Laurie Short is one of the most dynamic people I know. I love, love her new book, Grace-Filled Stepparenting: Help and Hope for This Unique and Loving Role. She tackles the tough issues in such an authentic way and her subtitle says it all as she brings so much help and hope. You will love part two of a two-part blog series by Laurie.
See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Is.43:19)
A way in the wilderness. Streams in the wasteland. These might be two of the best descriptions you’ll find for what you are trying to do in stepparenting. Some of the people coming into your stepfamily will feel like they have been (or are) in a desert or wasteland. But God can make a way to a new future if you commit to staying the course. Thinking of your stepfamily as a way or a path, rather than a destination, will help you remember the process takes time.
A way in the wilderness takes you through stark conditions. Streams in the wasteland have less than ideal surroundings while they provide life and hope. These descriptions can help you hold on to your mission even when things look bleak. Your marriage will begin by helping a child (or children) settle into broken pieces of family, so you will contend with imperfect conditions even if you are headed the right way. You need to be prepared for more adversity than couples who start with a clean slate. Some may feel it’s a liability to begin this way, it can also be a gift. You will learn how adept you are as a couple in making difficult adjustments, and how you handle responsibility and adversity when you are not always prepared. These challenges are inevitable in every marriage; but stepparenting gives you an opportunity to face them earlier. If you can weather the difficulties of forming a stepfamily, you will build a foundation with your spouse that is tested and strong.
No one can predict the adversities that will hit your stepfamily, but when you have a strong foundation of faith, you will be better equipped to survive your challenges. Seventy three percent of the stepparents I surveyed said their faith was the biggest factor in the success of their stepparenting. Their relationship with God is what carried them through many storms. Jesus alludes to this strength in Luke 6 when Jesus tells a parable about foundations. The house that was built on a strong faith was able to withstand the storm, while the one without it collapsed. Faith doesn’t always determine success or failure in a stepfamily, but it gives you the added strength that many say is the reason they are able to survive.
Grace-Filled Stepparenting is available here.