“Friends are the family we get to choose.”
Be honest. If your life was a reality television show, and if you’d been given the opportunity to hand pick who you would and wouldn’t be related to…well, would you have chosen each of your family members??? I’m guessing there’s one or two you would have voted out of your family tree, as well as off the island, the stage, the runway, and the dance floor!
I think that’s one of the reasons that we love our friends so much: they’re not assigned to us; we actually get to pick them. Besides common interests, we share the beliefs and convictions that determine the way we live our very lives. It’s connecting on such deep levels that make our friends more than friends…they actually become our family.
Jesus felt that way about a group of His friends. Once, when He was teaching in someone’s home, He was so surrounded by his closest friends and other followers that his mom and brothers couldn’t even get through the door to talk with Him. When someone told Jesus that His family wanted to see Him, Matthew 12:49-50 says He pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus wasn’t downplaying the importance of family. What He was doing was elevating the importance of friendship. Essentially saying, “These people here get me! They know and accept who I am. They believe in what I believe in. They are so important to me that I consider them as family!”
I’ve always been deeply grateful for my own family of choice, but never more so than now. The truth is my own family is shrinking. In the past three years, my husband and I have grieved the deaths of our family’s patriarch and of both our mothers. My father was then diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we’ve said good-bye to both our children as they’ve flown our homey nest to spread their wings at college. While I’m weary of saying good-bye, I’ve been beautifully blessed with a treasured gift in the midst of this hellaciously hard season:
A much, much welcomed family of choice.
As I count my many blessings this Thanksgiving, I’ll certainly thank God for each and every relative I still have on this earth. But, I won’t stop there. More than ever before, I’ll be thanking Him for the priceless privilege of having another family, a family I get to choose. And because there’s always new friends to be made, that’s a family I can increase. So, be gone shrinkage! Bring on the friends – the family I get to choose!
What do you appreciate most about your family of choice? I’d love to hear your thoughts.