What Is A Family?

What is a Family? That question has haunted me for several days. Why am I writing this blog? Just to think what a family is and how it mirrors the Family of God.

I read many quotes about families, and thought about the kaleidoscope of family memories that God has given me. I can do a litany of “I remember when’s”, but will only add a few sprinkles of ‘membering’.

A family is a unit ordained by God from the beginning. A family is when a husband and wife come together in love. A family is built on love and forgiveness and a unity of purpose. The days when the family seems to splinter is when pride, arrogance and ‘self’ gets in the way of one of these pillars. A successful family life doesn’t just happen, it is a process of building, day by day, step by step, a way of living together in unity, building memories from experiencing life together.

When communication ceases, the ties of the family begins to disappear. Anna, our daughter, asked why we always included, ‘we are proud of you’ comments each time we visit on the phone. “Because, Anna, we don’t think we told you enough how proud we are of you when you were with us. Dad and I discussed this lack, and want our children to know how special they are to us. Communication with our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren is important to us. Even as communication with God through prayer is an essential in our lives.

We will celebrate our 57th Wedding Anniversary in February. In this day and age, it seems improbable that we could achieve this, and we didn’t alone. Once, in a dark time, I remember retreating to the basement – pacing the floor – asking, Just what is love? I turned to I Corinthians 13, the love chapter. I held up the words as a mirror. The reflection showed that I didn’t really know what love meant. From The Message, the message is clear as to what love consists of:

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

A family building blocks are a Father and a Mother and Child(ren) Each has a role in the family. The Father is the Rudder that steers the family. He earns respect and honor as the shepherd of the physical and spiritual well-being of the family. The Mother holds the family together with bandaids, encouragement and love blended with disciplined teaching. The children learn each day the qualities that provide an unbrella to shield them from the storms they encounter. Coming together as one is a journey.

Dad once told me, “I do not have a lot of money, but I do have a good name for being honest and true. That is what I give you. What you do matters and affects your name.”

The physical family is a picture of the spiritual family, the church that is built on Jesus Christ and His righteousness. It is incredible that this family with its humanness can be brought together through the power of the love of our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus. This family is not just the local congregation, but geographically spills across the world, wherever Jesus Christ is proclaimed and lived. This family transcends time back to the time Jesus walked this earth and gave His life, and into the future, that we might live with Him when He comes again. It doesn’t matter what language people speak, or the color of their skin, or the number of their possessions, the Family of God includes all men who believe and trust in Jesus.

A picture of the family becomes priceless for many generations, and protected against floods and fire. To see the members of the family together, smiling for all time. Can you imagine a family picture in Heaven? There will be no bad hair days, no hunting for the right clothes, or someone saying, “Smile, now!”

I Peter 1:16 – As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.

Our minister, Jack, loves to lead us in the song, Family of God, as we make a large circle, holding hands. Suddenly we begin to realize that in Jesus we ARE family.

I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, The Family of God


  1. Aunt Emily – I found your blog address in the last letter you sent my Mom (Jean Siemens). I loved looking over all your stories. Of course I would, it’s all FAMILY in capital letters. It was wonderful fun to connect and get spiritually fed too. Email me: carlyjdodge[at]yahoo.com
    (funny how I have to use my old radio DJ name “carlyj” to set up my email account….
    CJD 🙂

  2. Emily…that was a wonderful blog post. Your heart and spirit are a blessing to me. DAN

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