Monday, August 12, 2013


Family. Immediate family, extended family. Family loyalty and family feuds. Family really can do a lot of things, and we do. We love each other and we hurt each other. Still, in the end, family.

There's something beautiful about the way we relate to our families, the way we defend one another, the way we help one another. Being back in Canada this last year has allowed us to relate with our families more, which has been a huge blessing. It has also allowed us to watch many families who have spent their whole lives living close to one another.

I am constantly amazed, really, to see the way families help one another. I'm awed by children who are close to their grandparents and the way people care for their parents as they age. I'm also shocked by how little people seem to realize the blessing they have in spending their lives in the same community as their families. In a small community where this is the norm, I don't think we often consider how unusual this is in the world at large. From Filipinos who are forced apart by the need to work overseas to the many work-related moves many young families make, much of the world is living in community devoid of family.

In communities where there is little family, friends must move into the parts of our lives that would normally be reserved for family. Relationships deepen based on need, and we must become vulnerable with people that we're not sure will respond the way we wish they would. And for many of us who have left family to pursue God's call on our lives, He has done as He promised and given us people who are like brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. It's a deep blessing.

As I ponder this I'd like to say thanks to our family who has loved us through many moves, who has chosen to stay connected despite distance. I'd like to thank you all over the world who are like family to us.

I'd also challenge you who have never lived far away from your family to ponder what life would look like if you had only friends and no family. And thank your for family the way they invest in your life! Then consider reaching out to someone who has no family as though they were family... you might be surprised what happens!

Friends and family. Family and friends. There's a difference, but then again, there isn't. Let's blur the lines in healthy ways for the glory of God!


Sarah said...

This was so beautifully written! And so true... Happy continued travels down to AZ! :-)

Garry and Cynthia Barkman said...

Thanks, Sarah! Have a great day... may we be blessed often by our families and friends!