been shifted upside down.
But what I have learned about Our Home over the last few months is that it is only as strong as the people who live in it.
If we are never at home, we lose sight of connecting with those around us. We fall distant from those that matter most because our home is more than a home base. Our Home is more than a place to crash after a long day of busy. It is a place for laughter, prayer, and conversations that grow us and prepare us for when we leave these four walls.
Our home is a safe haven from all of the words, the noise and the fiery darts that try and take out God’s greatest possession. Which is Us.
Why then is this transition so hard for us? Because we have become immune to what our home actually means and was created for. Sickness and disease aren’t new and just like before, God has a plan and a CURE for those He loves. Yes, we live in a fallen world and this is part of the brokenness that we all feel from the fall of Adam and Eve. But God has been planing a redemption story since the beginning of time and He won’t stop now.
I believe He is calling us all back to Our Home away from busy-ness and chaos so that we can reconnect with Him, each other and ourselves.
Home doesn’t eliminate the scariness of the world as much as having insurance took away months of frustration and mess. But it does provide a connecting ground for us. So that when we leave our home, we feel equipped and ready to face the challenges ahead.
For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.Hebrews 3:4
You see, we can’t control what happens out there, as much as I could control the massive flood we experienced last fall. That’s God’s job. So as much as I would like to tell myself this won’t affect the housing market (Wade’s job) and that I won’t know anyone personally affected by this virus or that all of this will be over in just a few short weeks… I can’t.
But I can build the home I want to build by building up those that live inside. I can build inside of us, what we all need to withstand the world around us. And I can trust God that if I am faithful with what He has given me, He will be faithful to my family.
He will be faithful to fulfill His promises to build a House that will not fall.
So I plan to embrace this time. My kids probably won’t remember the name of this virus. But they will remember how many times I played 4-square in our driveway. They will probably remember the long walks, the freezing cold pool water, and the never-ending Spring break they are having from school. They will also remember the prayers we prayed for those around us. The prayers for the kids at the public school who may be missing meals. The elderly neighbors that we have encouraged and offered to help during this uncertain time. And they will remember the time when we were home and everyone else seemed to be also. The time when TIME itself seemed to slow down and standstill.
** If you need a declaration over your family during this time here is a free one for you that I wrote for my own family.**