Long, long ago he decided to adopt his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son.

~Ephesians 1:5

I was not brought up in your typical family. But then again, what is a typical family anymore? What I mean is, I have a very diverse family. My dad was married a few times and with each new marriage, grew our family members. Just to start, my grandmother on my dad’s side had 11 children that included her 2nd husband’s children after her first husband passed away from cancer. On my mom’s side it gets more interesting.  I am the oldest of 7 children. We do not all come from the same mom and dad and some of us are half-sisters or brothers and others are step through marriage. But in our eyes, we are all brothers and sisters and there is no word “step” in our vocabulary. We are family and we all love one another and see no difference just because of marriage.  See where I am going with that? One time we were trying to count how many cousins we had and when we got to 64 (which did not count their own children; the next gen yet), we stopped counting and said A LOT!  So, when I say I have a big family I mean a big family!

Every family has its own unique makeup, strengths, pains and quirkiness. For some people, just being a part of a family is a brave thing. To stay in and do life in that family, healthy or not, can be the most courageous thing that person is doing in their life at that time.  I know this very well growing up in an abusive, alcoholic father figure family.  But God, He does family perfectly. For he adopted us broken, flawed, sinful and quite often unhealthy, into his family through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to do family perfectly, but we can be treated and cared for perfectly in His family.

So stay with me here; I came from a very broken, very unhealthy family (another story later) that was dark at times and also very full of life and love in other times. No matter what your family makeup looks like, you can be brave enough to love your family well even family isn’t always healthy. You can be brave enough to love and honor your family in the brokenness or the craziness and to stay in your family as well as create family. Yes, and even when they hurt you.

Every situation is different and of course yours may be very different from your friends or even mine. Sometimes the best way to love a certain family member is from a distance. What might this look like for you? It’s following God’s example. God lives and breathes forgiveness and grace every moment for each one of us. We too can live this example. It’s asking God for wisdom with those in our family who are broken, unhealthy or even those who drive us a bit cray cray. Praying for the courage to stick with your family and to love them in their brokenness just has God has loved you in yours. Be that example, start today.

Woman to Woman:Be courageous and reach out to a family member and thank them for supporting you during a tough time in your life. Or reach out to one whom you haven’t spoken to due to the craziness of life. Let them know you love them, even in their brokenness.

WoW (Words of Wisdom): strength ofEmpathy: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

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