See Your Blended Family Tree Grow
After a recent snow and ice storm, I helped my Father-in-law cut down and haul away a very large branch of a giant tree that he had planted long, long ago. It was a towering willow tree planted along a small lake. It had stood the test of time over 37 years. Now one of the willows large cut up branch lay ready to become firewood for our families. As I looked at the ‘tree rings’ depicting the chronology of that tree and the large branch, a smile came over me in a big way … there is a message for Blended Families in this tree.
Each year that a tree is alive it grows another ring, making its trunk wider. The thickness of each ring depends on what the weather, the climate, lightning strikes, fire damage or the storms were like during the year in which it grew that ring. A wide ring indicates faster growth (good conditions), whereas a narrow ring or scar of some sort indicates poor growth (bad conditions). When a tree is cut, the rings can be "read" like a diary of the ‘history of life’ of that tree. Families also can have ‘tree ring’ story in their chronology diary... and by God's hand we can have good growth.
In Blended Families we too have seasons of life or our own family ‘tree rings’. Often in blended families, despite being ‘branded’ broken, there is much joy, happiness and many good seasons, and yes occasionally some will probably be not so good. That is normal. Like all of life, God gives us seasons we go through in order to see His hand in our life. He wants us to know that placing our trust in HIM offers strength through all the seasons. So that our ‘tree rings’ will show genuine growth.
We encourage you to take this to heart in your step-family. Often times in divorce, remarriage and new blended family / step-family life the ‘storms’ seem to be just a little stronger, the ‘heat’ feels a little hotter, and the ‘winds’ seem to blow more powerfully against us, testing the strength of our tree. Parental interaction, children’s behavior and emotions, financial challenges, and cooperation with former spouses can all offer ‘climate’ that sometimes seems to try to knock down or knock out a family.
We encourage blended families / step-families who we coach through difficult situations to look first for patience, perseverance and victory through trusting God. We respect the secular viewpoints that offer insight into the dynamics of step-family life, yet as we have invested years of research, reading, interviews with families, and conversations with family therapists and professionals, we continue to find the real power is in God’s Hands. The foundation of your blended family, your ‘tree ring’ and family chronology success in this sense must be fully planted in the Word of God. The greatest growth of your tree ring can be found through planting, and your family by the streams of living water.
In Psalms 1: 1-3, we are offered perfect wisdom to follow;
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
So that your ‘blended family chronology’ will prosper, through the “storms” and “climate” challenges, you and your spouse must plant yourself as the parents ‘by the streams of living water’ and draw a line in the sand for your family by fully trust God. He is the root and the trunk, you are the branch. Then you may ‘see things with new eyes’ and ‘hear things with new ears’.We encourage blended families to look for God in all things, good and some seemingly bad, and keep your ‘roots’ firmly planted in prayer and in God’s Word daily. You can be ‘like the tree…which yields fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither. Do not walk in the counsel of negative people, or those who mock biblical wisdom. Stand strong, you will get through it. If you trust God, your tree will stand and reach up to the sky and one day you will see its fruit.
Our family tree, and our own blended family chronology, has had some thick rings with great years of growth, and some rings where you can sense the storms came. In all times, we kept the ‘roots’ planted in God’s Hands, even when the world might say we should crash. We have seen God’s goodness and His glory, and He has firmly planted in our hearts to pass along the encouragement, hope and motivation for you and your blended family.