I went to the dentist yesterday to take care of a broken filling. While I was there, I learned that in addition to breaking out the filling, I also broke part of the tooth.
If I hadn't taken the time to have it fixed, the tooth would have likely continued to crack, resulting in only one option: extracting the tooth. Instead I have a nice pretty crown, solidifying the cracked tooth underneath.
When our stepfamily relationships experience brokenness, we need to be intentional in finding solutions for the problems. If we choose to ignore the challenges or deny they exist, we create larger problems that result in more complex solutions.
A dear friend of mine took an active role in raising her stepdaughter for many years. She loved her stepdaughter and treated her as her own. But as the child reached adolescence, the young girl became involved in drugs and running with the wrong crowd.
Her father chose to ignore the situation, hoping it would remedy itself. Of course it didn't, and the young teen-age girl dove deeper into trouble with each friend she made. As a stepparent, my friend couldn't take action without the support of her husband. But the child's father refused to get involved, allowing his daughter to start down a path toward self-destruction.
Unfortunately, at 20 years old, the young lady now lives on the street, continues to abuse drugs, and has an out of wedlock one-year-old daughter she is ill-equipped to raise. The challenge of getting help she will respond to in her present condition has become insurmountable. It's too late for a clean fix to a simple problem.
As stepparents, we can't always control the solutions to stepfamily problems. But we can take part in finding solutions to the challenges we are directly involved in. We can also offer input to our spouse and pray diligently for wise choices with our stepchildren. If we approach difficult issues with our stepchildren as they arise, we are more likely to find answers with long-term success.
What challenges are you facing in your stepfamily? Will you take time to confront the small issues as they develop to prevent larger issues on the horizon?