On February 24th, 2013 I wrote my desires of finding my future husband to God. This is what it said… “The ONE”
“Father I DO want butterflies. I want tingles down to my toes. I want to be dizzy with his kisses. (thank you Shnee Carter for helping me acknowledge this) Father I want a Godly man, who will truly desire to know my heart, and fall in love with me completely. I want him to ALWAYS cherish my heart. I want a man that I will NEVER make me doubt his love and devotion to me or our family. I desire a Godly man who will be a great leader for our family. Father, I want you to be our guide as a couple to look to you and honor you first in our relationship/marriage and family.
I want to have a real relationship, with real love, real trust, and a whole lotta JOY. I want this man to LOVE…I mean LOVE our kids wholeheartedly and invest in our kids. I want deep unconditional love, respect, closeness, commitment, Godly, kind, caring, etc.
I want to be married to a man who loves me in spite of me. I’m far from perfect in any way, but I will try to be everything he wants and needs every day.
I want to welcome friends and family into our home whenever. I just want our home to be a safe, loving, caring, FUN, enjoyable, relaxing, consistent, GOD-FILLED, PEACEFUL, welcome-to-be-yourself kind of place.”
Ephesians 3:20 ‘God is able to do far more than we could ever dare to ask or even dream-infinitly beyond our highest prayers, thoughts, or hopes.’ (thank you Leah Edwards for giving this verse to me at a time of great loss and just struggling for hope)
Romans 14:23 ‘If a dream comes from God, it will be SO BIG in your life that you can’t do it on your own. If you could do it on your own you wouldn’t need faith.'”
Just three days (February 27, 2013)after this discussion with God, my husband-to-be asked me out for the first time. (after meeting for the first time the night before at Literature Fun Night…a way to get a single teacher’s attention is to take your kids by yourself to school functions showing that #1 you’re responsible #2 you’re a great father #3 you value education) However, I reluctantly agreed and immediately regretted agreeing to go out with him. I even tried to find a way to get out of going out with him.(I wasn’t ready to date again) I recall going over several excuses with why I shouldn’t go out with him, when I finally just gave up to “get it over with.” I’m so glad I took the chance of getting hurt again and went for it, because boy did God answer prayers. I did get everything I dreamed of in a husband and more. I am incredibly blessed.
I guess that exciting first date story and honestly first year of dating is just a blur of absolute bliss. We spent the first few months just getting to know each other and trying to decide if we were a good fit. Do we have the same goals??? I believe so…we want to raise loving, caring, responsible, respectful kids. We waited two months to introduce our children. We planned a trip to a Springfield Cardinals game with the River Families. We took some extra precautions and drove separately and DID NOT plan dinner just in case any of the kids expressed discomfort. They were all super excited to meet and hangout for the first time. We had done a lot of reading on how to introduce dating to our kids to try to do what was best for them. One suggestion was to not show ANY affection for at least the first 5 dates with them…no holding hands, no arms around each other, no kisses goodnight, etc. The ONLY reason we managed to pull this off was simply because we wanted our children to be comfortable with us getting to know each other and to start a relationship on a completely good note. We wanted everything to be open for our children to see what a healthy relationship looked like.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
The kids loved each other and begged to be together all the time. My kids loved him….his kids loved me. It was almost a fairytale come true…
Being in a “blended family” certainly has its challenges. We certainly won’t be giving them everything they desire, but would like to enlighten them with valuable life lessons. We care less about being their best friends and more about building their character in ways they most certainly DO NOT appreciate very often. (oh the pain of chores, homework responsibility, phone limits, bedtimes, etc….we may as well cut their little hearts out when we give them consequences.)
Moving 7 people under one small 4 bedroom roof with different rules, routines, consequences and expectations can be rather stressful for all involved. (understatement of the year)
We have to remember how we got here…2 people fell in love. We have to put our relationships with God, individually and as a couple, FIRST. Our marriage comes second.When we put our marriage second and take care of each other’s needs it spills over into our parenting and all other aspects of our lives. After years of research psychologist and family therapist James Bray states “Marital satisfaction almost always determines stepfamily stability. If satisfaction is high, tolerance for the normal tumult and conflict of stepfamily life is correspondingly high. If marital satisfaction is low, however , tolerance for conflict is so low that often the stepfamily dissolves in divorce.”
God has blessed us with an incredible marriage and family and for that we are grateful. The day to day stress and added step family issues will come and go, but God willing this family will be standing strong in His amazing love, mercy and grace. AGAIN…how great is our God!!!!
“So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing.” – Ephesians 6:13
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”
1 Peter 3:1 “Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives…your beauty should come from your innerself, the unfading beauty of a gentle spirit…put their hope in God and were submissive to their own husbands…Do what is right…DO NOT GIVE WAY TO FEAR.” (emphasis mine)