FamilyLife Blended® Podcast

132: Growing Up Blended: Navigating Loss

with Scott Kedersha | February 26, 2024
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Our past affects our present. And when we experience complicated blended family dynamics as a child, we're forever changed. Listen to Scott Kedersha share with Ron Deal how his blended family upbringing has impacted his parenting and marriage as an adult.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Ron Deal

    Ron L. Deal is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series of books including the bestselling Building Love Together in Blended Families: The 5 Love Languages® and Becoming Stepfamily Smart (with Dr. Gary Chapman), The Smart Stepfamily: 7 Steps to a Healthy Family, and Preparing to Blend. Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, popular conference speaker, and host of the FamilyLife Blended podcast. He and his wife, Nan, have three sons and live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at

Our past affects our present. And when we experience complicated blended family dynamics as a child, we’re forever changed. Listen to Scott Kedersha share with Ron Deal how his blended family upbringing has impacted his parenting and marriage as an adult.

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132: Growing Up Blended: Navigating Loss

With Scott Kedersha
February 26, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Scott: They did the best that they could in spite of the challenges of two new sons to love and to raise, the challenges of navigating co-parenting with his ex, who was really, really difficult at times. And so, when I look back, I am just so much more sympathetic and empathetic to the challenges that they walked through.

Ron: Welcome to the FamilyLife Blended podcast. I'm Ron Deal. We help blended families, and those who love them, to pursue the relationships that matter most. And why do we do that? Well, because family is one of the most important ways we bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

When I started doing stepfamily ministry over 30 years ago, one of the things I did not anticipate was helping people process their childhoods. Initially, I was just trying to help couples navigate their family integration process. But what has also happened is that many adults who grew up in a complex family started thinking back, unpacking the many transitions of their life, and recognizing how those moments and new relationships and old and grief and sadness and how all of that shaped who they are today.

So, what we started doing as a result of that realization is we started talking to adult children of blended families to hear their stories, to help them process life, and to help you in the process. Because you, the listener or the viewer, you get to put yourself in the shoes of your children, or in your stepchildren, maybe even your step grandchildren, as I'm talking with my guest today. If you understand this person's life, you might understand their life a little bit better, the kids' lives in your world, and maybe, just maybe, you can help them manage their world a little better.

Now, if you've followed this podcast for a while, you know periodically we come back to this theme, this conversation with a different person. We call it Growing Up Blended. That's the focus of today's conversation. If this is your first Growing Up Blended conversation and you get something out of it, well, let me encourage you to just kind of flip back through all of our other episodes.

Before we jump in, I do want to remind you that Blended and Blessed®, our annual live stream for couples and stepfamilies, is happening Saturday, April 27th, 2024. We're going to be live in McKinney, Texas; that's in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If you're within driving distance, come be with us. We'd love to have you in the live audience. But of course, you can attend from anywhere in the world. It is a livestream, and you can join thousands of other people and couples just like you from around the world. Go to to learn more;

Again, the show notes will get you connected with a link directly to that page. We'd love to have you join us. And your church can host that event for others in your church or community for less than 100 dollars. Yes, you heard me right; less than 100 dollars. We would love to have you do that.

Scott Kedersha is, well, he's a friend of mine, and he's a good friend. He's a marriage pastor at Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. He's authored a couple of books for premarital couples. One of them is called Ready or Knot, and it is spelled K N O T. Very—you see what he did there; that's really good. And his follow up book just came out not long ago, The Ready or Knot Prayer Guide.

He's also one of the co-hosts of the popular marriage podcast More Than Roommates. And he contributed to our last Summit on Stepfamily Ministry in the fall of 2023. He and his wife have four sons. You can learn more at My goodness, Scott, so good to have you with me. Thanks for being here, buddy.

Scott: Good to be here with you, Ron. I appreciate you so much and grateful for all the work you do. You are a good friend. It's good to be with friends.

Ron: Thank you. We are like minded. The more I spend time with you, the more I know you're one of my peeps.

Scott: Yes, for sure.

Ron: You know, we have the same passion. Speaking of passions, I know one of the reasons you're a marriage pastor is because you want to help children grow up with healthy families. You want them to have a healthy experience of marriage. You want them to have a model, a healthy model, of marriage when it comes time for them to start looking for life partners. Did you have a good model for marriage when you were growing up?

Scott: Yes, that's a great question that I am so passionate about. It's what I get to give my life to is helping others and that I hope more, most importantly, really modeling that at home. I really didn't have that growing up. I grew up in New Jersey, [Repeats with an accent] New Jersey—

Ron: [Copying the accent] New Jersey.

Scott: —the Northeast, and my mom's name is Diane. She's amazing, still living, and actually coming to visit us in Texas in a couple weeks; can't wait to see her. She's short, four foot eleven and a half, and is just the most joyful, fun human being. And she's married to Dennis, my dad, and my dad died. Dennis died when I was young. When I was four years old, he had a massive, massive heart attack.

It turns out he had something called a coarctation of the aorta. The aorta wasn't working right and so caused all these problems in his heart. He's out shoveling one day in the Northeast because it snows all the time there and just had this massive heart attack and really was in the hospital in and out for the next two years and then passed away. He was 39 years old when he died.

Ron: Wow.

Scott: I was six, one little brother who's two and a half years younger than me, and so my brother Chris and I grew up in a single parent family home for a few years with my mom. And man, it was, you know those were tough years for her; really, really tough for her to lose her husband who she loved so much and trying to raise us as two boys in a home without a dad, trying to just pay the bills, get by, figure out how to work and provide and, you know, take care of us.

I really grew up largely from the ages of four to ten without, really without a dad in the home, even though they were—you know, my dad was still around for a few years. It was really from the age of four through ten that we were essentially a dadless home because my dad was in the hospital and then passed.

Ron: Yes. Hey, so I know it's hard sometimes, but I mean, what do you remember during those years, four to ten? For you and your brother, for you and your mom, just your family, what was a normal day like?

Scott: Yes, I remember a lot of people coming in and helping, and so we would go home with a friend every day. We know it was, in some ways, it was really normal.

We were—we played baseball and played sports and soccer and, you know, we'd go hang out with family, like extended family. I know there were times that we would go spend time with my aunt and uncle, which probably gave my mom a little break from just the challenges. I definitely remember being different than a lot of people around me who had a mom and a dad.

I didn't have a relationship with Jesus, so they were—you know, I knew I was angry. I didn't know who I was angry at. I know it was sad and hard for my mom. She was so young. She was 33 when my dad passed away.

Ron: How did grief get handled? I mean, so you remember seeing your mom sad, do you remember feeling that way? —your brother? Did you guys talk about dad once he had passed away? Or, I mean, how'd that go?

Scott: Yes, such a good question. The way that emotions were handled is, you know, my mom would say, "Never, never let anyone see you cry." And so, I remember, you know, two things. One was people saying, "You're now the man of the household and so you're responsible for the home." And, you know, at like six-year-old and seven-year-old someone—and they didn't, there was no like ill intent in that, but just having this weight and responsibility on me.

And then mom telling me, "Don't let people see you cry." Like, "Don't let people see weakness," which I'm like a highly emotional human being. You know, if there's any grand scale, I'm a four. In our marriage, I'm the dramatic drama queen. I'm up and down. I cry. I've got these high highs and low lows and I think I was always like that and so to have to suppress some of that. We didn't really talk about it. There was no grief counseling, no, you know, no one to come in and talk to us about it. It was just kind of like, "Hey, we got"—life moves on. We still have school and baseball and bills to pay and life kind of happens and goes on and so we never really processed it all.

Ron: You know, I'm sitting here, got my family therapist hat on, and when mom says, "Okay, here's the rule for how to do grief: Never let them see you cry." A, she's also telling you how she wants to handle her pain. B, she's telling you, "Don't let me see you cry." Inadvertently, that's isolating, I would think; isolating you guys from one another and from grieving forward together.

Scott: I think what it led to was a lack of depth in our relationship of talking about things that really matter. And, you know, I love deep relationships and deep conversations and I want to know what's going on with people. You know I've been a marriage pastor for 17 years and so I'm used to digging deep with people and love going deep myself.

When I look back on my life growing up, I think my mom did the absolute best that she could. I have no frustration, resentment. It was just a—I'd say superficial in the way that we communicated about life. And again, I don't blame her. I think she's just trying to get by and figure out how do we pay the bills and get kids to school and sign all the forms and do all the things. And so it's not a malicious thing, but we just never had a depth to our relationship.

Ron: Yes, you know, just a quick observation for the viewer and listener. It's amazing how when we all go through traumatic moments, difficult times, major, major transitions in life, the things that we're told and what we're taught, if you will, about how to cope and handle those hard moments, or even the joyful ones, sort of becomes the template for how we do life the rest of our life.

Lots of us as adults can go, "You know what, and we, and I still don't have those kind of depth conversations with my mom because we just didn't back then and even though it's a different subject now, and I'm 40, or whatever the age is, I still don't feel like I can make those sorts of connections with that person."

I don't know that that's necessarily the case for you, but here's what I'm saying to parents and stepparents. To parents, you're going, "Yes, I was a part of that process for my children or with my children, or maybe the way my former spouse helped my kids through a difficult time or didn't help them through a difficult time has really influenced who they are when they're with me."

And for you stepparents like, "Wow! This is insight into why those kids are certain ways, why they don't open up when they're sad, or why there's some rules if you will in the background that they're still abiding by and that's what they know."

And so sometimes we got to slow down instead of getting irritated with them and tell them, "Why are you doing it this way?" Or, you know, back up and go, "When did you learn that this is the way you do, you handle things like this? When did you, and what did that look like in the beginning? Do you remember when that first started starting for you?" And those sorts of probing questions sometimes help people open up, help kids open up, help you gain insight into the backstory so that you can actually, "Ah, I get it now. Now I see what that is about for you." And that just helps you connect to things that sometimes seem like they're a mystery for you.

I'm wondering, Scott, even as I was rambling there, did anything connect for you?

Scott: Well, sure. I think the way that I grew up because of what we lacked in this depth and processing, I think it's so much of what I've lacked that it's actually what I crave now, as an adult. I try to almost like I'm making up for what I was missing for so long in my life and so I didn't reproduce it in my life now. In fact, I probably went the other way, like a 180 degree turn of wanting to go deep. I don't want to be superficial. I think there's too much going on in life and too many opportunities for deep relationship. And so it's probably affected the way that I—but probably my kids at times would be like, "I wish you were a little more superficial." [Laughter] Like, "Why do you ask so many questions?

Ron: "Back off, Dad."

Scott: "Back off," yes. "I'm not going to talk to you about my, you know, who, what girls I like, or what I'm looking at." Or "I'm not going to process my sin with you." I think I'm, I so desire that because I lacked it. That is probably—I probably reacted the complete opposite way.

Ron: Oh, man, great observation. I can relate to that too. I mean, we tend to either go in the direction of things we liked about our family and relationships, or we punt and go a totally different direction [Laughter] because we didn't like it. And so, yes, again, it's just another one of those factors that's at play, even in our lives today, for all of us no matter what the backstory is.

Okay, so let's pick up the backstory. So around ten, did something change?

Scott: Yes. So probably, I don't know, it's a great question. I don't remember how old I was, but I bet I was probably nine or ten, not—probably nine. All of a sudden, this guy starts showing up at our house and his name is Bob. He actually just passed away probably six years ago, but my mom started hanging out with Bob, and Robert if you will. He was a sporting goods rep. He worked as a middleman between the sporting goods company and a manufacturers and sporting goods store.

He would start showing up and he knew how to connect with us. He was really, really great at that. He'd come to take my mom out for a date, and we didn't really know what was going on, but we just knew they were spending time together. He was best friends with our next-door neighbors. He was divorced, had a son and two daughters who were great—still have a relationship with all three of them to this day—but they started hanging out with each other. He knew he was great at connecting with us as kids and so he'd bring a football, he'd bring a frisbee, he'd bring us baseball cards.

Ron: I was going to say, sporting goods guy. He's got access to all the good stuff.

Scott: He did. He did. He knew how to connect. In fact, kind of a funny story. I'll tell a long story short, but it's important. He would always go to these sporting goods shows. And so, you know, he'd be like the middleman between call it, Nike and Dick's Sporting Goods. Nike would come out with a new product, and Dick's would want to sell it and so he would bring the new product to Dick's, say, "Here's what it is. You want to buy this number of them in this many stores."

Every year they would have these big conventions, where all the manufacturers would get together with, and just like, promote all their new stuff. And so humongous show, like, the Chicago convention center and all these big convention centers. My dad would go to these shows, and he would represent the companies, find out what's going on, come back home with like all the things everyone needs to buy at the stores.

But the coolest thing is that every show there were all these famous athletes that were there who represented the company. So, if it's 2023, Steph Curry is representing Under Armour and LeBron is representing Nike. You know, back in the day, it was all of the best and biggest athletes. And so he would come home with a stack of signed autographs for me, personalized notes that go like, "Hey Scott, I hope you have a great baseball game on Monday."

Ron: That's awesome!

Scott: You know, "You're playing the Giants," and it would be signed by Pete Rose. I mean, Marvin Hagler, all the best football players, and over the years, he just did a great job of collecting autographs for us. It was just his way of building a relationship with us and so I was like, "I don't know who this guy is, but he's bringing me footballs and baseballs and autographs and so he must be okay." He did a really good job of building a relationship with us.

Now, fast forward it turns out, [Laughter] and I found out literally in his last days of life, that he forged most of those autographs. I don't recommend lying to build a relationship with your kids.

Ron: Okay, pro tip for the listener and the viewer: don't lie. [Laughter]

Scott: Don't lie. You don't forge the autographs. It's funny, I had this kind of photo album filled with signed pictures of pictures of famous athletes all signed by my dad. I should have clued in a little bit earlier. They kind of all look the same; didn't matter what sport they played, what gender they were, how old, how young, skin color, all of the autographs look the same.

Ron: [Laughter] It all makes sense.

Scott: It all makes sense now, yes. But he did, he really did a great job of building a relationship with us, of at least just trying to win us over; which I appreciated because I was skeptical of, you know, who's this new guy in our life?

They ended up getting married. I was ten at the time. They were married for 33 years before he passed away. He had Alzheimer's and last six, seven years were really, really hard for him, for my mom. She loved him so well, so well. I would say she's the best picture of marriage I have ever seen because of the way that she sacrificially and selflessly served him. And he couldn't communicate. He got, you know, he got aggressive physically at the end because he just, he couldn't understand anything, and she still loved him so well. And yes, they were married 30, probably 33 years. He passed away about six years ago.

Ron: Okay, so I want to go back to those early days. He's bringing you stuff; you guys connected around sports; that's pretty exciting. It's kind of this energy around that. He found his connection point. One of the things we tell stepparents is, "Hey, you got to start somewhere, right?" Find the middle ground—what do you have in common?—and use that as a tool to begin to develop more middle ground with one another.

I'm curious—so you obviously were drawn to that. There was something really neat about that. I'm curious if there was another part of you that struggled to know what to do with him, where to put him, how did this, you know, how did this impact the death of your biological father? And I'm also wondering about Chris, your brother and how did that work for him?

Scott: Yes. Well, I mean, it's some of the "little things" like, "What do we call him?" You know, when they got married, do we call him dad? Do we call him stepdad? We ended up, we settled, we call him Mic, M I C. His last name is McCulloch and so we called him Mic, which was a, you know, a term of affection. But it was still like this, "Well, you are my dad kind of, but you're really not my dad," and so we had this wrestle for a long time.

My dad, my biological dad had—you know we look so similar. I wish I had a picture here with me, just even pop it on the screen. I've looked a lot like my biological dad. I look nothing like my stepdad. My biological dad had the best reputation of, you know, kind of walk in a room and everyone loves him and just a really lovable, fun guy. And you know, my stepdad isn't those things.

I didn't really know my biological dad. I just knew a lot about him and so the comparison game is definitely going on. Discipline: you know, it was hard because again, like "You're not really my dad. You are, but you're not." And so just this even debate going on in our heads all the time. And I know my brother felt very similar of like, "How do we respond rightly to him? We do want to respect him. We do want to respect my mom, but he's not our dad." And these are all the things running through our head at the time that I can still recall now, you know, 30 plus years later, 40 years later almost, of the debate that ran through our head.

Ron: Yes. Let's just sort of settle on affection as a topic and authority. So like, him, you know, discipline, what did you do with it? I mean, just sort of walk us through that because I think that inner debate that kids have that you had is very, very common and really, to be expected by every parent and stepparent who's listening or watching right now. They should expect this out of children and stepchildren, and so just tell us the journey that you went on. What did you do with it? How'd you make sense of it? Where did you—did you ultimately find some peace about it and what helped?

Scott: It's a good question; hard to remember some of it just because it is so long ago. But I remember one thing that he did really well that I appreciate looking back now, is he made sure that we treated our mom well. Most of the times I got disciplined were when I would snap back at my mom, or him. He was so protective of her which I really appreciated looking back. I probably didn't appreciate it at the time. It seemed like I would receive punishment from my mom more quickly than I would from him just because of the biological relationship.

He inconvenienced us like it—so there was some resentment that would come from like, we didn't get to spend time with, you know, I'd call it my family, which would be my dad's family. And so we're split between my dad's biological family, my mom's family, and then now his family, and I didn't like splitting time. I wanted to just spend time with my biological dad's family. And so that always led to some frustration.

My biological dad had one sister and we spent so much time with them. Then over the years that time decreased because we were now split between three families. We never had a great, like a great close bond in our relationship with my stepdad, and so it was hard to accept discipline from him when I didn't feel like we had much affection or relationship. Like I said, we connected over sports.

The other thing, I think this is relevant, is I found porn at that time. I was probably—first time I found porn was when I was seven or eight years old. And then really was full on addicted by the time I was 11 or 12. And so I had all of this; wasn't a believer, didn't become a follower of Christ until I was 24. But I still knew there was something wrong with what I was doing. And so, found porn, started living out everything I found whether it was magazines, videos. Nobody ever had the talk with me; nobody told me it was wrong; nobody did the birds and bees. I knew it was wrong, but we never had that conversation.

Ron: Didn't have any guidance and so that was isolating, I would imagine for you. You kind of knew this wasn't right. You had some shame about it. Is that the right word?

Scott: So much shame.

Ron: And so you were hiding in your shame, but there was nobody to really connect to which probably just added to the "He's fun, but he's still not my dad. I'm not really close with him. I can't really trust myself to him" feeling that you had with him.

Scott: Yes. Yes, my, the sex talk was, you know, "Hey, when you go out with a girl, make sure you use a condom. Don't get her pregnant." And that was my, that was literally my entire sex talk. And I lived out everything I saw in pornography and there was so much deep shame. Even though I was not a follower of Christ, I'm like, "There's something wrong with these behaviors," and just did whatever; whatever I saw, I lived out.

And that affected me for a long time—you know, through my early twenties. Before I went into counseling and got into community within the body of Christ, I carried that deep shame with me and probably had some resentment looking back, that, "Why didn't anyone tell me? Why didn't my mom and dad tell me this was wrong? Why didn't they help me?"

It has affected the way that I parent my kids. That, you know, we're making sure that we're going to talk through these things consistently, regularly, in a loving way. And it's been really sweet the way that we have, you know, kind of learned from what I grew up with to say we're going to do things really different in our family. And I'm really grateful for the relationship I have with my boys with that.

Ron: Yes. Scott, I really appreciate you sharing about that. Here's my reflection for those that are watching or listening. Anything—it doesn't have to be pornography, but anything that sort of serves as a point of shame for a child, or it could just be "I feel like their identity is undeveloped. They don't really see themselves as valuable or worthwhile. There's a sense of, 'I don't know how lovable I am.'"

I mean, every kid goes through that whole journey. Anything like that that leads a child to withdraw. I mean, at the end of the day, that's what is going to take them is away from us. Less movement toward us as parent figures and more movement away. isolation, not sharing or opening up, but being more closed. And so you may be a stepparent going, "Man, I don't know what it is. This kid just will never open up to me." I don't know. Maybe there's something going on in their world that has nothing to do with you, but it has everything to do with you because they just don't know how to move toward you with that.

It could be a biological son or daughter that's going through the same thing. Sometimes kids are more open in one household than they are in another for half a dozen reasons, and you just sort of get the short end of that stick and it's frustrating. Well, okay again, refocus; it might not be so much about you. Don't assume it's rejection. Instead, try to move toward the child in whatever moments you have knowing that you don't even know what you're shooting at, right? You don't even know what's there and so it's hard.

Back to your question of, "Why didn't they ever have the talk to me?" It just sort of goes, yes, in the normal course of parenting, we do have to talk about sex with our kids. We do have to talk about friends and bullying and, you know, a ton of things that are moral issues. And you might just happen upon one of the things that they're really struggling with in the process of doing that. Don't be afraid to try to move toward that part of them, but understand they have to wrestle with it to some degree, or they might not move toward you.

I'm just trying to sum up what I'm hearing so far, Scott. I'm hearing he was fun; something he did right when he connected with you guys that you enjoyed sharing with him. At the same time, he wasn't your dad, and so that affected affection that you might show or demonstrate to him. It influenced the choice of term you used to refer to him, and it certainly impacted receiving his authority or discipline in your life. There were some challenges there. So, you may not remember a moment, and really, I think for a lot of kids, there's not a moment. There's just sort of, "I wake up one day and I'm somehow okay with this person in my life." Did that happen for you?

Scott: Yes, for sure. Well, I'd say two things: one along the way, and then one as I look back. Along the way, one thing I saw my dad do really well, stepdad do really well, is the way he loved my mom. And then he because he was on his own for a few years, he learned to do everything on his own. He would—he cooked, did laundry, took care of the house, the car, the yard, vacuumed. There was no job that was beneath him. There was no job that was a woman's job. There was no job that was for her to do and not for me to do. He did everything and I remember.

I mean, that affects me now looking back and seeing, "Okay, there's not stuff that Kristen does, my wife, and there's stuff that I do. There's stuff that we do. She might do it more often than me because I have a full-time job where I get paid. She's a stay-at-home work mom, works part time, but we do things together. And so I learned a lot from my stepdad in that, you know, there's work that takes place in the home and you both do it.

I love that mentality that that I grew up with a—you know, I don't want to, we don't need to get into all the whole theological debate of complementarian and egalitarian and all that. I still believe I'm the leader of our home, but we split up the job. It's our work to do together so I'm very thankful for that.

And then I think where the light bulb came on was when I became a follower of Jesus and I looked back and I said, "They messed up at times and they didn't do things perfectly." I really do believe they love us. You know, my mom loves us. My stepdad loved us. They did the best that they could in spite of the challenges of, you know, my stepdad had two new sons to love and to raise and he still had a biological son and still had two biological daughters. He had the challenges of navigating co-parenting with his ex, who was really, really difficult at times. And he was dealing with the hurts from his three biological children because mom and dad got divorced.

When I look back, I am just so much more sympathetic and empathetic to the challenges that they walked through; that you know they'd go—and they didn't do it perfect. I don't do it perfect and so I could show some grace and really be grateful and not just focus on all the things that they did incorrectly or could have done better. I think, I think they really did do the best they could.

Ron: You mentioned his kids. I'm curious. How was your stepsibling relationship? Were they around your age? How'd that connection go?

Scott: Yes, they're all a little bit—so my brother's three years younger than me. And then my stepsiblings are probably anywhere from five to fifteen years older and so we never grew up in the same home. They were—they lived with their mom. And then my stepbrother was already out of the house by the time they got divorced, but my stepdad and his first wife so we never lived in the same home together. We spent time together on holidays and that's it. We, I would not say we've ever been close.

Ron: Okay.

Scott: And then I moved away to go to college when I was 18 and I've been away, far away, from New Jersey for 32 years now. We'll still keep up on social media. We'll still text. And they're great. There's no animosity, no broken relationship or frustration. I would just say we don't have a really deep relationship with each other, but again, I'm so grateful for who they are and for the relationship we have. It's just not a really deep relationship. I know it could have been a whole lot worse. I'm thankful just for who they are and the relationships we have.

Ron: As I'm listening to you, I'm thinking we've had a number of people write into our ministry and say, "Okay, we've got, you know, adult children, young adult children; they don't spend a lot of time together. We really want them to think of each other as family. What can we do to fix all that?" I always tell them, well, first off, it's not up to you. They have to find their authentic, genuine connections, and some of them will have more interest in developing those relationships than others. But as somebody who's walked that path, what would you say to a parent who's anxious about it for the stepchildren and stepsiblings?

Scott: Yes, that's a great question. I would say almost exactly what you said, Ron, that you can't force it. You can't make us have a relationship with them. We all have our own lives, we're busy, we're—and again, we were older. It's not like we grew up in the same home together. I think that brings some additional challenges and opportunities that we didn't have. I really am okay with the level of relationship we have. We're thousands of miles apart, it would be difficult to maintain a really strong relationship and so I don't have any heartache over that.

And every family is going to be different on what the dynamics look like, how much time they get together, but I know they definitely could not force it to happen, especially given where we all live geographically now.

Ron: Yes, man, that's it. I just would echo that for that anxious parent and just say, "Look, I get it. Of course, you want that relationship to be strong for all the kids but recognize that's more your need than it is their need. And you can't force your needs on them. They're not going to satisfy your need for you. That's something you've got to just relax about, and they'll figure it out. They'll navigate the space as best they can. And in your case, you obviously have a fondness for them, and you know, an appreciation for who they have been in your life, even though you would say you're not necessarily close. That's okay.

Scott: Yes, yes.

Ron: Okay, so, Scott, looking back, sorry about the loss of your biological father, sorry about the loss of Bob. I mean, they both seem to have influence, significant influence, especially over time with Bob in your life, and there's things about you that are different because of him. And you know, that just speaks to the role he's played in your life.

Just look back over the process; do you have any thoughts that just sort of wrap it up for you or sum it up? What would you say about that journey?

Scott: Yes, so I'd say a couple things. That's a deep question. I really do believe and trust in the sovereignty of God. And so, I believe that, you know, my father passing away at a young age, my mom remarrying my stepdad, us moving to Pennsylvania, which led to, again, long story short here, led to me meeting somebody who went to Wake Forest University in North Carolina and me going to school for undergrad at Wake. When I was in school at undergrad at Wake, met a guy when I volunteered at a hospital who shared the gospel with me. I met Will through my time at Wake.

And would that all have happened if I grew up in a home where mom and dad were still married for the rest of their lives? God can do whatever He wants to do. He would have brought somebody in at any point.

Ron: That's right.

Scott: But the dots are connected now as I look back and there were some really hard moments along the way. My one memory of my biological dad is, we went to go see Spider Man. We didn't go see him, like not the movie. We went to some park, and there was a guy dressed up as Spider Man.

Ron: Wow.

Scott: And every time I see Spider Man, I still cry to this day.

Ron: Wow.

Scott: Because it makes me think of him. Not every time, but it's hard for me to separate the two of them. There were hard things. For years, I think about my poor mom who had to do so much to raise us. And for her to love again, knowing that her new husband could die as well, which he did. You know my mom has walked through some really hard times. There's been a lot of challenges. That's where the—and my biggest problems in life come from growing up without a dad and just the hurt that's come through that. I still think God is good and I trust Him wholeheartedly. I really believe He's a good and kind God even in the midst of the pain and the challenges that come with our unique blended family that I grew up in, so yes.

Ron: That's really good, Scott. Listen, I appreciate you sharing with our viewers, our listeners, and laying that out for them. People walk in through life, day in and day out. We're wondering how our kids are experiencing the world that we are exposing them to, carrying them through and you've done a great job sharing your story with us. I appreciate it very much. Thanks for being here.

Scott: Thank you, Ron. I appreciate you.

Ron: If you our viewer or listener want to know more about Scott and the ministry that he's involved in, check out the show notes. We'll get you connected.

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I'd love to see you in an event that's coming up, especially if you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Make plans to be part of the live audience for Blended and Blessed on Saturday, April 27th. It's going to be in McKinney. It's a suburb of the Dallas area. And for all of you who don't live in the DFW area, you and your church can host this annual livestream for blended family couples for just 99 bucks. So, get it on your calendar; check the show notes for more information.

Okay, next time on FamilyLife Blended, women's ministry leader and author Rachel Faulkner Brown was widowed twice before age 30. We're going to talk with her and her husband Rod about their blended family journey. That's next time on FamilyLife Blended.

I'm Ron Deal. Thanks for listening. And thank you to our production team and donors who make this podcast possible.

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