What Family Means to Me

All month long, A Beautiful Blog will feature stories about family. We kick off our series with a story from Loryn Smith. As a mom of 14, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to raise a family. 

by Loryn Smith

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines family as, “1: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head: household. 2. a: a group of persons of common ancestry.”  Scripture, however, gives us a different picture.  Matthew 12:46-50 says, As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers.Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

Family, in my experience, has been synonymous with ministry and the call on our lives.  Family has been parenting 100 children temporarily and 14 children permanently.  At times family has also been “expanding our tents” to include other adults and their children who needed a place of refuge.  And, family has been the Body of Christ—brothers and sisters, who have encouraged me, challenged me, supported me, and prayed for me in every season of life.

I have come to understand family as a place of safety…a place of belonging…a source of unconditional acceptance…an oasis for healing…a commitment to building up, not tearing down.  Families aren’t perfect.  Families aren’t always our choice.  Families are created by God.  Families are where God begins to write our stories.  It is a place to learn who He is and who He wants us to be.  In all of life’s challenges and imperfections, it is family who anchors us; awareness that we are never alone.

Saying that, I’d have to add that, contrary to Merriam-Webster, Scripture encompasses a new family…a family that is created with God as our Father; Jesus as our brother.  A family that is like-minded, pursuing a life that will glorify God.  Family is whomever God places in our lives to walk this journey called life with us Family is the knitting together of hearts:  hearts that have been broken, hearts that can help mend the broken; hearts that have a need to belong, hearts that can provide a place of belonging; hearts that serve, hearts that need service; hearts that love God, hearts that need to see the love of God in action. 

Family defines me.  Family challenges me.  Family is where God has placed me. 

Loryn Smith is the mom of 14 children, 8 grandchildren (with 2 on the way), and is the director of Woven Basket, a Christian adoption agency.  She is passionate about the call in James 1:27 to care for widows and orphans, and loves to help Christians find their role in fulfilling this call.  Loryn also loves to travel, read, and spend rare alone time with her husband, Thad.

 

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