Love & Peace for Blended Families
A few weeks back I had the honor of sharing my story with a group of blended families! This small group was led by an incredible woman who I actually got to know through my divorce. Even the worst of times can connect you with some amazing, like-minded people. We met when our lives looked parallel in some pretty heartbreaking ways. Now, years later, we are both remarried with some more babies in the mix. Living out our passion for showing blended families the love and support they deserve!
Here’s Bri’s story …
I would like to share with you a portion of my journey as a Christ follower, a wife on her second marriage, and a mother of a blended family. First, let’s rewind to 29 years ago; I was born as a result of an affair between my mom and the prominent defense attorney she was currently working for. I grew up with very contrasting perspectives of values, morals, and priorities in life. While my parents were never married and our home was welcome to all forms of abuse and addiction, I somehow found myself enrolled in private Christian schools for the entirety of my education. This allowed me to be presented with two very different ways of living. It was during my junior year of high school that I committed my life to the Lord.
Even though I had committed my life to living for Jesus, my childhood seemed to follow me into adulthood. In order to help my single mother with her financial situation, I rushed into an early marriage with my high school sweetheart, a church worship leader. That young marriage manifested the same abusive and addictive behaviors in my husband that I had witnessed all growing up. Two years into our marriage God blessed us with an incredible son named Luke, but two years after that, my husband made a decision to leave and begin a new family with a co-worker of his. The brokenness, denial, and betrayal I witnessed as a young girl was now manifested in me. I was now going to raise my son alone; he would grow up in a broken home. It broke my heart that one person’s decisions can affect so many other lives. After the affair and divorce, the only choice I had was to rely on my heavenly Father.
Healing after divorce was challenging. It had many ups and downs. Life was now filled with so much fear and insecurity. Trust was difficult. Life felt overwhelmingly lonely. I knew I had a long road ahead of me. As a newly single mom, I began a path of finding dependence and wholeness in God. I read Romans 5:3-5 nearly every day, “ Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” I did not know what our future would bring but I did know, in the present, I would persevere for Luke and find hope in the Lord. God brought some incredible single moms into my life. The love and support of family was very helpful. Most importantly, my beautiful baby boy was my rock and my number one reason for healing. I knew I needed to see my adversity as my advantage. This was not happening to me it was happening for me, though I did not know the reason. I could choose to “go” through my situation or I could choose to “grow” through it. I chose the latter and it was NOT easy, but it was WORTH it. With the Lord’s strength and guidance, I eventually found joy in my present sufferings and was rewarded for my perseverance.
A few years after my divorce, I was finally in my rhythm as a single mom. My son and I enjoyed Angels games, Disneyland, and tball on the weekends. When I least expected it, God brought another man into my life. I was hesitant and fearful. We spoke for weeks and finally decided to meet in person (at an Angel game of all places!) As the innings went by I was overcome by peace in my heart. I learned that we had all the same core values and beliefs. After a few months, I finally introduced him to Luke, he instantly loved him as his own. As we began our relationship we could not deny God’s intervention in both our lives. Fast-forwarding four years and I am now married to that incredible man, Ryan, and we now have two young daughters together; Hana, 3, and Makena, 2. Navigating a blended family has many obstacles but also many joys. We have seen how vital it is to have a strong Christ-centered community who understands your situation to meet you where you are and journey through life with you. Life, especially blended family life, is not meant to be done alone.
We found a new spiritual home at Friends church in Yorba Linda. There we were introduced to a blended families curriculum study and now help facilitate a blended family life group. We look forward to every Sunday as we gather with twelve blended families to share life’s praises and struggles. I have learned throughout my journey that though I do not have a say in the cards that God deals me, it is how I play them that honors and glorifies Him. Ryan and I have dreams to spread the love and peace of God to the blended family community.