This Is My Family

by Alise


My husband held me in his arms and kissed me deeply before he sent me off to a country thousands of miles away from our home to write about a God he doesn’t worship in a place where God can be hard to see.

He is my family.

After admitting that I was terrified that I was the wrong person to make the trip to Moldova, my Facebook wall filled with images of fiery unicorns and inappropriate prayers from people that I know primarily through online interactions.

They are my family.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a silver bracelet with “woman” in 13 languages on it and a heavy, wool sweater. I wore both every day in Moldova and they reminded me that disagreements don’t mean much in the face of love.

She is my family.

A mix of hanging-on hugs from my youngest, to side hugs from my older children, reminded me that even as they grow and need me less every day, they still love me and miss me when I’m gone.

They are my family.

I came back to a piano studio littered with notes of affirmation and prayers written by my best friend while I was away.

He is my family.

Men and women in my church gave me hugs and shoved crumpled up bills into my hand. They don’t have a lot to share, but they gave it gladly and selflessly because they understand that love requires more than words, it also demands actions.

They are my family.

Nine other loud women laughed with me and cried with me and ate placinta with me. We prayed together and shared stories with one another that we can’t fully explain to people who weren’t there.

They are my family.

A young woman, just one year older than my oldest daughter, and who went through more pain in her short 15 years than anyone should ever have to endure in an entire lifetime, put one hand on my waist and took my other hand in hers as she whirled me around the room in a traditional Moldavian dance.

She is my family.

We stood in front of 200 people on a Sunday morning, some of us American, some of us Moldavian, and we sang in our own languages to one tune. We sang with one heart. We sang to one God.

We are a family.


Dear friends,
let us continue to love one another,
for love comes from God.
Anyone who loves is a child of God
and knows God.


1 John 4:7



13 Responses to “This Is My Family”

  1. Prudence February 5, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Yes, and amen.

  2. Jessica February 5, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    You made me tear up.

    You are my family.

  3. kelliwoodford February 5, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    well said.
    a timely read for me today.

  4. Ed February 5, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Beautiful Alise! I can’t wait to share your story this week in the Doing Justice series.

  5. Val February 5, 2013 at 11:31 am #


  6. Ashley February 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I am starting to realize that “family” means so much more than my biological family, my friends, and my church. my spiritual family branches beyond these parameters and makes me evaluate how I’m loving my global family.

  7. the Blah Blah Blahger February 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    This is RAD! What a beautiful post!!!

  8. Amanda Medlin February 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm #


  9. Diana Trautwein February 5, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Alise = this is just beautiful in every way I can think of. Thank you so much.

  10. kim February 6, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    beautiful. and true.

  11. Jason Boyett February 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Lovely, Alise.

  12. Lee H February 12, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I don’t just have one family tree…I have an orchard! This notion was borrowed by another writer but I love it SO MUCH…you can never have too many trees in your orchard…I like to think that some bear fruit while others are dormant, and the roles are ever changing…Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the tree that shelters my orchard with its branches!


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