Family

Caricatures Faces Funny Family Image

We have recently experienced yet another family upheaval. And once again I am pondering the meaning of the term “family”. Is family supposed to be based solely on genetic connections? Does the multiple combinations of combined and shared DNA define what a family is? Does family also include those who, by choice and by the lawful joining of two people thus create an even bigger family? Or is a family simply those people in your life who, regardless of genetics or lawful joining, are those people who love, support, comfort and encourage you?

In my own life experience, my unit of family made up of shared DNA, has shattered apart from a family of 5 to a family of 2. And has hard as I have tried to re-connect with my other DNA partners, they have not reached out to make the re-connection.

My unit of family created by the lawful joining of my first husband and myself grew to contain 2 more units of shared DNA family members. That family also shattered apart to become 3 distinct family units of their own, only one of which has any real connection to this parental DNA unit.

I am very blessed to still have a very strong bond with my DNA mom, 1 son, and granddaughter. 🙂

I was also very blessed to have a second chance at becoming another family unit by the lawful joining of myself to a wonderul new hubby. By osmosis, I have been included into his DNA family units and enjoy a great relationship with my in-law “brothers and sisters”. These “in-law” family members have become much closer to me than my own DNA sharing sisters and father.

The VERY TRICKY part of this new family combination has been my hubby’s 2 DNA family units – known to me as “the step-kids”. This new type of family forces DNA sharers from one family to try to encorporate themselves, willingly or otherwise, into a new form of family unit.

For the past seven years I have worked very hard at not becoming the stereotypical “evil step-mother”. However, I regretfully confess that the evil step-mother may have come out for a wild ride recently. The “good” (ahem) stepmother had the straw that broke the camel’s back placed upon her already burdened shoulders and she had had enough of watching her beloved hubby being taken for granted and misused by his DNA units. So she spoke what she felt was the truth – and the truth was not well received – not well at all.

This whole dysfunctional family thing just keeps making me wonder what, exactly, is family supposed to be? And if the traditional sense of family is no longer functioning, is it okay to walk away from it and find your loving family with other people, whether or not they are genetically or lawfully joined to you?

Webster’s 1829 Dictionary gives the following definitions of “family”:

1. The collective body of persons who live in one house and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children and servants, and as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.

2. Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe or race; kindred; lineage. Thus the Israelites were a branch of the family of Abraham; and the descendants of Reuben, of Manasseh, &c., were called their families. The whole human race are the family of Adam, the human family.

3. Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors.

Since I believe that the institue of family was created by God, I am going to find out what He says about family in His Word.

The word in the Old Testament that has been translated to “family” is the Hebrew word “mishpâchâh”;
(mish-paw-khaw’) : a family, that is, circle of relatives; and by extension, a tribe or people.

In the New Testament, the Greek word “patria” (pat-ree-ah’) means: paternal descent, that is, (concretely) a group of families or a whole race (nation): – family, kindred, lineage.

Hmmmm –  after doing some research, my understanding of family has changed somewhat. I found it interesting to note that not once did I find a definition that actually states that a family is made up of people who love one another. According to Webster’s definition and the terms used in the Bible, family seems to simply mean humans who are connected through DNA and/or living arrangements.

Perhaps the misunderstanding of the term “family” is what causes so many problems? One assumes that to be part of a family means to be loved, yet so many of us know, unfortunately, that is not our reality. I think we believe that “family” automatically implies love, yet sharing DNA, or a lawful joining and/or a living arrangement does not guarantee love. In fact, it often inspires the opposite of love – hatred.

Since “family” seems to be a complex topic, I am going to do some more research and will continue sharing my thoughts in another post.

Blessings, and enjoy the following excerpt from “I’m My Own Grandpa” written by Moe Jaffe. 🙂

“I’m My Own Grandpa”

Now, many many years ago
When I was twenty three
I was married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Had hair of red
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life
My daughter was my mother
‘Cause she was my father’s wife

To complicate the matters
Even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle
Though it made me very sad

For if he was my uncle
That also made him the brother
Of the widow’s grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

 

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Father’s Day re-blog

 

 

I was going to write about Father’s Day today when I realized that everything I had wanted to say, I had already said in last year’s post on Father’s Day. So here is the link to last year’s post: Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 🙂

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged. 

Eph 6:4 And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

(Image from fathersdayprintables.com)

 

Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day. While I love my earthly father, despite his mistakes, he has not had much of a connection with me since I was a teenager. It is difficult to have a close relationship with someone who lives on the other side of the country.

I do have some good memories of him though. I used to have very long hair and I remember sitting on the floor in between my Dad’s legs as he sat on a chair and brushed my hair. My Dad was an avid sportsman and athlete and I am sure he would have loved to have had a boy to share those interests with (there was no such thing as girls’ hockey or football when I was young – just chasing dinosaurs ;P) but  we were a family of three girls. However, I do remember my Dad teaching us how to throw, catch and hit a baseball. (Unfortunately, he didn’t teach me how to duck fast enough so I ended up with a ball to the side of the head – which may explain a few things – ;P) He also taught us how to hold on to and throw a football properly so that it spiraled nicely in the air and how to catch the ball and clench it into your stomach so that you didn’t fumble it. And we learned how to stretch and properly warm up and cool down for track and field events (so that we could run after those dinosaurs!).

I suppose that my Dad was a typical father for the times – not overly involved in the rearing of his children. And I guess he did not have a good example of fatherhood, from which to learn, from his own father. During my childhood, I don’t have any bad memories of my father, but I can’t say that he really had any positive impact in my life either. However, his leaving our family when I was a young teenager has had an untold negative effect on my life, even to this day. Yet I still love him and miss him.

In the wisdom of my ‘advanced years’ (lol) I have come to understand the damage that can occur to someone when they do not have a proper father figure in their life. Blessedly, I have also come to know and understand that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me more than any earthly father could.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

My Heavenly Father loved me even when I was an imperfect sinner.

Eph 2:4,5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), …

My Heavenly Father loves me and has adopted me as His own dear child.

Eph 1:5  [God] having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,…

My Heavenly Father has given me an inheritance more valuable than earthly riches.

Eph 1:11 in whom [Jesus] also we have been chosen to an inheritance, …

1Pe 1:3, 4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you …

My earthly father was not around to provide for my physical needs but my Heavenly Father can always be counted upon to provide for not only my physical needs, but my mental and spiritual ones as well.

Mat 6:31, 32 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.

Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

My earthly father left and moved to the other side of the country and in over 30 years I have probably only seen him about a dozen times. But, although I can not physical see or feel Him, I know that my Heavenly Father is always close by and that He is more than willing and able to be involved in my life.

Heb 13:5 … for He has said, “Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!”

I also have the great comfort of knowing that, since I am God’s child, nothing can ever separate me from the love that my Heavenly Father has for me through Jesus Christ.

Rom 8:35 Who [or what] shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Rom 8:38, 39 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Maybe you have not had the kind of earthly father in your life that can be celebrated on Father’s Day. However, you can have a Heavenly Father who will love you every day, no matter what, and who will be there to comfort, support, encourage, strengthen and guide you in and through all of life’s challenges. He is waiting for you to call upon Him.

Rom 10:13 For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

God is waiting to be your ‘ABBA’.

Rom 8:14, 15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!

Blessings

P.S.:  A book that helped me to better understand God as ‘Father’ was the following: James Robison’s book, Knowing God as Father, will touch your life as you discover what a wonderful, loving Father you have in God. James tells of the joy and peace in his life as a child of God and leads you into a relationship of your own with the best Father ever.

 

(I have received no payment to endorse the above book – it was just helpful to me)