This blog got a lot of traffic over the weekend, and I think much of it went directly to a post from last year, "To the Childless Woman on Mother's Day." This topic resonates powerfully from year to year, and I thank the several people who posted their comments.
Although the "nuclear family" is going strong, and although certain communities try to keep alive the idea that the father-mother-children model is THE ideal according to the Bible, reality shows us that family can mean a lot of things. And the worldview according to Jesus has few boundaries when it comes to the definition of family.
The fact is, quite a few women these days do not give birth to children, for any number of reasons. The fact is, a great percentage of families are now blended and therefore not "ideal." The fact is, if we paid attention to the care of orphans, widows, and other marginalized people, none of us would have a mere nuclear family anymore. Every Christian home would be a hodge-podge of people needing and finding love.
The fact is, many people are prevented from providing loving homes to children because they do not fit someone's idea of a good parent--because of income level or sexual orientation. We have defined the family so narrowly that we would rather children be left in foster care or orphanages rather than in a stable and permanent environment that does not meet our more particular standards.
I'll probably get some mail for this, but I'm quite weary of the American Christian obsession over "the family." God's family is large and rowdy. Jesus' family always raises eyebrows because it's full of characters. It's no surprise to me that a prophet once said that the barren woman would become a mother to many; that's just the way God does things. If we open our hearts, someone will walk in. As long as we don't demand to have control over who walks in, when or how they walk in, we will nurture many of God's children, in God's way.