February 2, 2009
Near the end of 2004 our family suffered from divorce and our lives were torn apart. Everything Matt had known in his 17 years of marriage and everything I had known in my 16 years of marriage crumbled into pieces.
When divorce happens each married partner shoulders the blame, no one is perfect and there are many things that contribute to the dissolve of a marriage. In all cases it’s the children who are scarred most deeply. Our experience was no different.
For Matt and I our paths came together in 2005 through mutual friends and love and understanding was planted and began to grow. All throughout our courtship we submitted our relationship to God even to the point where we agreed to be apart for a time in the beginning to wait upon God and give ourselves time to get our bearings.
At other times we agreed in prayer that if God did not want us together that he would break us up. We had both been married and knew the depth of what we were entering into. We knew that it would take more than "love" to hold us together…we would need God, true Love, in the center to navigate the waters ahead.
In October of 2005 we felt confident that the Lord had brought us together and we married. We knew it would be difficult as the odds were stacked against us and we had an insurmountable task ahead of us putting two families of deeply hurt children together. Danni was 16, Jessi was 12 and Atlee was 7 at the time. Matt has two children, Mallorie 17 and Wesley 15; these were their ages when we were married.
Step parenting as many of you know is a tremendous challenge. There are so many elements that come into play that don’t exist in a first marriage family. I won’t take time to go into these now but I would like to express that it can also be very rewarding.
Something happed to our family through the time of Danni’s illness, we came together. While the circumstances were very bad God brought good to us and our children. It was a beautiful thing to watch as our children matured and saw what was really important in life. They were changed forever in a positive way.
Last week we took all our children to Florida for a vacation and God did an even deeper work of reconciliation in our family bringing us together. It has been three years since Matt and I were married and we have had enormous mountains and deep valleys to cross and I’m sure that we still have more to walk through but we have also experienced great joy and healing thanks to the Grace of God.
I want to encourage those of you today who may be walking in a second or third marriage with stepchildren that God can work in your circumstances if you surrender to him.
I also want to encourage those of you who may be toying with the idea of divorce to step back check your motives, go to God and ask him to show you the truth about yourself and take a second look into the faces of your children because they will be the ones left spinning in your wake. It is a very painful thing for all parties involved. I know why God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:13-16)
I also understand that there are times and circumstances that divorce cannot be avoided. I am in no way judging any situation I am in no position to do so but I know that when I turn to God he has always been there for me and if you turn to him he will be there for you too.
I think most times we have to suffer things in life to gain understanding of life. Hebrews 5:8 (NIV) says that, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” This scripture is speaking of Jesus, why do we think that we will not have to endure suffering? Why are we so surprised when it comes to us?
Danni taught me to “trust God and never give up” her words exactly. I have suffered much in this life but every time God has taken my hand as he did for Danni and walked me through the valley only to come out in victory on the other side. He will continue to walk with me till the end of my journey, God is faithful!
Give your life to him today and he will be a rock in the deepest, darkest moments of life. Trouble in life is guaranteed at some point and time for all of us. Jesus is the way through those times if you want to come out on the other side a better person. I’m speaking from experience.
Father, I know you put this on my heart today for someone, speak to their hearts and I pray they would not harden their heart toward you. I ask that they would be able to surrender themselves to you wholly and that they would cling to you. Strengthen them in their time of need. Encourage their hearts today that you see their situation and you are close to them even if they cannot “feel” your presence.
I know your love, grace, mercy and compassion for them as I have experienced it myself. Pour out your kindness upon them; bring peace and release to their spirits. Thank you Father Amen.