Family. How Do You Define it?

Family. How do you define it?

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, family is the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children, a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head, a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.

When I think of those united by certain convictions or a common affiliation, I think of the church. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, those of us who claim Jesus as Lord of our lives are adopted into God’s family. As believers here on earth, our family stretches beyond those who attend our specific congregation. It includes all believers everywhere.

During this time in our history where COVID-19 forces us to practice social distancing, personal contact with those we consider family has shifted in ways we probably never imagined at the beginning of 2020.

As I consider these things, I think about people in my church who, though not related by human bloodlines, are related through the royal bloodline of Jesus and I thank God for them.

Before my son was born, my parents moved from Maryland where I grew up, to southern Georgia. They moved to be near my aging grandparents. The move was difficult on all of us.

My parents missed out on seeing their grandson grow up day to day. My son missed out on having the benefit of his grandparents celebrating every holiday and birthday with him. And I missed out on having my parents near by.

During that time, the woman who had been my youth group leader while I was in high school and her husband took over the role of fill-in grandparents and parents. After we moved to Florida, another family stepped into those roles. By the time we moved to Texas, I found myself in the parent stand-in role.

I didn’t set out to take up the role of fill-in mother. It just happened naturally as God brought young women, classrooms full of students, and incarcerated youths into my life. Perhaps the same has happened in your life.

Family. How do you define it?

Are there those in your life who, although not blood-related, are as close as a parent, grandparent, child, or sibling? Is there anyone in your sphere of influence who might need a parent, sibling, or grandparent fill-in?

Look around. It might surprise you how God can use you as a fill-in family member to someone who desperately needs one.

I wish you well.


Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history and travel. Passions that often weave their way into her stories and articles. She writes articles, devotions, and stories for adult and children publications both print and online. Her devotions appear in So God Made a Dog, Let the Earth Rejoice, and Short and Sweet Too. Sandy has won multiple awards for her writing, including several years in the Young Adult category of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out her blog at

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