Family Life: What is Home?



What is Home?

By Rachel Schmoyer


Home sweet home.

Home is where you hang your hat.

There is no place like home.

What is home, exactly?

Homeowners would say home is the house you own and live in. In fact, the Oxford dictionary says that home is the place where someone lives permanently.

The word “permanently” in the definition gives me pause. For most of our marriage we have lived in rented houses that weren’t our own. We briefly owned our own home, but lost it in a short sale after the housing market crash of 2008. Nothing feels permanent about renting. Every year we sign a lease which is a reminder that the house is not really ours. We are just borrowing it.

So what is home for us?

The last time we moved from one rental to another, the rental houses were only one mile from each other. Our lives outside of our four walls didn’t change. We had the same jobs, same church, same school. We shopped at the same stores and drove the same roads to get from here to there. At the same time, everything inside of our walls was upended. We had to figure out new belonging places for our things. We had to get used to the skylights in our bedroom. Our everyday routine took longer since we had to figure out a new normal.


Three days after moving, I felt mentally worn out. Even though we were excited about the move and it was a much better situation for us, it was still stressful.

I felt like I was on constant alert and my brain was working overtime trying to remember where everything was. That morning the kids went off to school and my husband went to work and I was left at home to make decisions about what went where. I opened a box and looked at the contents. I picked up one thing, looked at it for a while, and then put it back. It was overwhelming. I felt unsettled and unsure of my new surroundings. That afternoon when the kids came home from school I listened intently to their day and I felt more grounded in the familiar. Their afternoon snack and helping them with homework gave me a sense of belonging in this place that I hadn’t felt before. I set to work making dinner so it would be ready when my husband returned. Just as the last dish was ready, I heard his car pull up and the front door open. He called out, “I’m home.” When he said the words, I felt my body relax completely. My family was here and now we were home. This house was now home because my family was there. Home is where my family is.

What makes your house a home? Comment below.

About the Author


Rachel Schmoyer is a pastor’s wife and mom of four. She blogs about finding simple truths in complex passages of Scripture at Read the Hard Parts. She also writes about parenting and other adventures at Rachel Schmoyer Writes. If she is not writing, she is probably reading, most likely a biography of one of the First Ladies of the United States.

You can connect with Rachel online on Twitter.

You can read Rachel's "Family Life" column on the 4th Monday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.


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