“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” –Lisa Weed

Have you ever wondered how different your life would be if we truly lived life in the absence of family? I know in my life I have had times where I’ve felt alone and absent from my own family. A lot of my experience with these feelings were when I was in college living with completely new people and in a new environment or when I traveled abroad to serve in the mission field. I was so blessed to have the ability to stay in touch with my family and friends back home. However, I imagine these times would have been very different if I had no way to communicate with my loved ones.

Family is a blessing and holds much value in the hearts of many. I think of all the struggles I’ve had throughout my life and those memories usually remind me of moments my family has been right there with me through it all. I am astonished by the way my loved ones have shaped my life. They know most every piece of me. They know how to make me laugh, what makes me sad, what I am passionate about, my strengths, my weaknesses, every aspect to who I am. They have had a part in shaping me into the person I am today.

I have a decent sized family of eight consisting of two parents, four brothers, and a sister. We were all pretty involved in sports and the music and theatre world. We did almost everything together. My parents did their best to instill the value of love and companionship within our sibling unit. Yes, as in all families, we had our fair share of discrepancies which usually lead to verbal altercations or in most cases…wrestling wars! No matter what things were said or done in those times, we still were there for one another.

Having my family involved in my life during the ups and downs has truly played a significant role in who I have become as an individual. Family engagement has been key to keeping my sanity and keeping my head up in troubled times. I am so grateful to have the people I have in my life and I am even more thankful for their willingness to be involved in the big and small moments of my life. My hope is that everyone is able to experience the kind of love and involvement a family can offer. Whether it comes from the family you were blessed with or the family you’ve gained along the journey of life, family is important and allows us to thrive in this lifetime.