When you read that title, I bet you thought this would be a post about Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. It’s not, but the phrase came to my mind for a different reason. Today, I had the privilege of being a part of an adoption for a young man that has waited a long time for his day to come. The family asked me to come, and they even gave me a shirt to prove it. I was honored to come, and I’m glad I did! Lots of children wait for their day to come, and it is amazing every time it happens. Everybody gathers for one purpose – to celebrate the fact that the family is growing. They promise to be a “Forever Family” and resolve to stick it out no matter what happens. Remember the day you did that?
When Lana and I remarried, you could say our family grew (it actually doubled). In this new home, there were kids who lost a parent and we're now getting a new…well, what do you call someone who is not your mom but sure loves you like a mom should?!? Even though we didn’t use adoption in our family once we got married, we made it a point to not use titles like “Step-” or initials like “BM” (Biological Mother) or “SO” (Significant Other). Some people may use these and I’m not judging them for them; I’m only telling you how it is for us. In our family, we don’t make a big deal about what we call each other because we choose to make a big deal about each other instead. We want “our” kids to know that our family is a place where we love each other, support each other, accept each other, and in those times when we annoy each other, we forgive each other!
This happens because we as the parents set that standard. We don’t have this written on a board on the wall, but it is something we model for them. They do it because they see us doing it. And if there is ever a time we don’t do it, well, then one of them can challenge us to get back to doing it, too.
Being in a blended family, I pay attention to what goes on in other blended families. Blended families can be stressful! I see heartache and brokenness as I hear story after story. At one time, these people got together to become a family and they were excited about it. There were dreams and plans that were made, and now reality has hit them where it hurts the most – in their heart. My heart hurts for them, and it makes me want to reach in somehow and fix it all. And now that God has asked me to strengthen and encourage others, I think it is appropriate to look and see what He says about families by paying attention to the family He asks us to be a part of. Long ago, the apostle Paul wrote to people in the Ephesian church and, right off the bat, he told them about the family they now belong to:
“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
I put a phrase in bold letters for a reason – I want you to know how God feels about you (he later says God “adopted” us). Did you know that HE chose YOU? Did you know that He chose you because He saw you and loved you and wanted the best for you? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done or where you came from or where the rest of your family is now – He wants you to be a part of His family. And once that decision is made, that’s when you get to meet the rest of the family. At first, things go well. But if you don’t stay committed to Him and to each other, once the newness wears off, something subtly changes and leads you down the path of uncertainty and regret. This leaves you at a crossroads – where you wonder how you ever got here, and is there any chance of ever getting back?!?
I don’t know what hurdles your family is trying to jump right now, but I do know that they need you! They need you to realize or remember that He chose you. And now that you know that, you have a job to do…you have to help build a family! And not just you by yourself, but you all. He chose you and your spouse and the kids and the grandparents and other extended family and the only way to get over those hurdles is to get over them together. You used to believe they were worth it; if you didn’t, you never would’ve started it. Let me ask you again – remember the day you first did that? Maybe the key to helping your family survive and thrive is you remembering what He chose you to do. If you will ask for some help, God will step in and do something incredible. And if you will do that, you’ll find He is really good at it. If you will choose to follow Him, He will help you lead those who chose to follow you.