Being in a Blended Family Grew My Walk with Christ
(Editor's Note: This article was written by Jade Hollyfield and was first published in the April 2022 edition of the print Stand HERE.)
Many have heard the term “blended family” or “stepfamily”, and I’m sure we all know someone in a blended family or are in one currently. A blended family is a family that includes a stepparent, step-sibling, or half-sibling. According to smartstepfamilies.com, 40% of families in the U.S. are blended, with at least one partner having a child from a previous relationship before marriage.
If you had told me 20 years ago that I would marry someone with a child from a previous relationship, I would have called you a liar and told you to “get behind me Satan.” That was one of my rules on my “Husband List” – do not marry someone with a child. But we have all heard the saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I know God was shaking His head at me, chuckling at how I dared to tell Him – the Creator and orchestrator of my life – my plans.
I went from being a single 27-year-old millennial woman with a good career, free to travel and go as I pleased, to the instant stepmom of a 9-year-old girl who was with us every single weekend. My life, in general, was no longer about what I wanted but became engulfed by the needs and wants of others – my handsome husband and a beautiful little girl. A little girl who had no desire for another mom in her life.
It did not take long for my stepdaughter and me to bump heads. She liked me very much while her father and I were dating, but when I became her stepmother she saw me as another woman taking up time with her dad. I would love to say that I was patient, kind, and loving during this beginning stage of my blended family, but I was not. I was so consumed with myself, my wants, my comfort, my expectations, and my desires that I only liked my stepchild when she was not in our home and no longer an inconvenience to me. Before you think how horrible a person I am, I want you to see how great a God I serve.
If you desire to be married, you are saying to God: “I am willing to die to myself.” But if you choose to marry someone who has a child or children, you are saying two things. “I am willing to die to myself,” and “I am willing to love sacrificially even when it is not reciprocated.” My stepdaughter is 13 years old now, and we have come a long way. But one thing she knows is that I, her MJ (her nickname for me), will not only be there for her, but I repent to God when I sin against her, then turn and apologize to her. She knows that her MJ is a sinner in constant need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and I show that with my moments of fleshly outbursts and asking the Lord to forgive me and help me.
It is no praise to me, but to God. It is no accident that I married the man that I married. It was in God’s sovereign plan because God loved me enough to kill off more of Jade and bring about more of Christ in me, and He knew adding in the mix a child whom I did not birth was just what I needed.
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9).