I think my mind has been remade.

My whole life, I have been believing in very concrete definitions of family. With the exception of my bff-since-sixth-grade-like-a-sister Rachel, the rest of the world has seemed like some distant relative. No offense, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine fitting in with some of these people.

One of the amazing things about being in the line of work that I am in is that my thoughts and heart are constantly being challenged. It’s a part of the job. So, as this summer was challenging in many ways, one of the biggest was in the sense of family. What determines family? Who are they?

My family at home is great. Ryan and I have amazing relationships with our families…but they are also super busy and live many miles away. So, does that mean thats it? Our family stops there? I might have said yes at the start of the summer. But, then, that was before these sneaky guys and girls dove into my heart. That was prior to God challenging me and Ryan on the idea of family.

Family is a group of people loving one another, stirring one another on to good deeds, believing in one another and…yes, making fun of one another. It even involves the occasional “Um…you kind of hurt my feelings…” or the “Wow, I am so sorry but…” conversation.

This is the family Ryan and I have surrounded ourselves with this summer. It’s missing a few people, but this core group is what has encouraged us, spawned us on and inspired us. Just in their existence they challenge me. They do and say things contrary to what I have believed in the past regarding things about education, age and lifestyle. They have inspired Ryan and I to continue to do what we believe in, no matter the cost. Somehow, each and every one of them have managed to chip their way into our hearts.

So…who is your family away from family? Who has been placed in your life to do and be and create alongside of you? Who is there to tell you your vision can happen…that your thoughts can change things…that you are worthy to be heard? Who are you encouraging? Being inspiring to and inspired by? May we all continue to grow and change and love…regardless of the age or position we are in. I know that’s our hope.


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