When you hear the word family, a picture automatically comes to mind.
Maybe it's your spouse and kids at home or you own childhood.
Maybe you picture a family like the Waltons or the Cleavers.
For some it's a picture of the Kardashians.
No matter the picture, the word family evokes strong emotion in us.
Most of us have some sort of identity wrapped up in our families. I know for years I struggled with identity. I wanted to be my own person. I was tired of being introduced as my parent's daughter. Then I got married and I became Jim's wife. People would look at me blankly and then I would say, "My husband is the band director." Immediately their eyes would light up in recognition. Oh, to be my own person.
And then I come across a teenage young lady who has been taken in by a family. She's had a long history of heartache from her "family." I use that loosely because even though these people are related to her biologically, they are not her family. Her family is the man and woman who already had two boys, who invited this young lady into their lives.
The family recently visited with the mom's mom and dad. It was a routine kind of visit, the women worked on canning vegetables, while the boys did guy things. Later everyone gathered together for homemade ice cream on the back porch. They even took time to look at old pictures. Really nothing exotic or exciting, just fun and laughter seasoned with love. This simple day brought this teenager to tears. She told her "mom" that she had never had anything like that. This family had not pulled out all the stops to entertain this child. They hadn't spent big bucks to ensure her happiness. No, they simply loved her and brought her in as part of their family.
I think of my own family and how much love Samuel has brought into our home. He is our humor and entertainer. This family would not be complete without him. I think of how much joy Sarah Joy will bring to our family. She is not even here, and yet I would be devestated if something happened to her. I love her so completely.
And then I think of the children who are waiting to know what family is all about. Did you know there are 153 million orphans world wide. There are 382,000 children in foster care in the United States. These are the children who don't understand family. Unlike me, who wanted to be my own person, these children want an identity. They want to know they belong and that they are loved. They want to be able to look at family pictures and know that they have a heritage. The question is, are you willing to leave a legacy? How blessed you will be!