What is a blended family anyway? It’s a family made up of a husband and wife that came into the marriage with children from a previous marriage or relationship.
Are you in a blended family? Do you know a blended family? I’m guessing all of us can answer yes to at least one of these questions. There was a time in my life that I couldn’t get my mind around the blended family. Let alone the issues the blended family faces. Let me just say at this point, I get it that all families have issues, that it’s not just a blended family who struggles. Your family does too. I’m not here to make yours any smaller or to make anyone feel like the blended family should be felt sorry for or receive special graces. I’m just here to reach out to that family that is feeling like they’re alone. Feeling like they can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Whose hope is fading. Who feels like no one understands. I want to encourage you. Maybe to shed a little light on families through the eyes of the mom in a blended family. And the truth about her family.
We consider ourselves one family.
When you ask us how many children we have and we answer, four. Please don’t press and ask yes, but which ones are yours? We consider ourselves a family with four children. Yes, we both brought two children each into this family and we would be blessed if others would respect that we are now a family of six. And when you ask how our children are doing we are thinking about all four of our children not just our two.
Our children don’t live with us full time.
Yes, we consider ourselves one family. But, we have to share our children with other families. We are not all one big happy family. That’s why every other Sunday, our children weren’t always with us in church. Yes, it’s true our children have two bedrooms each, one in our home and one in their other families homes.
We wish our children didn’t have to be in a blended family.
We would have loved for our children to live with us full time. We would love to keep them to ourselves and not share them between two families. We would love for them not to feel like they have to choose, because they don’t have to. We would love for them to be used to one households way of doing things. We know it’s hard on them to share the holidays. We don’t want them to be tempted to compare. We would love to know what they’re doing everyday. We would love to be included in all the decisions made about them. But the truth is, we’re not.
It’s hard to be in a blended family, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
They say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Yep. It’s true. It is. When you throw that first year into a blender, well you can imagine what you get. I remember that first few years in our family. Hard stuff. We had no mentor. But we did and do have Jesus. And each other. The good news is that it didn’t kill us. Yes, we’re stronger today than we were back then. It was a bit lonely. Especially at church. Comments were made, unbeknownst to the one making them toward us, that hurt. They had no comprehension of our world. In fact, I imagine that you, a young parent have heard thoughtless comments made toward you that hurt. And you’re not in a blended family. When speaking of matters of the family, let’s have some compassion on others. Let’s measure our words and good intentions before we haphazardly spread them around. Instead, let’s come along a family that clearly just needs to be loved and understood.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
I wouldn’t trade my beautiful family for anything.
We’ve all done some hard things. Life is messy sometimes. But isn’t it terrific when God gets His hands on that mess and makes a beautiful thing out of it? Being a parent is hard. Whether your family looks like mine or not. It’s just plain hard. And wonderful. And so worth it. I love each and everyone of them so deeply. My prayer is that they know that. That it is said of me, “yep, she loves me.” Whether my technical title begins with step or not.
While this isn’t an exhausted list of truths about blended families, it was hard for me to be real and let you into that part of my heart. This is a tough subject for me to talk about because it’s not easily understood by everyone else. But more important than me protecting myself is the heart I have for the blended family. I see what they go through. I understand their struggles. I get it that they don’t want to talk about it. If you know a family like mine, pray for them. If you can, be friends with them. And encourage them.
I also don’t want to leave on a negative note. While it can be hard for our family just like yours, it’s been a wonderful journey and we continue to look forward to making more very precious memories together as a family.
Our youngest is turning 18 tomorrow. We’ve made it through 4 teenagers…I’d like to think they have come out of the blender quite nicely. Just because they’re grown, though, doesn’t mean our blended family days are over. We will always be a blended family and I’m so grateful we are. I’ve watched step siblings become sisters and brother in such a beautiful way. I miss them all being here more often. The time went by so quickly.
What truths would you love to tell people about your family, blended or not? I’d love for you to comment and share them with me.