Yesterday, I searched WordPress for blogs about Christian step-parenting and I got this message:
‘Don’t see any posts under the topic you searched for? That’s because there are no posts with that topic yet; maybe you should write the first one.’
What?! I know we are not the only Christians out there step-parenting. Someone should be writing about this…I’ll start. Then it’s your turn.
Here’s our story: In 2011, I married a man who had five kids. Five!!! When I first met him, he had been the senior pastor of a church, seemingly happily married for 15 years with five children when his wife made the choice to leave her family for another man. Obviously, he was a wreck from the emotional devastation and on top of that, he had to leave his job to raise his kids full time, as their mother did not want to see them often. So, when I met him, he was gaunt (nothing like the Divorce Diet to lose weight!), miserable and broke- yet even then, Christ shone through him.
I had my own story of brokenness- I decided to follow Christ at 19, after I had spent my teenage years in wild living, ending in an unwed pregnancy. It was when I found myself pregnant that I didn’t want to run my own life anymore and surrendered to the Lord. When I met the man who would become my husband, I had completed 10 excruciating years of refinement- it took a long time to replace my broken mindsets and habits with godly, healthy ones. Early on, I was caught up in that cycle noted by Paul in Romans 7 where I desired so badly to please God, yet kept on doing the things I didn’t want to do. I was ashamed and felt despair. At that point, the Lord directed me to Isaiah 54:11 and spoke very clearly to me- “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, I will rebuild you on foundations of sapphire’. At my lowest point, God promised me he would create beauty from my brokenness if I sought after him. What a faithful, graceful God I serve! By the time I met my husband, the Lord had already torn out most of the shoddy and ugly pieces that comprised my old foundations and was ready to begin replacing the brokenness with sapphires. God was beginning a work of restoration in me, and was about to begin one in the man I would marry.
N. began attending our church directly after his wife left. He was transparent about his brokenness, his mistakes and his utter dependence of God through this time. We simply stood by him and did what we could to help as we watched God begin to heal his heart. The more I watched, the more I grew to admire this man, whose faith could not be shifted; who behaved with grace and integrity throughout this process; who was defined by his love of the Lord. I had been waiting a long time for a man who displayed these qualities, and meeting him gave me hope that my wait was not in vain. I thought God had let me meet him so that I could see the kind of guy he wanted me to hold out for. As N. walked through his separation and subsequent divorce, I began to realize he wasn’t the kind of guy I should wait for, he was THE guy I was waiting for! It took me a long time to recognize him because a) he was married b) he had five kids and c) he had no hair. This was not what I was expecting as I imagined my future husband, but this is the man God had in mind for me all along. As such, my life is rich.
O, how blessed I am.
On a cold New Year’s Day, we made a new beginning as husband and wife and each of us entered the uncharted waters of step-parenting. A stunning sapphire ring glittered on my left hand, symbolizing the promise that the Lord will rebuild me on foundations of sapphire and lead me to total restoration, as he will my husband, and anyone else who is broken and seeking the Lord.
We have been married two years and three months now and I will share some more of our process in learning how to blend a family in future posts. The first year and a half was extremely intense and I wasn’t sure I’d make it, but I can see God’s gentle hand of faithfulness guiding us into his restoration for each one of us.
In today’s church, as much as people don’t wish to discuss it, the reality is that our pews are peppered with broken families- single parents, divorced parents, step-parents, blended families. Often, there are minimal resources to support such families, and there is little to inspire hope. Well, I am here to proclaim that God is in the business of restoration. My God is mighty to save. I truly believe that he wants to rebuild his broken people on foundations of sapphire, just like he is doing with both me and my husband and countless others who are in Christ. He can turn the driest of deserts into the plushest of gardens; the most ugly into the most beautiful; brokenness into wholeness. He’s doing so in my life, my husbands life and countless others!
Christian step-parenting. You heard it here first, folks. I will add more of my experiences later.
If you are a Christian step-parent, drop me a comment below so I know that I am not the only one out here in the blogosphere!