Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding Our Chosen Family

Do you have a Chosen Family? Do you know what a Chosen Family is? It's a term coined by my dear friend M to refer to our group of friends. According to M, your Real Family is the family you were born into. Your Chosen Family are the people God gives you to make up for your Real Family's faults. She says your Chosen Family includes the people you can truly count on. In this sense, I disagree. My Dad always taught me that the only people you can always count on are your Real Family members, and not your friends. He said friends would always let you down. I disagree with him, too. I believe that God has blessed us with a wonderful Real Family AND an amazing Chosen Family. I can count on them both, and I never knew that until I got sick.

2009 was not a good year for me. 2009 was when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. When I walked out of my ER at the end of my shift at 7AM on December 26, I had no idea I would never practice medicine as an ER Pediatrician again. I fully expected to return to work 12 hours later to work another night shift. But God had other plans. I was admitted that day to a local hospital where I remained for a week. At discharge, I could barely walk with a walker around my house, much less drive or exercise. I don't remember much of the next 3 months. My mind has blissfully forgotten those months of lying on the couch unable to function...except for one significant day.

I will never forget it. I was lying on the couch doing my usual brand of multitasking - Internet, TV, and reading on my kindle - when some girls from our Sunday School class showed up at the door, girls I had only casually spoken to, but had never considered truly being friends with. M was with them. Their exact words, "Get dressed. We're going for toes (translation: pedicures), and you're coming with us." I tried to beg off, citing the constant dizziness that kept me from moving my head, much less my body. Their response, "Get dressed, or we're dragging you for toes in your jammies. You're going. You have no choice." I caved. It was easier then arguing.

I am so grateful that God sent those ladies to me that day. M and I talk and text multiple times a day, and it is a rare week that we are not trading off kids for some reason or another. She has become one of the best, most dependable friends I have ever had, and I thank God for her regularly. She and I are friends. Our husbands are friends. Our kids are friends. They're actually together so much, strangers think they're siblings from the way they act around each other. Our families are friends. They are our Chosen Family. And I am so very thankful.

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