The family we were born into is genetically branded into our DNA.  We simply had no choice in the matter.  Our mother is our mother and our father is our father, for better or for worse.

Of course, for many it’s not so simple.  You may be adopted like my sister.  And for a variety of reasons, you may never get to know your biological father or your mother.

But there are also persons in our lives who are “like family” because they play a significant role in our life.  They make a difference in who we are.   They become like parents, or like a brother or a sister, or like an uncle or an aunt.

Last weekend Mary and I visited Harry and Ina Durham in Clemson, SC.  It was like going home.

When I was a freshman at Clemson University, I joined the First Baptist Church in Clemson.  It was a rite of passage for me since it was the first time in my life where I became a member of a church where my pastor was not my father.

Harry and Ina walked up to me and said, “We’re both from Alabama, and our church has a student adoption program.  We’d like to adopt you if that’s ok with you.”

I said, “Sure,” without knowing what I was saying.

Student adoption was a way the church reached out to freshmen and gave them a place to eat once a month and have a home away from home.

But for some reason at the end of the first meal, a house key was put on the table and Ina said, “We’re not inviting you anymore.  You can come over anytime you want to.”  And I did, several times per week for the next four years.

And I am still going back home to the people who are like family to me after 37 years.

I’ll write more about Harry and Ina later.  Suffice it to say, they have made a significant difference in my life, and they still do.  I love them like my parents.

I wonder, who has been “like family” to you in your life ? I’d love to hear about them.

Or, maybe who have you been “like family” to othes?  How did it happen?  What does it mean to you?

Regardless who your family is, I hope you have people who are like family.

God knows, we need them.