Defining a Family

After a day spent outside with near-perfect weather, we are back at home.   As each of us begins to settle into our own individual routines , I am sitting with a deep conditioner (trying out As I Am’s “Hydration Elation” today), a night of few “have-tos,” and time on my hands.  What a perfect opportunity to blog.     Yet, my mind has been relatively blank for the last week or more when it comes to blogging; generally speaking, I have the opposite problem—much to write about and no time to pen my thoughts to paper or other electronic medium.    So, where is my mind today?   On family.

What defines a family?   Did you know that has at least 17 different definitions of the word ‘family?’    Here’s a start:

 1) a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.

2)a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: a single-parent family.

3) the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.

4) a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants.  (


I have been blessed with stability in my family for a number of years now.   My husband has been around for 20 years, and though there are brief periods when we could probably sell one another for a really cheap price (if not give the other one away altogether), I think we have something really special.    If anything, we have to remind ourselves to make couple time a priority amidst his travel schedule, my career(s), and three very busy kids.   But I can remember when my life wasn’t always that way.

 I have lived most of my life away from my biological family.   Though I am an introvert and somewhat of a loner, moving away from people that I know forced me to extend myself and build relationships with relative strangers.   In this way, I have had to redefine my “family,” especially when I couldn’t always get home for the holidays or when someone from my new “family” wanted me to join in on an event.   Sometimes my new family was a group of co-workers; other times that family might have evolved from a group of single ladies who, like me, lived far away from home and biological relations.

 5) the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family.

6) a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen family of elements.

7) a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes of the sixties regarded themselves as families. (

Fast-forwarding a number of years, if I were to think about people who are closest to me in terms of attitudes, interests, etc., a number of those in my biological family wouldn’t be on the list.   Even funnier, a number of people whom I have not known as long perhaps would be on the list.   This includes even some of my blogging/ Facebooking/ tweeting buddies—some of whom I’ve now met in real life.  

Today I spent time with my church family.    During our “October Family Blast” event, I met a number of families—traditional families like ours, and blended families, who might have actually outnumbered those like our brood.  I also met a very special family—a mother who was so excited about the three children who will be legally hers as of November 19th.   Through her, I caught a brief glimpse of how we are all grafted into God’s family.

 8) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a family: a family trait. (

  How does our Lord define family?

46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”   Matthew 12:46-50

Praise God that, even when I wasn’t consciously looking for this trait,  doing the will of the Father has been the common thread that binds no matter where and how my family has come.

Where do all my ramblings leave me?   With a thankful heart, for wherever I’ve been and whatever has been my  circumstance, the Lord has always blessed me with the gift of family—in all of its many forms.


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