Blended Family, Co-parenting, Marriage & Family, Parenting, Stepfamily

To Quit or Not To Quit-The Blended Family Struggle

No matter who you are or where you are in life, we will all face times where you have to make a choice to give up and quit, or push through and persevere. At times, quitting seems like the logical, or maybe the easy thing to do. However, do you ever stop to think about what would happen if you chose to persevere? 

In this era of social media, stories of challenges and victories are everywhere. Whether you are a Christian or not, the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is a great tale of perseverance that many have heard about. If you are not famiiar with it, here is a quick summation. God gave him a great dream, which he shared with his “blended family.” He was, then, thrown into a pit to die by his own brothers, he was sold into slavery, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he was later imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.

Through his entire life, with all the troubles and disappointments, Joseph continued to push on. Think about how hard it must have been for Joseph, all those years of suffering and not knowing why. When there was finally a ray of sun shining in his life, there was yet another setback to overcome. But what Joseph didn’t know, as many of us in our own battles, was that God was up to something…something good.

In our life, when we are going through struggles, we turn a blind eye to what God is doing, we focus on how challenging the situation is, and immediately throw ourselves a pity party. We all have a choice in how we respond in these moments. You can get anchored in the mindset of defeat and hopelessness, or you can choose to seek God’s guidance and direction to decipher what He is doing in you in this process.

After all the trials, and because of his faithfulness, we see God lift Joseph up and place him in a position of great authority and honor. God did something in Joseph that was only accomplished as he walked through these horrible moments in his life. 

In your blended family, how many times have you felt like Joseph? Feeling like you are in the pit or, worse yet, serving a prison sentence you don’t feel you did anything to deserve.

Being in a blended family doesn’t always feel ideal. At times, you may have felt like this was a huge mistake and it’s never going to get any better. It’s at these times, that you have to hold on to God’s promises and remember that He’s got this. Just like Joseph, if you continue to do what God calls you to do and persevere, He will do something in you, and your family, that you would never be able to do on your own.

We pray that in your moment of struggle, you seek God. He is the one that will bring all the pieces together to work for good. We know that God will do a mighty work in your family. It’s His promise.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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Marriage & Family

A Marriage MUST-Don’t miss it!

As the new year rolls in, many people begin with setting resolutions for the next 12 months. In this era of social media, many of those resolutions are posted for all to see online. Some of the more popular posts involve getting healthier and spending more time with family. Although these are great goals, it is rare to see ones where couples are posting about resolving to have more date nights and strengthen their marriage. With the divorce rate in the country at around 50%, why is it that couples are not being more intentional about setting goals for their marriage and relationships? 

In the home, the marriage is the backbone of the family. The family will only be as strong as the marriage. Spiritual, emotional, and physical connection is important for the health of both the couple and the family. How intentional are you being about this in your relationship? The busyness of life has us going in multiple directions on a daily basis, which is generally what we use as the excuse for not having more regularly scheduled date nights. “I’m too tired” is likely the overused statement when it comes to spending time together. With children, work, school, and even pets continually vying for our time and attention, we definitely understand that the struggle is real. So, realistically, how do we maintain a strong connection with our spouse amidst the craziness of it all?

The one thing we know with certainty is that we have to be intentional. Schedule regular date nights and time together with your spouse and put them on the calendar. Making sure this time is on the calendar will keep you accountable and will magnify the importance of having time together as a couple, as lovers. It will also help to set clear expectations for you and your spouse, help to set boundaries to protect your relationship, and, of course, set a great example for your children, who are ALWAYS watching.

One day, you will wake up and the noise of life will have lessened, the overfilled schedules would have become a thing of the past, and the children will now be adults of their own and no longer under your care. The hope is that this person that stood excitedly alongside you at the inception of the relationship, is still firmly and intimately connected to you, and ready to enjoy the next season with even more passion and enthusiasm than when the adventure began.

Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. – Ecclesiastes 9:9

Blended Family, Marriage & Family

Blended: The Grandparents’ Perspective

man and child walking near bushes during daytime

As grandparents, we have seen how the blending process has continued way past our children leaving home. Our first encounter came when our oldest child became pregnant for the first time. What did that mean for us as grandparents? What was our role going to be in our grandchild’s life?

For a nuclear family, the birth of a grandchild brings extreme joy and happiness. When in a blended family, the happiness might be short-lived, or come in spurts, due to the uncertainty of your role in the grandchild’s life. In this scenario, there might be instead of 4 grandparents, six, or maybe more! How was this all going to play out? Would we be at the hospital for the birth? When would we be able to see our child and grandchild? These are just a few of the questions you might be faced with as a “blended” grandparent.

Personally, the hardest part is waiting to see if we will be included in the plans for visitations when our grandchildren are in town. It may sound like a no brainer, but when their is limited time, and they are faced with planning out their trip, time goes very quickly, when it’s split multiple times. So, often times, it leaves you wondering, if you will make the cut this time.

So now, our child is faced with the same dilemma we are faced with, “How do I split the time?” It never crossed my mind that the choice of getting divorced would one day have such an impact on my grandkids. Though, at times, this is difficult and sad, we don’t dwell on the past. We focus on how we can change the future, for the better. We don’t allow the past decision of divorce to rob us of the joy that is still to come.

So how can we handle this as blended grandparents? I think we need to start with some realistic expectations.

  1. There is only so much time to go around. You are going to be faced with many choices when it comes to visitation with your grandchild. Don’t get too wrapped up on when it’s going to happen, or how much time you get. Just enjoy every moment you are blessed to have.
  2. Don’t pressure. Don’t try to guilt your child or grandchild to come and visit you. It will only backfire. Let your time together happen organically.
  3. Do it all in love. The most important thing is to always make sure your child and grandchild know you love them and that they know you would be more than happy to see them, whenever it’s convenient for them. ( But sooner rather than later, would be great!:))

 

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6

 

 

Blended Family, Marriage & Family

Not All Bubblegum and Lollipops.

Life in a blended family is not for the faint at heart. Chances are you came out of a broken relationship. That means you are bringing some big expectations into your new relationship. Maybe you’ve told yourself, “I will never let that happen to me again!” or “I did it that way last time, so this time, things are going to be different.” If your like me, I came into my blended family knowing everything I wanted and everything I didn’t want. My spouse also came in with her own set of expectations, which posed a bit of a problem. was, so did my spouse. So it wasn’t very long before we started to bump heads. I had my way about things and she had hers. The issue was never lack of communication, as we have always been able to sit and have long conversations. The issue was that we didn’t know what we needed to discuss when it came to merging our two families together.  We were reactive when the issues came up versus being proactive and preparing prior to bringing the families together.

What we have learned over the years is to seek out knowledge and information from the right sources. Whenever you can, it’s better to talk about things and situations before they happen. This is not always easy, as some things you will have to deal with on the fly. However, learning as much as you can, early on, about the diverse dynamics of the blended family will only help you be better prepared for when the unexpected comes knocking.

We are also better prepared when we understand the other person’s expectations. Many of us like to assume we know what the other person wants or expects, which always causes problems. It’s simple…ask questions. If you’re going to succeed together, you need to fully understand each other’s wants and needs. Talk it out.

If you and your spouse have never sat down and talked about what the vision for your new family looks like, do it today. It’s that important. You wouldn’t get in a boat and just start heading out to sea without a plan would you? One thing is for sure, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your family will not succeed if you don’t have a plan that you are both on board with.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Set a time and place for your meeting
  • Make sure you both are well rested
  • Prepare notes and questions before hand
  • Pray before you start

 

“We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT

 

 

 

Uncategorized

A House Is Built…

As we sit and talk about the twists and turns that our life together has taken, it is unbelievable to think that 11 years ago, when we first met, that counseling marriages and blended families would be what God had brought us together to do.

At the time we met, I had been divorced with a young daughter for close to 2 years. My husband was also divorced and had 3 young daughters of his own. I had no intention of getting married at the time and it definitely wasn’t going to be with someone in the military and with more kids. However, it seemed God had different plans. Long story short, we fell in love, got married, and decided we were going to be one big happy family. Boy, I could not fathom back then what was in store for us!  At first, everything was coming together pretty well. I loved him and he loved me. But it didn’t take very long before the bumps in our blending process started to show signs of cracks. It started with little disagreements about the kids. You know the small things…like co-parenting with the ex and how we were supposed to discipline the kids. It didn’t take us very long before we realized we needed some help in this blended family mess.

At first, we had no clue where to look. I just knew we needed help. In the beginning, we had never even heard of a “blended family.”  I didn’t know anything else to do but pray.  Our saving grace came one day when we were sitting in church.  I was reading the announcements on the church bulletin and noticed they offered a class for blended families. God answered my prayer! I was so excited as I read about the class and I knew instantly this was exactly what I had been praying for. It was during that class that God spoke to us concerning not only our family and marriage, but also what He had planned for us for the future; to share and help with other families who struggle in marriage and the blending of their families.

Today, we sit and talk with many blended families. As we go through the process ourselves, we can empathize with many of the challenges in this type of family dynamic. Since passion typically births from past pain, it may be safe to say this is where our burden and calling lies-to help others and encourage them with the proper tools and resources to, not only succeed in the blending process, but to thrive and help break the chains of divorce for their future generations.  In this way, through the sharing of our experience, our brokenness, and our journey, we hope to inspire a ripple effect of healthy marriages and families, one family at a time…and with God at the helm.

Tampa Family Resources, Inc.

The Blended Truth Facebook Page