The Gift of Family

Last week, we shared days of family time. As expected, all was not perfect—some bumps and scrapes, tears, mornings that started earlier than weary parents wanted them to—yet plenty of moments to treasure.

Family is a gift we often take for granted.

Following are thoughts on cherishing the gift of family:

Ties That Bind

As an only child, I didn’t have the opportunity to experience the connection to siblings that is so strong for many, but I have cousins by the dozens, and I love them dearly. Those extended family bonds continue today, and I am thankful for the close relationship I share with many of my cousins. The ties that bind us are strong, including faith and shared history.

So many memories revolve around family gatherings, times together that our parents and grandparents made sure happened. Those family gatherings required planning and work, but I’m so thankful for those who made the effort and created memory-making events.

Strong family ties remain intact through intentional, ongoing communication.

Shared History

When I cleaned out my aunt’s house, I discovered a treasure trove of pictures, letters, and mementos. I was far into the process by this point and finishing was within sight. The idea of dividing items for cousins and their children, and mailing it all, felt overwhelming.

One box was so dirty and filled with unmentionable residue I almost threw it in the trash without inspecting it. But as I pushed the top layers aside, history unfolded—letters from my grandfather to my grandmother that began “Dearest Ruth and babies” (keep in mind some of the “babies” were teens at this point); WWII era letters written to my mother from numerous boyfriends; my youngest uncle’s music awards; and never-seen-before photos. These treasures added a new dimension to family history and provided a glimpse into family life before my birth.

The history you share with family is unique. That history may involve struggles, hardships, unpleasantness, but it is all part of your heritage. Hopefully, the good memories outweigh the bad and you can give thanks for your family.

Treasured Moments

When I think about last week, or any time our family is together, I think of treasured moments. Often life comes at us so fast we must take snapshots of moments and mount them on our hearts. I hold close memories of grandchildren gathered around me, cuddled close or teaching them silly songs. I have snapshot memories of the ocean and sky meeting, with loved ones in the foreground. I remember our oldest grandson eating “several dollar” pancakes on the porch, and stretched out on the bed between us for a few minutes of downtime. I cherish the early morning sounds of little feet, stage whispers, and our daughter giggling at something her brother said.

When family time together feels frantic, take snapshots of moments, and relive them often.


Family love is strong and deep. Family love holds on even when we behave in a manner that is “unlovely.” Family love forgives and promotes forward motion.

Someone reading this is thinking I can never forgive what that family member said or did. Granted, forgiveness is extremely difficult, but unforgiveness is even more destructive. Forgiving frees you, so forgive, and let God be responsible for consequences to your offender.


Family provides a special kind of togetherness and is a source of support and encouragement. When we are together, especially at the table, I sit back and look at each face, give thanks, and pray for each one. I know how important it is to cherish those moments together. I want to imprint each gathering on my heart.

Perhaps you have no family living near you, or the distance between you is emotional, created long ago by multiple hurts. If that is the case, make connections and create or find your own family group where you are. Adopt an older person or include a single mother or college student. God created us to desire community and he will lead you to those who will be your family.

“Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults” (1 Peter 4:8 VOICE).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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  1. My photo albums are my treasure. Most of my generation of family have passed on one by one and I miss having them to share my childhood memories. The gentleman seated almost directly in front of you in the main picture (and later in the stars and strips shirt) is the image of one of my five older, ornery, prank-playing, jokester brothers.

    1. Peggy, my aunt lived to 96 and she really missed her siblings. She had us, but being the last in her generation was hard for her.

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