Click the Sound Bar below for a moment from the author!
Life is what it is, and the past is the past. We as Christians are not infallible like God is. This blog is to assist with those awkward conversations that many Christians are going to have to have with our children. The conversations where if handled incorrectly we can seem hypocritical and a bad reference for our children’s faith and futures.
I am writing this because I have been having to have these conversations with my two biological children. When they talk about God, their mother (ex-wife) and my current wife. Appropriate handling and rationale of these questions will in the long run help save the relationship my children have with me and their mother. It also will assist with strengthening my family’s relationship, faith, trust and love for our God.
A Little Back Story!
First, let me paint the picture of my previous marriage. The relationship was toxic to say the least. Trust issues were paramount, and I accept blame on my role in this. I failed at quitting smoking multiple times, instead of being truthful, I lied to my ex about it. I also enjoyed coffee and online mobile games financially more than I should have. These were my massive failing as a husband at that time. I won’t go into the blame game, just accepting my faults. The relationship was emotionally, physically, spiritually traumatizing and absent. To put the relationship in very basic terms, it was toxic. I truly believe that we married the wrong people.
However, the blessings that came from this relationship are my son and daughter. They are half of my family and blessings truly by God. The other half of my family is my wife and stepson. Together I have never been so blessed! Meeting my wife, led me to salvation. I knew that God had to exist because of her creation, and I wanted to give thanks to the creator for the perfect wife that she is.
So, as you can see my story went from sad to happy to happier. Everything is great right?!? Explaining the broken relationship and blessed blended family is difficult to my son and daughter who are only five and six. Afterall, I may have had a bad relationship…but I do not want to damage the relationship they have with their mother.
The First Uncomfortable Situation
First lesson! God loves everyone and wants us to love everyone. Matthew 5:44 states so eloquently “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” I have taught my children this, as many of us Christians do. What about when they ask, “do you love mommy?” I am not going to lie and say that I do not get angry and hurt when they ask this! In my head, I am screaming NO I DON’T LOVE HER! However, that is wrong and the wrong thing to tell my children.
Wording is essential and comparisons drive the nail into the board. This is what I told them. “I love your mommy, but I do not like her.” A little harsh, but here is the comparison that I told them. “Hey guys! When you get in trouble and daddy puts you in time out, do you like daddy?” They both responded with No! (Obviously) “Do you guys still love daddy when you’re in timeout?” They responded with yes! The comparison drove home the conversation. I as a Christian, no matter the toxicity of a person must love them, pray for them, give them food or water if they need it. However, I do not have to enjoy being around them.
One Situation Down, One To Go!
Next lesson! Blended family’s equal kids from two separate relationships. What we commonly call stepchildren. I am very blessed with my stepson. He truly has made my life fun, easy and reminds me daily of the blessings God gives me. I love him truly as I do my own. However, this can cause a little of an issue as children grow older. Obviously… the kids look different, spend time with different parents and get jealous over their parent spending time with other children. This can create a division in our blended families across the world if handled in the wrong manner.
One passage that I give my children is Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” I know what were thinking? That states nothing of stepchildren!?! I also let my children know these passages as well. Matthew 18: 4-6 (4) Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5) And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (6) If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
These passages help my children understand the situation. I’ve told them many times, “I love all of God’s children, my job is to be a father to all the children I can.” Another, phrase I say makes them laugh. “Every child on this planet is Gods child. So, I am a stepfather to all children in my life. They are blessed to me to care for and teach but they all are Gods.”
God is Never Ending, This Blog However Is!
I hope this blog can help some of my Christian, blended families out there. We are to mentor, teach and love all of Gods children. Our children are to honor and obey their parents. Whether God blessed them biologically or through marriage, the kids are ours to raise the way God would want. Blended families have the same responsibilities as normal families. Trials and tribulations will befall all our families. As parents we must keep our children safe. The more people that love them, the merrier.
Author: Bradley Armentrout
Date: 30 September 2019