Blended Family Series Written From The Heart - Coria Brock
I was a single mother and lived with my son for eight years before I re-married. My husband also had two children, one was six and one was three when we became a blended family. What does a blended family mean to me? The first thing I can think of is the story of Cinderella, it contained a step relationship with an image of hardship. The second however is that we can have hope, the hope we can find in Christ if we are a husband and wife who are willing to be honest to each other and communicate, in one heart under God, our Lord Jesus.
The hope we have does not take us straight to the victory. As a husband and wife, we committed to each other in God and that we will love each other like Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:22-31) Because of the love we have for each other, we also made a commitment that there would be no difference in our love for our three children. Was that not what our Heavenly Father has done for His children as well? We believe so! We believe this, we committed to it, and we put it into our actions. But if we are honest, this didn’t make it any easier. During the first few months after we were married and began to live under the same roof, we were hit hard repeatedly. There is no shame to share that, it was a period of tears and pain. A Cinderella story happened, but the hardship was not the result of an evil step mother or foolishness of step sisters, but it was the result of all the changes that were required for each one of us. Let’s break down these changes:
The changing of our daily life styles…
When people come from different backgrounds, relationally the thinking will be different and the way they act and react when thing happen will be different. It was simply to say, “no big deal” when things happened but now, with our desire to build a better home together, we could not simply ignore the differences. Because of that, we needed a lot understanding, correcting, adjusting, and molding. During this changing process, it was not only the parents who were involved, but the children as well. It was never easy. Especially when the process involves dealing with complicated past relationship.
2. Dealing with the process changing…
As above mentioned, each family members participates in the process of change. It may cause a confusion and misunderstanding, and sometimes could even create doubt in the children’s heart about the love of the step parent. We cannot expect that the children will fully understand what is going on, nor can we control the way they perceive and interpret what is going on in their little minds. This may be especially true for children who remember the divorce of their original parents, no matter if they have a relationship with both sides or not. As a result of what they have gone through they may have built up a strong theory about their life, and this theory may be positive or negative. When they see something new coming or something about to change they may see it the same way as we see a storm is coming. When this happens, it can cause the child to doubt. They may doubt that the parents truly love them, they may doubt that the parents love for each other, or they may doubt that other family members truly love them. When this happens, we will see it reflected in the way that they try to protect themselves, and this normally comes in the form of a big reaction and emotion. One thing to remember is that the husband and wife who are going through the process of remarriage, are no different than a new couple who are getting married. They are working to learn to know each other and love each other. This process involves life changes, changes in priorities, compromises, and sacrifices, as well as forgiveness and acceptance. However, a remarried couple will face some extra challenges if they have children from prior relationship and are working to build a blended family, including the comments and opinions they receive from those around them. With all of these pressures and concerns it takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to move forward and push though with the changes that are required! 3. Personal sacrifices as a result of the changes are needed… “Change” means that something is happening that is different than it was before and when it happens it also means that something must be let go so that something new can be picked up. These changes may be reflected in our priorities and schedule, they could be about our desires and our pursuit of them, they could be reflected in our spending and savings plan, or they may simply be about where our focus is as we go through our daily lives. Once we know that change requires sacrifice it may not seem so easy, especially during the time we are required to sacrifice. When we go through the changes involved in a putting together a blended family we will find that the impact is large and affects all involved. As this family was blending together we each went through significant changes and it proved to be a great challenge for each of us. For myself, I would cry during the night and then try again in the morning. The words, “give up” occasionally tempted me. Every time those words came, I first thought about how selfish I would be if I did give up. How I had brought my son the hope of having a complete family. Even though he was going through the change as well he never complained but instead, was trying to learn and understand all that things going on around him. I was not the only one who was dealing with the emotions as my husband was also experiencing them as well. With this pressure on us what did we do in order to keep the commitment that we had made to each other? We chose not to focus on our own feelings or look at the circumstances and instead, we prayed and sought the truth from the Lord. Once again, when we turned our eyes on Him and sought Him we found that He was always faithful and His truth always showed us the way and gave us the right advice. One of the nights when I was crying and praying, God reminded me of a question He had once asked for me. His question was, “If a child was crying in front of you, what should you do?” In that situation, blended or not should not a matter, what matters is how I showed love to them. If I love them, what does it matter if I am a step parent, a biological parent, or a grandparent? (Proverbs 3:12) There was no reason to hesitate to teach them and to love them in the way I believed was right and good, even if they misunderstood my love for them. We should not have favoritism regardless of it they were our biological or step child. (James 2:1) If I believe I should love them like Christ, then should I also sacrifice myself for them? (1 John 4:10) When we love like that our love is all about giving and not about what we are getting (John 3:16) If I love them should it not also include patience and hope and faith? So, the first thing I found that I needed to do was to choose to love. If I made that choice then I also needed to learn to love in the way Jesus teaches us to. I needed to love this way in my relationship with my husband, my children, and the extended family members. The days flew past and so did the hardship and the difficulties as well. God was faithful to keep His promises to us and He did not leave us alone. We asked Him and He gave, we sought the truth and He showed it to us, and we knocked on the door and He opened it. (Matthew 7:7) He gave us discernment and wisdom in how to handle each situation. He gave us peace in times of chaos. He gave us encouragement by allowing us to see the unity, the harmony, and the maturing of our children. He also filled us the love with understanding so that we could cooperate with the children’s biological mother and her new family. In the process, as parents, we learned to love with truth and without condition. As husband and wife, we also learned to love by knowing their heart’s and without selfish intentions as well. Does this mean that we no longer have tests, situations, or emotional situations come into our family? Absolutely not! But we have realized that these things having nothing to do with being a blended family but are things that actually happen in ordinary families. If God has given purpose for an ordinary family, He has given purpose to blended families as well. If God gave purpose to a biological parent, He gave purpose to a step-parent as well. There are lot of women in this world, but the reason I am the wife of my husband is because God’s purpose for me is to be his wife. (Genesis 2:18, Mark 10:8) This is same answer for why we are a step-parent to our children, because God has His purpose for us to be here for them. One of the major things which God has shown me is that, the person I am, the one who God had created and molded was exactly the right person that my husband, our children, and our family needed. Not only that but, I realized that my husband was exactly the male model that my son needed as well. (Proverbs 22:6) The place our family is in today is no longer about change, doubt, hardship, or sacrifice. It is all about finding and living out our life purpose, God’s calling, and His love. My heart gives thanks to the Lord for the honor being the wife of my husband and the mother for my children. I praise God and count it as complete joy concerning the beautiful loving family I have. I know it is a blessing from the Lord, my God!