I'm the youngest of nine kids, and my entire crazy family is in pennsylvania, and I'm in Florida. Over the last 11 years I have redefined what family means to me. I have a Blood Family and a Spiritual Family. My blood family are my flesh and blood: mom, dad, 5 brothers, 3 sisters, 28 neices and nephews, and countless aunts, uncles and cousins. My spiritual family consists of people who love me where I am, tell me God's truth unconditionally, respect me, and keep me accountable for my growth.
As Thanksgiving was approaching, I was missing my flesh and blood family, but since I am on a strict budget, I had to make a choice on when I was going home to Philadelphia: Thanksgiving or Christmas. I choose Christmas. Nothing beats Christmas Eve service in Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, and I didn't think that after spending the last 13 Christmases with my husband, that I was prepared to spend that day with people who haven't known me since I was a baby. So I choose to be alone on Thanksgiving. I was hoping someone in my spiritual family - knowing my circumstance - would invite me to share the feast with them.
I have to admit, the closer I got to the holiday, the more my faith faltered. I finally decided to volunteer to help feed the homeless. Subsequently I received 6 invitations to dinner. This is significant to me for a couple of reasons:
1. I have been let down by people many, many times in my past. People I thought were my friends turned their backs on my at significant times in our lives.
2. My spiritual family has proven to me that they genuinely care about my well-being, as much as I care about theirs.
3. God can replace everything we have given up for Him.
When I left the family church (cult) there was a lot of anguish. I was left out of family events where I should have had a significant role in the event. Since leaving, I have had to work hard to rebuild relationships with my parents and siblings. Meantime, since moving to Florida five years ago, I now have 2 spiritual mommas, a nanna, and countless precious sisters, not to mention "adopted" neices and nephews. I love them all, I feel loved by them, and more importantly we are a Christ centered family.
God knew what he was doing when He led me here. Of everything I am Thankful for this season, I am thankful he gave me so many wonderful, caring people who are willing to be a part of my life.
God bless you, I hope you have a huge "family" to celebrate this Thanksgiving.