Stepfamilies and Change

River-and-fall-wallpaperDuring this time of the year, I enjoy God’s pallet of water color tones among the trees here in the Midwest. Some of the reds, yellow, and oranges are so brilliant, I have to stop and allow my eyes to take it all in. The change of seasons come whether we like it or not, whether we are prepared or not. I think of stepliving as seasons of change.

There is a saying: “Two things are certain: Taxes and death”. I would add one more and that is “change”. It comes whether we like it or not and whether we are prepared or not. Within stepliving, there is always change and here are two areas to help.

One is avoiding expectations. We cannot change or control anyone, we can only do those things to ourselves. Expectations are in our mind and to project them on spouses or children/stepchildren, is setting ourselves up for frustration, disappointment, and even anger. We can plan, anticipate, hope for….which are more harmonious ways of thinking and living. Sometimes we just have to “let things go”. If we ponder situations, pray, and talk to our spouses about it, we’ll figure out if it’s worth letting go or fighting for.

The other is avoiding taking things personally. So many times in stepfamilies, especially for stepmoms (because we are nurturers and FEEL things so much), our efforts, time, and commitments often go unappreciated or unnoticed. It’s very difficult not to want to be valued for taking on this role. It’s difficult to be a stepdad and not be appreciated or respected for paying bills, providing a home, safety, food. I have found the best way for me to handle this emotion is to focus on Christ. If I do things for others in His Name, it takes the focus off of me and what I do….to focusing on loving and serving Jesus, because I know He loves me so much, He died for me!

Embrace the change, choose to enjoy the good changes and pray about the difficult changes. We are not alone. We have each other and we have God.

Blessings, dori:)

 

 

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Just Whose Fault Is It?

I received several comments from my post yesterday and as I sat here this morning at my keyboard, another very important thought arose in my mind. I always attribute these “winks” as a nudge from the Lord. When there is trouble and angst within a marriage, blame and justification and pride come forward quite quickly. They begin to form a wall, a boundary to protect one’s claim or position. Certainly the problems and challenges in a marriage is responded with “not MY fault”….

Christian marriages devoted to the love of and service to God are under attack. From the outside, many good and solid marriages are struggling. Especially in stepfamilies where the dynamics are more intricate and complicated. Because this may be a second or third or more marriage, the propensity for the couple to “hide” their problems and put on the “mask” and feel embarrassed is strong. “Why can’t we get this right?”

“It’s your fault, you are too protective of your kids, you need to stop mothering them!” “It’s your fault, if you were more of a man around here, we wouldn’t be having these problems!” “It’s the kids’ fault…if we didn’t have them around all the time, we’d get along better!” Ow, ow, ow. Let me assure you…the fault is not all flesh.

From Ephesians 6:12:  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We who love Christ are fighting Satan. In his diabolical ways, he enters the minds of spouses and can cause disputes and anger through our emotional channels. This is where the “blame game” gets dicey. We need to recognize the reality of Satan and his ploys in our lives and marriages. We need to get on our knees to pray and seek spiritual cover. Silence, calm, and a request for discernment from the Holy Spirit are powerful during hostile or chaotic times.

Here is a wonderful excerpt from:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/spiritual-warfare-lesson-1-understanding-the-battle-11554631.html

“Part I: The Spiritual Battle   How do we know that there is a spiritual realm? If we cannot see it, should we believe in it? Many believers and unbelievers today do not want to “deal” with a world we cannot see when the world we do see is hard enough to “deal” with. Before we can discuss the spiritual battle, we have to believe in the spiritual realm. We have a tendency to act like a two year old child who closes her eyes and places a blanket over her head, really believing that no one can see her because she cannot see them. Just because we cannot see the spiritual realm does not mean it is not there. Keith Green, a Christian song writer, wrote, “I [Satan] used to have to sneak around. But now they just open their doors. No one’s looking for my tricks because no one believes in me any more.” However, if we choose to ignore or not believe in the spiritual realm, we will find ourselves confused, frustrated, and quenching the peace that God has promised to each of us. The best defense is a strong offense. Just educating ourselves about the spiritual realm is half the fight and God gives us everything else we need to be victorious with the other half.”

Amen and Amen. We need to be cautious and conscious of the harm that Satan can throw our way. Pray, read Scripture with your coffee in the morning. Protect yourself!

Blessings, dori:)

Don’t Give Up!

Stepliving has so many complicated and intricate components involved in daily living, that to try to explain it to someone who has never lived it is almost impossible. It is arduous and constant work and commitment. Is it impossible work? No.

However, it takes a completely different level of the fruits of the Spirit: Love: unconditional, unbiased, often with difficult people. Joy: comes from within and we make the choice to embrace it and not depend on someone else to give it to us. Peace: integrating and creating methods of harmony, understanding different family roles. Longsuffering: DON’T GIVE UP! We harvest what we plant, we rest in Christ and have faith it’s darkest right before the dawn, so we await the harvest. One day your stepchildren may admit you were very important to them. Kindness: acceptance and calm, hurting children and family members need assurance. Goodness: giving of ourselves to exemplify Christ, sharing ourselves with mercy. Faithfulness: Cling to Christ, having God at the helm of your marriage, “…And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose…: Romans 8:28. Gentleness: soothing, patient associations within the family and for the extended family. Self-Control: We all have personal access and control of our “emotional buttons”. Practice silence before responding or reacting. Breathe, pray.

There are seasons in any marriage, but the seasons within  stepfamilies can be very intense. Sometimes I envision a spider web to show the connections and associations within families, especially in multiple divorce or relationship situations. Past histories and loyalties can stir up jealousies, dissension, and chaos. Even when things appear to be at their worst, hang on….Don’t Give Up! Spend time talking it out, seek counsel or a mediator, or your pastor. This morning’s passage from Galations 6:7-10:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, [a]while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Jesus never said life would be fair or easy….He did say it would be worth it!

Blessings in Christ!  dori:)

Register NOW Stepfamilies!!

Family CartoonThe registrations are coming in! Tomorrow, September 10th is the end of Early Bird Registration! CALL 715-834-2486 for this AMAZING Stepfamily Rx conference in Eau Claire, WI. 2014 September Stepfamily Rx FINAL flyer.

My interview today on WWIB can be listened to at http://www.wwib.com under “Front Page” on right side of webpage. Here is link:http://podcast.wwib.com/9-9-14-step-family-conferencehirsen-bike-for-life-writers/.

You will be encouraged, affirmed, built up, loved-on (yep, all us speakers are huggers!!) PLUS you will receive valuable information to help you in your stepliving PLUS be able to meet and network with other couples. For those of you contemplating marriage that will create a stepfamily, this conference is a total MUST for you!

God bless you, and see you there! ❤

 

Vacations, Wounded People, Conference Announcement!

Cruise5-Robyn n Me Formal Night Cruise8-Dolly n doriRecently I had a most fantastic vacation, checking off a “cruise” on my bucket list! I am claustrophobic, so the experience tested me in many ways. The trip was to Alaska with a beautiful intimate group of 13 of us. Robyn Besemenn (check her out at http://robynbministries.com/speaking) and I are pictured above on “formal night” and the other picture is of Dawson Dolly and me. I love hats and am sporting a flowery fluffy hat, feather boa, and “the largest nugget in the Klondike”. 🙂 Cindy Godbey aka Dawson Dolly is one of the tours in Skagway, Alaska, and surrendered her life the same year I did…1997… to our Lord and Savior Jesus. This was a God-driven trip, I can assure you! Robyn’s daughter, Tami was our travel agent (check her out at: http://www.momentousjourneys.com/)

The trip was prefaced by a grueling month and week before. I had been busy with planning the Stepfamily Rx conference which is going to be Saturday, September 27th at Peace Church in Eau Claire. That prep was all month of August. That and… a call from four hurting people who needed some Divorce Care help until a sister church began their fall program. That and then the week before the vacay…spending three out of five days with my husband in the hospital with kidney stone procedure, emergency room pain, and a stent. That and a day trip with my dad to a city two hours away for his prostate update and coming out of the clinic to find a flat rear tire. Do I need to keep saying “that and…” Oh boy!! And the other day of the week was spent with my 17 year old grand-daughter for our 11th annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair….it was the only day in 10 days that I could take her.

Overwhelmed? Absolutely. If I would have logged the hours I spent the first four days of the cruise that I rested, napped, and slept, it would likely have shown more of those hours than active hours! I found myself dangerously exhausted.

Families, work, relationships, volunteer work, marriages, ex-spouses, schedules….on and on and on. All I can say is when your body tells you to rest. REST. We cannot over-extend ourselves without paying a price with our spiritual, mental, and physical selves.

We need Jesus. We need the grace of God. We need the strength and discernment the Holy Spirit provides. Today, look at your schedule, cross out the unnecessary things to do. Rather than play a game, check Facebook, or Twitter or whatever else is out there to swallow up your time….pray. Close your eyes and listen to soothing music. Help someone. Slow down. Ask God to guide you to focus on Him and the really important things for today. Blessings to all…..