Posted by Hope
In a world where social media has fed the narcissism in all of us, there has also been a good use for it. Today’s technology allows us various ways to watch the best and the worst of families play out. What used to go on behind closed doors, is now displayed for all to judge on a daily basis. Oh my, how times have changed.
Three years ago, my life spiraled out of control. I suffered the devastating blow of separation and began the journey of divorce. Now, I am remarried and find myself a quasi-parent to three young men. In the time that has passed, I have felt the worst pain and the greatest joy of my life. Yet, I sense, some of the biggest hurt is yet to come.
Those of us in the Bible Belt learn how to manage life in the midst of that pain. We breathe deep, pray, read scripture and surround ourselves with friends who remind us to keep marching. But within all of us there exists a story of deep heartache. Sometimes that hurt has a life altering cost. In my battle with infertility, I have heard stories of unimaginable pain. Now, in the beginning stages of blending a family, I am reminded of the gut wrenching loss that families are walking through.
This past weekend, I attended a step-mom conference to receive counsel on how to set myself up for success and create proper expectations for this role. This is my responsibility because adults make decisions that children are powerless to change. I want to be what they need for me to be to heal from their own pain and grow to trust again. As I listened to the speaker tell about how this conference came about, she said something that shocked me to my core. She said that she approached multiple church leaders about promoting this event in their church. Time after time she was met with the same response. Church leaders felt that by promoting this event about step families, it would cause confusion in the message they send to their congregation. Before I go off on that, let me say, I get that. So, to spare that soap box, I’ll ask this, what about those that had no choice? What about the kids? Adults made the decisions, adults suffered the consequences, but what about the children?
I will always carry the scarlet letter on my chest and in my psyche about the stigma that comes with being divorced. Working in ministry, I can’t escape that any day of the week. The Lord has taught me where to place my identity and I stand firm in the forgiveness and redemption that He extends me yet. I can deal with the rejection. But for my three step sons, it’s harder for them. She stated that children are two years behind adults in processing trauma. They are children, processing very adult issues. What do we do as a society to address their questions, hurts and fears?
Dave and I discovered a ministry that exists to help families walk the road of healing and blending which has been a life-line for us. I have been hesitant to post anything about this because, well, I know that we all are prone to silent judgement. Never in my life have I become more aware of my judgement than while walking through divorce. So, for the ones that aren’t strong enough YET, I want to let you know….I’m here. I know the pain. I am not ashamed of you. Learning to do life again will take everything you’ve got. Let me point you to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ first. Without being solid in your identity in Him, I can assure you that it will be infinitely harder without this. Second, saturate yourself in truth from the word of God. Lastly, become familiar with Ron Deal and Laura Petherbridge. Read The Smart Stepfamily. The wisdom they poured into the pages of this book is invaluable. Do your family a favor and set up realistic expectations with appropriate and godly guidance.
We look forward with great expectation and rejoice in what God has already done.