this is my family.
As I sit here on a Friday night, cozied up with my onzie and jazz music, I can't help but think how blessed I am. Sure, maybe this isn't your typical Friday night of choice, but I love my house. Not just my house, but my home. My house has been made a beautiful home because of who is in it. As cheesy as it is, I seriously couldn't imagine a cozy home where I am alone.
I've grown up with a big family; 6 in my immediate family, and a large extended family. Family has always been of big importance to me. A few words I would use to describe my family includes loud, silly, a little obnoxious, and hospitable. It is rare to have a quiet moment in the Reid house, unless nobody else is home. When you come over, you can expect to be greeted with a loud hello, a hug or two, and endless amounts of food. If you'd ask anyone who knows us, I'm sure they would all say that we have a busy house, with lots of food, and always room for more people. Our dinner table usually has a minimum of 6 or 7 people every night, with lots of conversation, food, and well, more food. If you haven't guessed yet, we LOVE food. When someone is over, my mom is always checking in making sure they've had enough to eat, offering them anything she can find. Would you like some more? Are you sure? Can I offer you a cookie? How about ice cream? Are you sure? Try saying no to that!
Undoubtedly, my family has its own quirks and a whole lot of goofballs, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. I've had some very incredible opportunities to work alongside individuals who have been faced with difficult family situations, including foster care, abuse, and emotional neglect, to name a few. It absolutely breaks my heart when I hear this and see the impact that it has. It has deeply touched people close to me, and I know I will continue to encounter brokenness, especially in my field. To give some context, I am currently completing my Child and Youth Care Degree at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford. Essentially, what I see child and youth care as, is walking alongside children, youth and families, who have experienced challenging life circumstances and cheering them on, engaging with them, and equipping them with the supports to overcome these difficulties.
Coming from a supportive and beautiful Christian family, I know the value that a good family can bring. When we are blessed by God, whatever that looks like, it is an incredible opportunity to share that with others. For me, growing up with the family that I did, I know how valuable it is to share that. One day, when I have a family of my own, I know that that is one of my biggest ministry opportunities. Even now, while I am still living at home, I love knowing that when I invite people over, my parents are quick to engage with all our guests. They ask them questions about their life, checking in on how they are, and asking about school and work. I know for some people, they don't have many adults in their life who do that, who genuinely sit down to listen to how their day was, or to follow up on something they accomplished or were worried about. I love that my parents and family does that.
In studying for my degree, I also have the incredible opportunity to serve at-risk youth and their families in Surrey. I get to walk alongside them and show them what God intended for families to be like, by creating relationships with them, teaching them vital life skills, and most importantly, reminding them how deeply loved they are. At the end of the day, my mission is to love God and love people, wholeheartedly. For me, it means being in the trenches with people, it means walking alongside difficult moments and supporting them in whatever way I can, it means modelling what a good family looks like, especially for those who have not been modelled it well. I truly believe that at the end of the day, no matter what accomplishments I've done, loving well is what makes life worth it. My family has taught me how to love well--to show up when it's easier to avoid, to share meals and conversations, and to use what you've been given to bless others.
I thank God always for the people he has blessed me with. Although my life is far from perfect, I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who listen to me, encourage me, and who have loved me well. The beautiful thing about God is that he invites us into His family. He calls us children, sons and daughters, heirs to His kingdom. We are His. Sure, we might not all have amazing and supportive earthly families, but God invites us into His kingdom family. I want you to hold onto that hope. Get connected to a church community if you aren't yet. Reach out. There is a family out there that is willing and waiting to adopt you into theirs. A family who is a little slice of heaven on earth to demonstrate and model Jesus' love for you. You are loved, you are wanted, and you belong.