Yesterday was our 6th wedding anniversary. Are blended family years counted the same as dog years? That would make this number 42. Sometimes it feels like it’s aged me that much. This year has been a rough one.
In fact, I wasn’t planning to celebrate or even observe this anniversary. I wanted to postpone it until I felt a little more like our heads were above water. But then I thought to myself, if a child was being exceedingly difficult would we postpone his or her birthday? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. We would celebrate that child’s life and growth regardless of behaviors or feelings. And so our marriage should be treated the same way. It’s growing and changing with each passing day. Some of the seasons of growth are more challenging than others, but those are the ones that produce the fruit.
When I look back at what we’ve already accomplished during this rough patch I see how God has stepped in as my source of strength and unending grace, how my husband and I have both gotten more connected to our church thanks to their amazing resources for dealing with times of crisis (gatewaypeople.com), and how I’ve been learning to pray more fervently than ever before (with the help of Priscilla Shirer‘s book Fervent). Here is a snippet from the chapter I just finished that deals with hurts.
Listen, God knows how to deal with sin. Our sin, their sin. When you choose to forgive someone, you’re not wiping their actions away as if the bad things didn’t happen, giving people a free pass from the harm they’ve caused. You’re just sparing yourself the burden of working two extra jobs – being judge and jury for how justice is meted out in this situation. Why not let someone relieve you of the pressure -Someone who actually knows what He’s doing? And Someone who’s just waiting right now to talk with you about it? His forgiveness, my friend, is freedom.
So as we are told in Ephesians 4:31-32… Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
And who better to be kind and tender-hearted and forgiving toward than the one to whom you’re wed? What better way to teach your children about the realities of marriage and families and blended families than to allow them to see you fight together to save their family unit. Yes, it can be harder in blended families because some of the kids may actually want you to break up (or think they do). They might be working to form a wedge where they see a crack in the marriage. But don’t fall for that deception. Do you really think they want another broken family? Of course not. They want security, structure, boundaries, love, acceptance. Isn’t that what we all want? So to that end, let’s celebrate.