I couldn’t assist however chuckle as I learn our son’s description of our household. I’d encounter his elementary task whereas cleansing out closets for our transfer, and the title “My Household” caught my consideration. Nathan wrote,

We’re a household of seven. I’ve no full-blood brothers or sisters. I’ve a brother named Payton and three sisters named Jamie, Jodi, and Adrianne. Jamie and Jodi have the identical mother as me however a special dad. Payton and Adrianne have the identical dad as me however a special mother. Jamie and Jodi are stepsisters to Payton and Adrianne. My household is difficult, and few individuals perceive us, nevertheless it’s my household.

Now a younger grownup, Nathan now not describes our household as difficult. He discovered to embrace the variations in his sibling relationships. Love amongst stepsiblings and half-siblings and stepparents and stepchildren has grown to appear and feel much like what conventional households expertise. However we’ll all the time carry a novel id with stepfamily variables. My stepchildren name me by my first title. My daughters have a special final title than others within the household. We’re not a primary household.

Studying to embrace our variations as a stepfamily

In a blended household residence, we don’t all the time wish to admit we’re a stepfamily. It’s simpler to cowl up the small print than go into a proof on divorce, stepchildren, loss, and brokenness. However after we attempt to cover our previous, disgrace creeps in. Secrets and techniques set us as much as fail.

We would need to act or appear to be a standard household, however we’re not—we by no means will likely be. We are able to’t current that pretense to others. After we study to embrace our variations and preserve God on the helm of our household, we stroll away from our disgrace and brokenness. We are able to maintain our head excessive as a beloved baby of God, distinctive in the great thing about our id.

Listed below are three areas we’ve discovered to embrace our variations as a stepfamily.

1. We perform in a different way as a married couple.

Our marriage started with 4 youngsters from the beginning. Years of nurturing a pair relationship with prolonged time alone didn’t occur. Consequently, our coupleness suffered at occasions.

We had been pulled between allegiances to our youngsters and opposing views from life experiences. Rigidity confirmed up when relationship-building stalled due to our variations. However as years marched on, we found the worth of providing compassion and understanding for the trail every of us had walked. We opened our hearts to incorporate experiences totally different than ours. And in time, we discovered our variations as a married couple didn’t need to spell battle, however reasonably a deeper understanding of each other.

2. We father or mother in a different way.

Conventional parenting doesn’t occur in our residence. Randy and I each introduced two youngsters to our marriage and a former partner. Within the early years, co-parenting relationships carried combative dialogue and less-than-agreeable attitudes. Arguments rapidly flared concerning the back-and-forth routine, communication with our exes, and the small print of parenting Randy and I disagreed on. The battle was actual.

Lastly, we surrendered to a different approach: God’s approach. His approach included a versatile coronary heart towards change, an open thoughts towards compromise as we sought unity in our parenting, and a resilience for circumstances that weren’t straightforward. We accepted that disparity would proceed to point out up at occasions in our parenting and co-parenting interactions. However we might search concord in {our relationships} and “dwell peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18) as we discovered to embrace our variations.

3. Household gatherings and relationship-building look totally different.

Vacation schedules and trip journeys look totally different with blended households. Some years, everybody exhibits up across the desk for particular meals, and the complete household will get to trip collectively. Different occasions, youngsters are with their different father or mother and a smaller crowd gathers. We’ve discovered to take pleasure in our time as a big group or small. We’re grateful for less-than-perfect relationships and love for many who be a part of us.

We additionally cherish the grace that’s simply prolonged to 1 one other after years as a blended household. Love wasn’t assumed to occur, and intentional effort was required to clean out the variations and tough edges from a previous with long-lasting penalties. Our scars saved us on our knees as we pursued loving interactions that wanted God’s assist.

Relationship-building in a blended household appears to be like totally different, nevertheless it’s uniquely stunning.

It’s okay to be totally different

In our household, we’ve determined it’s okay to embrace our variations as a stepfamily. We don’t attempt to cover them.

Scripture teaches us that as believers, we’re known as to be totally different. We try to speak and act in a different way than our nonbeliever buddies and coworkers. We search to dwell a life that displays holiness and purity. First Peter 1:15 says, “however as he who known as you is holy, you even be holy in all of your conduct.”

After I settle for that it’s okay to be totally different, I’m extra prone to stroll in holiness and have compassion for others in my stepfamily. I don’t need to criticize my stepchild as a result of they behave in a different way than I count on. I’m much less prone to condemn my former partner, who acts in a approach I don’t perceive. I can extra simply view others by means of a lens of understanding and never one in every of judgment.

As a blended household, the street we stroll is totally different than the street our neighbor is on. However that differentness doesn’t outline us in a destructive gentle. We’re all outlined the identical as Christians—kids of the King who’re valuable in His sight.

Copyright © 2021 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Gayla Grace serves on employees with FamilyLife Blended® and is keen about equipping blended households as a author and a speaker. She holds a grasp’s diploma in psychology and counseling and is the creator of Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Households and co-author of Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Gayla and her husband, Randy, have been married since 1995 in a “his, hers, and ours” household. She is the mother to 3 younger grownup kids and stepmom to 2.