• Katie Bock

Feb. 9 - Kristin and Jason Engler - Marriage is Redeemed

The bible talks about marriage being a union between one man and one woman until death does you part, but what if it’s not? You look around your neighborhood, your community, and your church and you see happy families. Two loving parents and their biological children. If you’ve experienced divorce, the death of a spouse or parent, or any kind of brokenness in your family, you’re likely wondering “How do I fit in here?” You may feel like a failure or even a second-class Christian, but in the Kingdom of God, there are no first-class citizens, so you fit right in!

On Sunday, Kristin and Jason Engler continued our marriage series by sharing the story of their blended family and the rocky road it took to get where it is today. They emphasized they are not advocating divorce, but sometimes the death of a family occurs and they wanted to reassure us there is still a place in the church and in God’s kingdom when that happens.

When a couple gets married, there are so many changes to adjust to and decisions to make. Where will you take your honeymoon? How will you combine your budgets? How can you create new traditions? How many children do you want to have? These can all be challenging issues for a brand new couple to figure out. But if this is a remarriage, the answers will look vastly different from what you expect.

Where will you take your honeymoon? You may be combining two households of children with their own sets of already-existing expenses and schedules. That honeymoon may not come right away, but years and years later when life starts to settle down.

How will you combine your budgets? You’re not just pulling together rent and a couple of student loans. You may have multiple kids, a house or two, alimony, child support, current tuition for more than one child, and years of financial baggage.

How can you create new traditions? In a blended family, you’ve combined two families with already existing traditions. Now you’re each trying to maintain the existing traditions that your children are accustomed to, while trying to create new ones for your new and expanded family. You could end up with 3 or 4 different Christmas celebrations each year!

How many children do you want to have? This really doesn’t matter. You might have wanted three children. You may have HAD three children. But now you’ve married someone who has three children of their own and now you find yourself navigating a Brady Bunch household every day. And what if you now want to have children with your new spouse? You hadn’t planned on a “yours, mine, and ours” situation, but that’s where you are!

In a blended family, life can be even more chaotic, confusing, and stressful than in a nuclear family, but God won’t leave you hanging! If you allow yourself to lean into him, He uses these difficult situations to grow and shape you. He will redeem even the most challenging and broken situation. He creates beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

In a blended family, you now have the opportunity to create for your children what they may not have otherwise had. They can witness a loving relationship between a husband and wife as God intended. They can watch you navigate your new challenges with grace and faith in Christ. If their other household is still chaotic and broken, they can have a safe, supportive home with you and their step-parent.

And you are learning that love is a choice. You may have a new set of children and in-laws that you didn’t choose, but you have the opportunity to love them and pour into them as if they were your own. You learn through all your challenges that you can’t do this on your own. Pray that your reliance on God is amplified through your difficulties.

Newstart is a church that meets people where they are and helps them to build their relationship with God from there. If you’re in a blended family, we encourage you to reach out to our Kristin and Jason through our Blended Family Ministry to connect with resources and meet with other families in the same situation. And if you and your spouse are in a difficult season, please reach out any member of our Marriage Ministry. We want to equip you to move through your hardships and come out on the other side with a stronger marriage.

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