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Monday, February 15, 2010

Healthy Stepparenting #13: Embrace Flexibility As You Adjust to Change

Stepfamilies have more change, on average, than nuclear families. Schedules change, living arrangements change, relationships change, just to name a few. If we learn to be embrace flexibility, change will be easier for us.

Five years into our marriage, my stepdaughter left our home to go live with her mother, over 100 miles away. I was hurt and saddened by her decision. I didn't understand how it could be healthy for her to live somewhere else while her brother stayed with us. Her empty chair at the dinner table was a daily reminder of the change our family had experienced.

Several years later, her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and died a year later. It was a devastating loss for both my stepchildren. It was also a huge change for all our family. My biological children began asking questions about the likelihood of that happening to me and became fearful of illness. We were all forced to adjust to life in a different way after her loss.

We've experienced other changes such as job loss, relocation, school changes, career changes, financial changes and relationship changes among family members. Some of the change has been good but some of it has been very difficult.

I've learned that I can adjust to change easier when I look for God's guidance with each step, remaining flexible as I seek to carry out His plans.

Change offers an opportunity to mature in our faith as we let go of our control and make room for God's sovereign way. It may be uncomfortable at times, but our faith is strengthened as we rely on God and trust His ways.

Hebrews 11:8 gives an account of how Abraham allowed change in his life when surrounded by uncertainty. "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." God asked Abraham to leave behind his comfortable surroundings and embark on unfamiliar territory at 75 years of age! Abraham obeyed and was rewarded abundantly.

As stepparents, we may not be asked to make as drastic a change as Abraham did, but we do venture into unfamiliar territoy and need God's direction. If we remain flexible, we will adjust to transition easier.

It's also comforting to remember that, although our life is constantly changing, God is unchangeable. "I the Lord do not change." (Malachi 3:6) His faithful presence is our reasurrance as we progress through change.


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