I whisper a silent prayer thanking God for the grace He gives through Jesus Christ--the grace that forgives us for mornings of selfishness and empowers us to forgive and love each other.

Together doesn't always mean peaceful and satisfied. On occasion, I get glimpses of the kind of togetherness I wish always existed at my house--like earlier this week when all four children worked for hours on a snow fort without once calling for me to fix an argument. Like the times when the boys cheer for each other at sports events, or when my daughter patiently bakes cookies with one of the younger ones. But honest togetherness doesn't usually look like a Norman Rockwell painting. Most of the time it just looks like real life.

Together doesn't mean perfect harmony. It can't. The Bible says there is only one Person who was ever perfect--Jesus. The rest of us will have our moments of selfish struggles, for we are all works in progress.

My thoughts are interrupted as I realize the children are all staring at me, waiting for instructions to get on with their day. My glance rests on each precious face and I am overcome with love for them. Feeling better, I'm ready to organize them for the next endeavor of our school day, but before I start my youngest son interrupts me.

"Mommy, you haven't held me today."

I smile and open my arms to him. He is getting so long he barely fits with me in that worn recliner anymore, yet he snuggles into my soft places, lovingly patting the roll around my middle that I so detest. It feels good to embrace my child, this incredible gift of God. Once again, I look around the room, letting my gaze linger upon each child. Stephen, sitting across from me, winks. I wink back at him, and then blow him a kiss. My teenage son, a twinkle in his eyes, makes a joke and my daughter has a great comeback. I love the their humor and rapport. My heart is very full.

You know, together is not perfect. But it is perfectly wonderful.

If the Good Lord surprises me with a mountain cabin get-a-way, I think I'll take the kids.

A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.