Sunday, June 28, 2015

It Takes Time

A blended family is a family that includes children from a previous marriage of the wife, husband, or both parents. For those of us who have been or are currently in a blended family setting, we know all to well the unique dynamics we face day to day. Marriage in and of itself brings challenges of it's own when our lives are joined together as one and in a blended family you have children in the relationship from the start.

According to Jimmy Evans of, the divorce rates tend to be higher for a blended family due to the all present set of challenges faced from parenting differences, unresolved feelings, priority in the relationship, etc. Don't let this scare you! I believe it's how we handle our differences, the expectations we have, and the Godly foundation we lay from day one that allows the blended family to thrive and be a success. You don't go into marriage with negative thoughts such as, this is going to be too hard, it might not work, what if I fail? Don't get me wrong with the divorce rate in today's society it sure doesn't make it easy to be positive. It's my opinion however, that's the problem. We live in a so called "microwave society" where everything is done and attained fast and easy with next to little thought about putting hard work into anything, including marriage and family.

Beating the odds of divorce in my opinion is totally possible if we are "smart" about how to overcome the unique barriers which set us apart from biological families, which is to simply understand we each bring value to our newly formed step-family. Nothing's perfect, everything takes work, and most importantly building a strong foundation will take time. In my blended family, one of the things we decided to do right after we married was make necessary adjustments professionally to help meet the needs within the family. For example my husband and I both decided to change our work schedules to allow us more time at home as a blended family. This decision was particularly important for my 6 year old son to help establish a solid foundation for our blended family. Children need stability and a sense of security at all times but even more so during a major life change such as marriage. We focused on building a foundation based on Gods principles for our family and building those strong relationships with each other. The progress we've seen thus far has been amazing and worth every obstacle we've encountered.

One of the major areas we've found most difficult is our difference of opinion in parenting. I'm sure a lot of you are saying, "yes me too". Well let me encourage you, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The one thing I had to realize was if I wanted my son to respect my husband and look to him as the leader and authority in our home, I had to allow room for his parenting style even if I felt there was error. When I don't agree with something my husband has done in his parenting, I address it with him at the proper time. It's important to remember never underestimate their authority in front of the children. This subjects the child to not trusting or respecting the step parents authority. This one was hardest for me. I had been so used to doing it "on my own" I forgot there was someone else's opinion which needed to be considered. We still work at this daily, but we have found working together as a team and being respectful of each one's point of view makes the difference. If you each have a different idea on a parenting issue, my advice is to discuss it, pray about it, and then come to a common ground to handle the situation or issue. By handling it this way, you and your spouse are respectfully submitting to one another and acknowledging the important roles you both play in the marriage as parents.

The bottom line, being a blended family takes time. Make space in your everyday lives to invest in your family and marriage taking it one step at a time. Every family is different and unique in their own way and there is no instruction manual or step by step guide to follow. If I could offer any advice it's to keep your focus on God and allow him to guide you through your journey. You'll be blessed by his unfailing faithfulness and astounded by his grace. With God all things are possible!! 

Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3 Things I Learned In my Storm!

During the time after my divorce when God was healing my wounded soul, the three lessons I walked away with were powerful. It's hard to imagine when going through our storms for us to see the bigger picture and the reason for the testing of our faith. Romans 8:28 states, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." I've made it my goal to accept the tough challenges in life as a blessing because I have discovered our pain stretches us and points us to God. If we seek him wholeheartedly, we will find him. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any one hears and listens to and heeds my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with me", (Revelation 3:20). 

1. Acceptance of Self
Loving ourselves and accepting our flaws is vital to our future. We can't expect to press forward and still be looking in the rear view mirror. Our past is just that, our PAST! We are not perfect and we all make mistakes. I believe it's what we do with the knowledge we gain from those mistakes which help shape our future. Remember, we can't change our past but we can certainly change our future. 
  • Psalm 139:14, "I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
  • Isaiah 61:3, "and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called mighty oaks, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." 
2. Trust
When things are going great, life is full of smiles and giggles we easily admit and profess, we trust God. As soon as our circumstances go south and we can't see a shimmer of sun in the tough times we doubt. Why, because we discover during the hard times where we've actually placed our happiness which is in the things of this life, NOT JESUS! True happiness, peace, fulfillment, self-worth, and value are found in him. People and things of this world will fade but the things found in God are eternal. 
  • Psalm 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."
  • Proverbs 23:4-5, "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surly sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." 
3. Purpose
We all have been given a certain destiny in this life and God knows the plans and purpose for each of us. Nothing catches God by surprise and he knows our end from the beginning. If we allow the enemy, which is the father of lies to consume our thoughts and condemn us, Gods purpose for our lives becomes less visible.
  • Romans 8:1-2, "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." 
  • Exodus 9:16, "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I  might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 
We serve a God that is faithful and sovereign. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes and with him our lives have purpose and our identity is found in him. The three lessons I learned from my storm were valuable because I had to restore my soul and accept myself and experience his unconditional love in ways I'd never imagined. His grace has filled me and allowed me to pour into the lives of my son and husband. By no means is our life perfect, however our blended life is richer because of God. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Storm Before My Blessing....

Over the course of the last 2 years, my life has been an emotional whirlwind but worth every challenge I faced. In January 2012, after 10 years of marriage, I decided to divorce not realizing the repercussions my soul would suffer or the emotional pain I'd endure. 

After my divorce, I kept moving right along in life fell in love and got engaged to a wonderful man who made me feel complete in every sense of the word. He met all my needs emotionally, part of what was lacked in my previous marriage or at least I thought. Never once however, did I stop to take a deep look inside myself at my true brokenness and I was only setting myself up for more disappointment. Due to circumstances beyond my control, my heart became overwhelmed with grief which forced me to listen to that still small voice inside, telling me I wasn't ready to remarry. I called off my wedding and chose to listen to GOD and seek his will for my life which I had previously ignored but first I needed healing. Anger and guilt were my two biggest areas I had to surrender to God if I ever wanted to be emotionally free.   

At first I didn't recognize it as I had consumed myself with work, school, my son, and my new found love. Instead of taking the time to properly heal from my divorce or seek GOD about it, I simply put a band-aid over it to not expose my wound. What I should of been doing was looking inward at all my discontentment and unhappiness in lieu of what my outward appearance looked like which was happy. God showed me it was okay to be angry because it's a sign of our human nature and that it's not wrong as long as we respond to it correctly. Ephesians 4:31 states, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." I never addressed my anger from the divorce and it took root in my heart, causing me to blame others for my own faults and unhappiness, when I should have given it to God and allowed him to heal my hurt. 

I must have asked myself a thousand times the same questions. What could I have done better? What was my fault in the marriage? Where did I go wrong? What do others think of me? Does God still love me? How could I move past this, how could GOD ever use me now? The answer to all these questions is Gods grace and forgiveness. Psalms 32:5 states, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you will forgave the guilt of my sin." You see God loves us so much and his love is unconditional. 

The healing process was a painful journey in which I had to allow God to do a deep cleaning of my heart. Surrendering total control of my life to God was necessary in order for him to work in and through me. It has been amazing to draw close to him and let my creator love me and I wonder why I ever held back. All this time I thought I could do it in my own strength but I couldn't of been further from the truth. In our weakness his strength is made perfect. God has given me such a peace and healed my broken heart revealing that if I trust him completely, he will turn my sorrow into joy. I'm so thankful for Gods unconditional love and mercy. He restored me and healed my deep rooted wounds and spoke his truth to my heart. 

For those wondering or asking yourself, will I ever feel whole again, the answer is YES! Remember, Gods love is unconditional and he accepts us just as we are. He is there to pick up the broken pieces and RESTORE us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 states, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Sometimes we make a mess of our lives because we think we know what's best, what we want, or what we need forgetting to check-in with God. We let our heads do the thinking all the while God is waiting for us to seek him in TRUTH. When we take things into our own hands, it's been my experience, we end up on our knees begging God to fix our problems. It seems to me we could of saved ourselves a lot of grief had we sought Gods guidance and divine wisdom. In the end we will see our rainbow...

On February 28, 2015, I married the man I had been engaged to 2 years ago. There is no doubt in my mind my journey was necessary in order to be the godly wife God created me to be in marriage. God has joined us together to be used for his glory and given both of us a powerful testimony to encourage other families.  I have a 6 year old son from my previous marriage who simply adores and loves his step-dad. The daily challenges we face as a blended family are not always easy but the joy we share in living lives totally surrendered to God is priceless. Being married is an adjustment in and of itself and with raising a child, well let me just say God keeps us on our toes!  My hope is you've been encouraged knowing God has you covered. His plans are better than anything we could think of on our own and by his grace we are victors!!