Love Makes a Family

Updated June 24, 2023

I took this picture last night at my mom’s house. My brother’s family and mine gathered there for an impromptu Friday night dinner.  These are cousins, lounging on a hammock, waiting for the blessing to be over so they can dive into Grandma’s good cooking.  I quickly snapped the picture to capture a moment so beautiful to me.

These cousins love each other, regardless of the fact they were born in three different countries to a handful of other women. God’s plan was for them to be cousins, so here they are, in the back yard of an Ohio grandmother, waiting for her to lavish her love on them.

Gilda Radner tells a story of a pregnant dog who had been hit by a car and whose owners decided to save her life by amputating her back legs. As she learned how to get around after the surgery, she would use her remaining front legs and would drag her back end on the ground behind her. The day the puppies were to be born, she delivered a healthy litter, but for the first several days, they only used their front two legs and drug their back ends behind them. They were following their only example.

I am so glad God made us in his own image and with that came the ability to stretch, grow, learn and change. I am glad I am not following the only example of ‘family’ I had seen, but God could whisper to my husband and I, a new vision. I am grateful when we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, that even at my mother’s age, she can adjust her idea of family and be blessed by the many who call her grandma. 

For some of us, family may mean the children we bear out of our bodies, for some it’s who we add through adoption or foster care, for others, it’s a combination and for still others, family is a term of endearment we offer to those who rest and grow beside our family for a season, whether there is any formal arrangement or not.  

The important thing for me to remember is being a mom means loving, correcting, creating. It means trusting, discerning, risking.  It means celebrating whomever is around my dinner table that evening. Some of us have lost children around our table, either to college dorms, or to heaven or prodigal roads we hope circle back, but on this day, this mom, looks around at these faces and is thankful.

About Author

Beth Guckenberger is the Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries and founder of the Reckless Faith Movement. Beth and Todd have a large family they’ve formed through biological, foster, and adoptive children. She is an author and speaker, sharing her experience as a mother, a missionary, and a student of God’s Word.