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Finding Hope for Single Parent and Blended Families

From the series House or Home - Parenting Edition

From his series House or Home Parenting: God's Blueprint for Biblical Parenting, Chip co-teaches this message with his wife Theresa. Theresa was a single-parent with twin boys for four years before she and Chip were married. They share, from first-hand experience, what they've learned to be God's blueprint for successfully parenting single and blended families.

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Message Transcript

As we start our time together I want to share a little story. Over the years I’ve spoken on parenting and every time I speak on parenting, I mean literally, scores of people will come up and say things like, “Do you have anything for single parents? Or do you have anything on the blended family?” And the answer is always, “No.”

Now, I will tell you that when I met my wife she was a single parent. She had two little boys and had been abandoned and was raising them by herself. And so we know a little bit about single parenting and so when you become an instant father, I got to marry Theresa when the boys were a little older than four, then we had a blended family.

And so I guess on the one hand we know something about single parenting and a blended family but I’d never taught about it, or thought about it much, in terms of how would you communicate that to other people?

And so you’ll notice on your notes I want to read a story because as I prayed and thought about, you know, I think I could give some practical help and maybe some practical tools but I don’t know that I could give you a biblical perspective of God’s picture of how He wants to help restore single parents and blended families.

And so you can follow along in your Bibles. I’ll read a portion of the book of Ruth. And Ruth, as you’ll remember, is written during the time of Judges. It’s a very dark period.

All I can tell you is every man was doing what was right in his own eyes. People were not worshipping God. They had been involved in intermarrying, which God forbid. They were worshipping false gods, which God forbid. There was a cycle of sin, deliverance, destruction, crying out to God, and then God’s deliverance.

And then tucked in right after the Judges is this short, little book about Ruth, who is a Moabite. And the real essence of the whole book is that when people make very ungodly, sinful, wrong, and even stupid choices that bring chaos to their life and to their families, there is a God who is a God of love, who pierces through all that chaos and fallout and really longs to help people, in spite of what they’ve done or where they’ve been.

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land and a man from Bethlehem in Judah together with his wife and two sons went to live for a while in the country of Moab.”

Now, interestingly, God had given them land that they hadn’t possessed and hadn’t obeyed and so now times were hard as God has disciplined, and so now they’re leaving the land that God gave them for a foreign land.

“The man’s name was Elimelek and this is interesting as well. The word in Hebrew, “melek” means “king.” The prefix “El” means “God.” And so really this man’s name means, “God is my king.”

Now what we’re going to see is his life and his behavior is the very opposite of God being his king. A king protects you, provides for you, and you obey him.

He doesn’t believe God will protect him, he doesn’t believe God will provide for him, and he’s not obeying Him as we’ll see from his behavior.

“His wife’s name was Naomi and his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah and they went to Moab and they lived there.

“Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died and she was left with their two sons. And they married Moabite women.” That was forbidden. These are not Israelite women.

“One was named Orpah and the other was Ruth. After they lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion also died. She has lost her sons, she has lost her husband, and her life is in disrepair.

“When she heard in Moab,” now listen to what happens, “that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughter-in-laws prepared to return home. With her two daughter-in-laws she left the place where she’d been living and set out for the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.”

Now as you know the story, Naomi basically says to both of them, “You know, there’s no way that I can provide for you. I mean, even if you had, you know, if I had remarried and had a son tomorrow you can’t wait around for my sons to grow and follow Hebrew law and remarry.”

And she basically, actually says to them, “Go back to your people, and go back to your gods, and I hope that you basically find a husband and I will see you. My life’s a mess, nothing turned out well, I’m going back to my people.”

And then, of course, you know, the classic message of Ruth who says, you know, “Wherever you go I go, and your people are my people, and may only death separate us.”

And Naomi realizes that, you know, no matter what I say, this gal, our hearts have bonded. And she literally ends up, kind of adopting Ruth as her daughter.

And they go back and it’s interesting as you read in later chapter 1, when they go back they arrive in Bethlehem and it says there was a great stir among the people.

One translation, the King James, says, “There was excitement.” It’s something like Naomi and she came back and what’s going on? And, you know, she left with her husband whose name is, you know, “God, Yahweh, the Lord is my King” and two boys and instead of coming back as a fruitful woman, with daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren, and a fruitful life she has experienced the fruit, honestly, of a lot of decisions that were very bad and very wrong.

You’ll notice on your notes she went from being a widow, and then after being a widow she becomes a single parent, and after she becomes a single parent, she ends up with a blended family.

And so she has this adopted daughter but she does some things that I think are very, very right.

It’s interesting she comes to the point of absolute brokenness and when I meet single parents, and often blended families, they are in absolute brokenness.

Not always, sometimes someone dies, and sometimes you remarry, and sometimes it’s a pretty picture of just God’s grace out of sorrow. But a huge percentage of single parents, are single parents because forty-two percent of all the births in America are from unwed mothers.

A lot of people find themselves frustrated in their marriage and the most common reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences, not biblical grounds.

And so you have a lot of people that are in all kind of relationships, blended families, single parents, and if they would really look back and say, “Did I do life God’s way?” the answer really is, “No.” And there’s guilt, and there’s shame, and there’s difficulty, and there’s pain, and there’s consequences.

And that’s why I think the book of Ruth is so hopeful.

Living in a foreign land, she’s without help, and without hope, and she becomes this mother. Now the other is, part of the stir is here she’s coming home with a non-Jewish daughter-in-law.

That is not how to make friends, you know, when you go back to Bethlehem. “Beth” – “House of God.”

And so Naomi has some wisdom for us. She returned to God and to His people. She heard that God had provided, and God is working, and she could have said, you know, “I’ve blown it. I can’t go back there. You know, it’s really going to be difficult. I mean, I have to face some past issues.” But she returns to God, and she returns to His people.

Second, she faced her pain and her loss. She literally is humiliated. She’s coming back empty. And not just empty but with a daughter-in-law of another race. In fact, they say, “Oh, Naomi!” she goes, “Don’t call me Naomi anymore. Call me Mara, because I have been afflicted by the Lord.”

Basically, I don’t bring anything to the table anymore. My life is a mess.

She followed God’s Word and, if you read on to chapter 2:20, and not the world, chapter 3:10.

So when she comes back, immediately she says, “Wait a second. Hebrew law is very clear. We have a kinsman redeemer. I’m going to operate the way God’s Word says.”

And then it’s interesting when Boaz talks to Ruth. And you know the story and how it’s the threshing floor and she sleeps at his feet and she’s getting all these instructions from her mother-in-law.

And Boaz says, “You are a woman of character because you didn’t go after the rich men or the young men.” What she did was God’s Word said, “He’s the kinsmen redeemer. This is God’s plan.”

And somehow Naomi had instilled in this young woman, “Let’s do this God’s way, not the world’s way. Let’s do what God says. Let’s see if He won’t provide by what He says and trust His Word.” And so then Boaz finds himself with a blended family.

And the result is God rewarded and restored her life. You know, there’s grain again. Boaz goes to the elders, and he goes to bat, and he marries, and then you find out later that Naomi will hold a little baby again in her arms. And she’ll have a grandchild and God will begin to restore the pain and the loss.

And the premise is single parents and blended families, for whatever cause, sometimes just the fallenness of life and sometimes there’s sin but it’s never God’s ideal.

God’s ideal is always a mom and a dad, to raise these kids. I mean, that’s the ideal. So any time you don’t have the ideal it’s going to be challenging. I mean, sometimes we get this expectation that, “Oh, it’ll just be a little bit different. But everything’s going to be great.” No, it’s going to be challenging.

But here’s what I want you to hear. His grace is sufficient to overcome any and every obstacle if we surrender fully and wholly unto Him.

God will give grace regardless of where you’ve been or how you got there.

Now what I want to do with our time is I’m going to make this pretty simple. There are a lot of excellent books on… here’s the fifteen things every single parent needs to know, and things you need to watch out for and then, you know, blended families.

I mean, I’ve read a lot of the books in preparation for this. And then I thought, “What is it that I really have to offer that might be helpful?”

So here’s what we know for sure and a lot of this, it just gives perspective. And that’s what you need more than anything else. It’s a high and growing percentage of families.

About forty-two percent of all babies that are born are born out of wedlock so they have a single-parent mom. We know with what’s happening in the military there’s functionally a lot of single moms and single dads as people get deployed. You know that there’s widows and widowers. What we know for sure is that if a child born today over the next eighteen years, about seventy to eighty percent of them will have some window of their life where they’ll live with only one parent.

So all I’m saying is this is huge. I mean, being a single parent isn’t some little group over here. It’s huge.

Second thing we know is a single parent cannot provide the same quality of care, and the quantity of time, as a two-parent home. I mean, we just need to get that on the table. You can’t work and be at home at the same.

Your energy, your bandwidth, you can’t give to your kids and work and take care of all the issues financially, the emotional support and strength that you need.

A single parent has their own personal needs to get met and often those don’t get met so you have less to give to your kids, both in time and energy.

And then there’s some unique, specific gender issues. I mean, the most difficult job in the world, as a pastor for over twenty-five years, is a single mom with teenage boys.

What teenage boys need is a strong, clear male model. And that is really tough for a mom.

The second most difficult job I’ve ever seen is single fathers with very small little kids, especially girls. I mean a dad with a nine-month old. It’s not a pretty picture. He can try really hard but he just doesn’t get it. Because what they need here is nurture, what they need, those boys later need strength.

The third is that with God nothing is impossible. Remember Mary’s response in Luke chapter 1 when the angel said, “You’re a virgin and you’re going to have a child.” “How can this be?” The angel said, “What do you mean, ‘How can this be?’ With God nothing is impossible.”

If you’re a single parent, if you’re in a blended family, God’s Word to you is with Him nothing is impossible. And you say, “Well, but I made a lot of mistakes and, you know, this may happen because I did this, and this, and this.” With God nothing is impossible.

You couldn’t make almost more mistakes. It’s hard to read one chapter of the Bible, like Ruth chapter 1, and see a man, his wife, and his sons that disobeyed God and did more things wrong, going backwards.

And then to see God in His grace. The moment she turned to God, turned to His people, wanted to obey, was broken. “Oh, God, help.” He delivers.

Now, is there pain and consequences? Of course.

Jeremiah 32:17 is one of those verses probably worth memorizing where the prophet, in the midst of a horrendous situation, and someone looks at it and he says, “Was the arm of the Lord too short? Is anything too difficult for God?”

And the answer, overwhelmingly, is no.

So that’s what you know.

Well let me, let’s, what can you do as a single parent?

And a lot of these are just laying out, hey, here’s what you need to do. And there’s whole books written about how to do them.

But number one, make God your number one priority. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s the key. No matter what, get up, spend time with God. Make His Word, make His people, make your heart the number one priority.

Number two, get connected with a strong, godly, same-sex support group for encouragement and accountability. You gotta get connected. If you’re a single parent, don’t go it alone. You will not make it, you will not do it well, you’ll make very bad decisions in your moments of weakness, and loneliness, and exhaustion, you will get involved in relationships to try and take care of things that you will just add gasoline onto the fire of your suffering.

You need other people of the same-sex who love God who are going to say, “Let’s do this God’s way together.”

Third, accept this season of your life and set realistic expectations for you and your children. I mean, at some point in time, you know, I see single parents that, they just keep going up against this wall and they just think things are going to get perfect, and nice, and easy. Just accept: this is the season that I have. I need God’s grace. And it really resets and recalibrates your expectations.

Number four, remember God can make up for what you can’t give your kids. I’ve watched this over, and over, and over, and over again, like I’ve said, for many, many years being a pastor.

God can make up. He can do for your kids what you can’t do.

Number five, refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super-parent. Those are the temptations. As a single parent, “Oh, woe is me. Everyone take care of me.”

You start telling this sad story, playing the small violin of your story with every single person and all you find, you find people doing like this to you. You know? Like, “Oh, we really love you. We really love you. But every time we get you you push that button and you’re the victim.”

Or the other person that people don’t like to be around? The martyr. “He walked out on me but I will trust God.” You know? Okay, lady, lighten up. Or, you know, “She had an affair and this is what happened.” Or, “You know, I was with these three small children and my husband died. And I’m not sure how to handle it.” “Lady, that was forty-one years ago.” You know?

I mean, I don’t mean to diminish things but you just have to accept, you know, don’t be a victim. Don’t be a martyr. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. His promises are true.

And the other is don’t be a super-parent. Boy, I’ve watched single parents just try to do it all, be it all, I mean, rise at four in the morning, go to bed at one at night, I’m going to do this for my kids, I’m going to…

Just accept it’s a tough season. God will be adequate. Walk with Him. Get help. Love Him. Accept help.

Number six, don’t compromise your spiritual and moral standard. Don’t settle for second best in an effort to find a mate, or a father, or a mother. Boy, it’s a big temptation.

You start praying and praying, “Oh, God, you know, give these little kids, or not so little kids, a dad or a mom.” And don’t compromise, “Well, you know, maybe he’ll come to Christ later, or he says he believes in God, or she says she believes in God, and of course they haven’t walked with God, they don’t read their Bible, they don’t seem to have any spiritual interest but…if I pass on this one, another one might never come.” Errrrmmmmmm!

You know, that’s the buzzer of the Holy Spirit going, “Stop thinking that way.” Don’t compromise.
Well, when you marry someone who is a single parent you become a blended family.

And Theresa will tell you it took me a long time to pray through whether this is the right thing for me because I was scared to death. And I would just say a word to, maybe, ladies at this point.

As I got to know Theresa and I had all the flashing, warning signs of, when I met her I thought, “Oh, I would really like to get to know her.” And then she came over to, I was a basketball coach at the time and we did a, what we called a rally in the living room of a… did a campus ministry.

And she came with these two little boys, you know, and the feet in the pajamas and the little blue jammies and I thought, “Oh, she’s babysitting.”

And so, well I thought, you know, great, because I had met her a couple times and then I found out that they were her kids and it was like, “Oh.” You know, this is, if you’re a single mom this is what happens to men when they find out you have kids.

And so I just said, “You know, I’m not sure I’m ready for a relationship but I know I’m not ready to be a dad.”

And so it was about a two, two and a half year journey and I will tell you the thing that made the difference. It was her walk with God. I mean, I certainly had dated other people and other people were pretty too, etcetera.

But there was a depth and a quality when she talked about God it was like He was in the next room. And I came from a different background and had a lot more of the Bible and sort of things memorized.

But she knew God’s heart like I didn’t. And I realized God gave me the courage to take that step and He gave me a love for those kids and then, of course, just blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

Let me give you some things that we know and then I’ll get very pragmatic of what we can do.

Number one, blended families rarely, if ever, blend. It’s a misnomer. One author, Dennis Rainey, he actually forces people to talk about being a stepfather or a stepmother because he says the idea of blending sets these expectations.

They’re complex, you’re not going to be the Brady Bunch. It’s not yours, mine, and ours. It’s not like putting all of these people in a blender. Brrrrrrrrrrrr! And then you pour out this spiritual, wonderful, emotional smoothie. You know?

The fact of the matter is is that there’s all kind of issues. And it doesn’t mean it can’t be good. It doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful. It doesn’t mean God won’t really work.

But if you go into it thinking, “We’re a blended family! We’re going to get in the Holy Spirit mixer and we’re going to be this happy family.”

Because part of it when you’re longing for that person, if you have kids or if you both have kids and you’re longing, and God draws you together then it’s like, “Oh! It’s going to be wonderful!”

And as high as those expectations are when it’s not so wonderful then you think it’s worse than it really is. So, blended families rarely ever really, fully blend.

Second, every family is a relational system and when one part of a relational component of the system changes it has a domino effect. And this, we don’t get this.

So, in other words, let’s take it, I’m a man and I have kids and I get married and, praise God, this woman comes into my life and I think this is wonderful.

And let’s say my kids are eight or nine and I have a daughter who is thirteen. And they’ve even been praying with me and we’ve been going to church together and I’m this single father and this woman comes in and they’re excited.

Well then we get married – yeah, yeah, rah, rah. You know, my daughter is even in the wedding and then we all move in together. And then the first month my daughter realizes that special place I had with my dad is gone. It got filled.

My boys are happy for this new woman but she’s kind of different at home than when they were dating. And all of a sudden some of that, “My dad needed me, he doesn’t need me in the same way.”

That sets off a chain reaction of dominos in the hearts of those kids.

Are you getting it? You got a whole new family system that’s operating and often blended families are super naïve and they super-spiritualize, “Well God will make it happen. You know? Holy Spirit dust. Everything is going to be okay.”

Everything is going to be okay with a lot of hard work, a lot of intentionality, a lot of dependency, and a lot of recognition that this is going to be very, very tough. And you need to get inside your kids’ skin and know what’s going on.

It gets even more difficult if you both have kids. Because now you have kids relating to kids. So now the parents are connecting pretty well and now you got a problem between, you know, kid two over here and kid three over here. Do you understand that this is really hard, difficult, complex?

And so, honestly, it rarely, I’m just giving you the facts.

This is what we know. It rarely works well or easily. And a significant, high percentage of blended families fail. Success requires, underline the word, “extreme.” Extreme effort, time, intentionality. And then circle the phrase, “outside help.”

Chances are you try and do this without some good outside help and whether that’s a pastor, mature friends, or a quality Christian counselor, the probability that you, because you can’t be objective. You can’t see. You can’t know what you don’t know. And so it requires that.

So what must you do?

Number one, count the cost thoroughly. For some that’s a little bit late. For others thinking about, you’re dating someone, count the cost thoroughly.

Second, get premarital counseling from a mutually trusted and biblical, and wise resource and I would add - post-marital. Get premarital and post-marital counseling.

And notice the adjectives: from a “mutually trusted…”

Don’t take them to someone, you know, “My wife’s really having struggles with all this and one of her kids…” “You need to come meet my counselor or my…” You know?

It needs to be someone that you both agree is going to help you.

And you need to work through expectations, which are usually way off.

You need to work through specific finances. That’s a point of real tension. You need to talk through the impact on each child.

Kids aren’t, like, this group – your kids, my kids – this little group. Everyone of those kids has specific responses in different seasons of their life.

You need to agree on parenting goals, discipline, and have a common front with the kids. This is really difficult. We’ll talk in just a second about the priority. If your kids know that they can pressure you all to get their parent, biological, to stand against your new mate, you’re done. You’re done.

I mean, and kids are smart and they’re selfish little critters. Cute as can be, selfish little critters. And they will try and wedge in between you and your new mate, and you will feel this overwhelming guilt because the fact is is depending on the age, you then had eight years with this child and five months with this man.

Or sixteen years with this child and two years with this man, and now it’s a big issue and where’s your allegiance and where’s your loyalty? It really matters and it matters that you leave, cleave, and become one flesh, and part of that leaving that’s painful is you gotta leave those kids.

They become number two. A very important number two for their health.

And then not on your notes but establish appropriate roles based on age of kids, and involvement or lack of it, by the biological parents.

You gotta ask yourself, “What’s my role as the new person in this family going to be, based on age, their connection with their biological family, how close they are, how often they relate, whether it’s a positive relationship, or a negative relationship?”

Then we get real specific. Make your mate your new, unequivocal, number one relationship, ahead of your children. And put a star by this one.

Blended families don’t work because this doesn’t happen. You leave, you cleave, you two matter more than you and your kids and, man, that is hard. That is super hard.

But your kids will never be secure unless that’s true. And your marriage will never be the glue that God wants it unless that’s true.

Number four, develop a weekly communication tool and mechanism to wrestle family conflicts, schedules, and miscommunication to the ground in a non-threatening, grace-filled way.

If there’s anything that’s going to make it not only difficult but impossible for this to be successful it’s all the lack of communication. And so this is where you get outside help.

I know Theresa and I, one of the reasons we needed marriage counseling early, we didn’t know how to communicate, we didn’t know about our past, we didn’t know about backgrounds.

We got a communication tool called a conference. Three little questions. Two or three times a week early in our marriage we sat down for anywhere from twenty minutes to forty-five or an hour. “What are you concerned about? What do you wish? What are you willing to do?”

What are you concerned about? What do you wish? What are you willing to do? One person asks the question the other person can’t talk.

And we got all that stuff out without attacking each other and we got to talk about things when we weren’t, you know, hurt, or rejected, or arguing about them.

So, I mean, two or three times a week, later we got it to about once a week. Now we don’t even use those questions but they’re so ingrained that’s how we communicate.

Because you know what happens with that little conference? Without attacking one another you hear your mate’s biggest burdens, you hear their greatest dreams, and then the last little question: what are you willing to do?

You don’t, the rule is you don’t have to do anything. But if you want to, after hearing all the things that are weighing them down and all the things that put wind in their sails you can reach over and say, “I’m willing to take that burden off you.” Or, “I’m willing to…” And you don’t have to.

But we started to communicate. And you gotta have a weekly communication tool.

Number six: make the spiritual development of your marriage and family the utmost priority. Only God and supernatural love can make this work. You don’t have that apart from your vital union with Christ in the context of a strong, loving, biblical community.

So the spiritual development, I don’t mean just your kids go to church. I don’t mean they just get off to youth group.

I mean the spiritual development of your marriage and the spiritual development of your family. Everything that we’ve talked about in this series.

Whether that’s time in the Scriptures, whether that’s fun, whether that’s building relationships that bond, whether that’s saying, “Here’s, we’re going to have a clear-cut goal.”

Whether that’s sending… love and limits. But I mean, whether that’s praying together as a couple. But, I mean, the spiritual development of your kids has to be.

If you can get that priority, I’ll tell you, all the other dominos of the relationships. And here’s the deal, sometimes it’ll take a few years.

You know, a thirteen year old boy got thrown into a family with an eleven year old girl and they hate each other. And though you think they’ll never like each other but you just keep going down the path and you keep modeling… this is what Christ is, here’s the boundaries, we don’t treat each other that way. Affirm, affirm. Two, three, four years later you watch these closed flowers begin to open up and you watch God do a miracle.

But if you have a short fuse, if you think this is happening overnight, if you think that God’s going to, you know, sprinkle that Holy Spirit dust and it’s going to be great, easy, and early you’ll probably bail out.

Number seven, remember it will take time, it will be harder than you thought, and it can be a glorious testimony of God’s restoration and redemption.

Now, if you’ve had the sense that, boy, he’s really talking about how hard this is and, by the way, on a few of your faces I can tell you have blended families and some of you are looking at me like, “Dude, you’re right. It is hard. It’s really hard. And I knew it. Here’s the deal. I knew it would be hard I just couldn’t imagine it could be this hard.”

But what if the arm of the Lord isn’t too short? What if you don’t bail out? What if you don’t cave in? What if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other? What if you take your vows absolutely seriously?

What if you learned, supernaturally, to love a kid that, down deep in your heart, and you can’t say this to your mate, you think that’s the most evil little punk you’ve ever seen in your life and what you’d really like to do is strangle them instead of be their dad or their mother.

Now those feelings and emotions come. Okay, that’s reality. I mean, that is a reality. And so what you have to do you have to forgive them. You have to give them what they don’t deserve. You gotta bless those who curse you.

You have to say, “Jesus,” what, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” And you trust that the Word of God, and the power of God, is going to reshape that life.

I could tell you story after story of my kids and I had a son that was so timid, and so afraid from how he grew up the first four and a half or five years… The doorbell would ring and this tiny, skinny little premature boy would run and find Theresa and then stick his head right in the back of her knee. Now I took them out, I mean, they’re like six years old. They’re boys. And there’s a slide about this high. “I can’t do that. I can’t do that. I can’t do that.” “Yeah, you can!” You know? They needed a dad. And they went down with me.

And now I look at that; he couldn’t take a risk. The same kid, when he was ten? I put skates on him, “You can’t come back in,” I, like, taped them on so he couldn’t take them off. He wouldn’t try anything new. He told me, “I don’t want to learn to ride a bike.” “Well, guess what, kid?” You know? And he needed pushed, and pushed, and pushed. That same kid just opened his own physical therapy clinic, took a risk in a bad market, now hiring other physical therapists, he’s a confident young man but it took decades. It took a couple decades. Push, push, love, love. Push, push.

And God will work. But you’re signing up for one of the most difficult tasks on the face of the earth. But the testimony, the glory of God that can be revealed, and He will make you more like Christ than you ever wanted to be.

Okay? Because that’s what suffering does. That’s what loving people, who don’t love you back, do. That’s what, this is not what I signed up for but this is what I got. And by the way, once you say, “I do,” don’t go down that, “I don’t think this was the right person.”

When you said, “I do,” she became, he became the right person instantaneously. It is the will of God and He’ll give you all you need. So don’t start buying that, “I don’t think I should have married this person.” That line of thinking will take you very, very bad, ungodly places.

I want you to know He promises in James 1:2 to 4 to “…consider it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing the testing of your faith will produce endurance and let endurance have it’s perfecting or maturing result that you might be lacking in nothing.”

And what He’ll do is, He will reward and bring results beyond your wildest estimation.

My blended family verse, I’ve used this for more than one thing but again it’s Hebrews 10:36: “For you have need of endurance so that once you’ve done the will of God you might receive what is promised.”

Endurance. The Greek word is hupomeno. Hupo, to be under. Meno, pressure or stress. And under pressure or stress, some of you guys and gals work out, and you actually take pressure and stress, about three times a week, and you put it on your back on purpose.

And you start out with some light weights and what it does is it actually tears the muscle fibers.

And the reason you don’t do it every day is it keeps tearing the muscle fibers. But if you do it every other day and you eat and drink some protein those muscle fibers get torn and then when they heal they heal back bigger. And what those are called are strength.

And just how God does that with our physical bodies, when you endure, hupomeno. Attitudes, difficulty, problems, expectations – what happens is you wake up five years later, ten years later a stronger, more godly person than you’d ever dream.