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Family comes in all shapes a sizes. You have your immediate family, extended family, in-law family, work family, your besties family, church family, small group family, youth group family, neighborhood family, camping family, vacation family, sports family, ministry family, anyone that is close to you family! Something ties us all together. We share something that keeps the bond strong. Some family we see everyday. Some family we see a couple of times a year. Some family it’s once in a blue moon and we pick up right where we left off.

My niece is studying abroad this semester. I am already so proud of her! On the weekends, she and a group of students, travel to the surrounding areas. It is so amazing and an eye opening experience to be a part of different cultures. She posts often of her adventures. The other night we were “Snapping” back and forth. We ended up Facetiming through Snap. (I am about to reveal some of my dorkiness!) I was so excited!!! I have some social media to keep up with my own kids. I don’t use it myself very often. So when she is half way across the world and I can see and talk to her, I was so excited!! (Enter my children’s eye rolls!) We chatted about where she went that night and things she plans on doing next. (We got shushed because it was 1 am over there. oopsy!) It made my whole day, weekend, week and month! I may be her Auntie M and her extended family, but we are family. The love and connection is there. We are bound together because her dad in my brother. Yet, so much more has kept us connected.

Just a little while ago, I texted a friend asking for prayer for something specific that’s coming up. She isn’t my “blood sister.” She is my sister in Christ. I know without a doubt she has prayed and will continue to pray. The bond of friendship and the bond of Christ’s love has brought us together as part of His family.

I am truly blessed with an in law family that has continued to love us and stayed connected even after the passing of their son, brother and best friend. At times it’s awkward and painful, yet the love that we have for one another far outways that. I would rather have their love and support than not have it.

I love camping. We grew up going camping as our family summer vacations. One year, I swear, the pop up we had was held together with duct tape. But we had a great time and made wonderful memories. I remember many afternoon and evenings sitting around the campfire. Sometimes, just sitting. Other times roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. I love the smell of a campfire! Over the past several years, my sister and brother’s family have been camping through the summer with their “camping family.” Over the last few years, my family has crashed the party and invited ourselves to join them. They have welcomed us with open arms and have become part of their “camping family.”

See, family comes in all shapes and sizes. Really, we are all part of a rather large family. The one (very important) thing that binds us together is Christ’s love. Wherever two or more are gathered, He is there. Three cords can not be easily broken. We are His heir. We are all His children. If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are my brother and sister in Christ. We are family. We need each other. The love that connects and brings us together, carries us through everyday life. We rely on each other. We can turn to one another in time of need. We are willing to step in and help out. We pray for one another. What an amazing gift God has given us with family.

I was fortunate and blessed to grow up in an “intact” family. I had a mom, dad, brother and sister. All that lacked was the white picket fence. I had both sets of grandparents living in the same town. I went to my “Mam’s” quite often. Don’t let me fool you though, we hard our dysfunctional moments. Many people and a lot of kids today did not or have not grown up with both parents, the white picket fence and 2 1/2 kids. Quite honestly, that is unrealistic. Some of you couldn’t wait to be 18 and get out of your toxic environment. Some of you may have felt trapped and hopeless thinking there was no way out. Some of you may have wanted out period! No matter the family life you grew up in, we all have our sources of dysfunction. You’re not alone. But somewhere along the way, you became a part of a “family.” I truly hope and pray you made your ways to Christ’s open arms and joined His family.

I am forever grateful and will always be grateful for all the “family” that I have. They have walked alongside me in this craziness we call life. They each have their own uniqueness that has affected our family in a positive way. I challenge you to be that for someone in your “family.” Be the positive, the encouragement, the steady force, the hugs, the prayer support, the love that they need. Reach out in Christ’s love and show them His love through you. Again, what a humbling gift God has given us to be a part of someone else’s world.

You are loved my dear sister and brother. Thanks for being a part of our family.

Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this together in Him.

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