FamilyLife Blended® Podcast

134: Being a Stepparent: Is it a Blessing?

with Cheryl Shumake | March 25, 2024
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Are there blessings in blended family life? Yes! But they might not show up in ways we expect or as quickly as we’d like. In this 2023 Blended & Blessed presentation, Cheryl Shumake talks about the many bonus blessings she has experienced and the strength God gave her during seasons of weariness to keep going when she wanted to quit.

Cheryl says, “God meets us in the waiting to strengthen us for the walking.” God wants to guide our steps when we face challenges. He knows that our convictions of creating long-term relationships can waver when weariness sets in. But our biggest blessings are waiting for us in the later years if we persevere.

  • 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

Are there blessings in blended family life? Yes! But perhaps not in the early years. In this 2023 Blended & Blessed presentation, Cheryl Shumake talks about how God gave her strength during seasons of weariness and rewarded her efforts with blessings.

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134: Being a Stepparent: Is it a Blessing?

With Cheryl Shumake
March 25, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Cheryl Shumake:When we are toiling away at something day after day, month after month, week after week, year after year, with no discernible progress, weariness will set in. We will get tired; and if it does set in, our conviction will waver. This is what David is saying. Here's the answer to weariness: wait on the Lord through the differences, through the misunderstandings, through the ugliness of some things that I know I experienced, like guilt, and competition, and jealousy, and hurt, and pain. Wait on the Lord through all of that because God meets us in the waiting to strengthen us for the walking.

Ron Deal:Welcome to theFamilyLife Blendedpodcast. I'm Ron Deal. We help blended families, and those who love them, pursue the relationships that matter most.

Boy, are you in for a treat. You may know that we are one month away from our next worldwide livestream event calledBlended and Blessed. This is a one-day marriage enrichment event that we have done now for a number of years. It is specifically designed for couples and blended families. You can tend from anywhere. It's a livestream, right; doesn't matter where you are. And if your clock doesn't work well with our clock, you can watch it in your own time at your own convenience. It's really a great event.

You can also host the event for other couples in your church or community. Make it very easy for groups to do that; just go toBlendedandBlessed.comto learn all about it and to sign up. The show notes will help you get connected.

Well, in this episode ofFamilyLife Blended, you're going to hear a presentation given at last year'sBlended and Blessedlivestream by author and speaker Cheryl Shumake.

She will be back with us again this next year, 2024, so we'd love to have you join us. Our theme in 2023 was Living Blessed. We had presentations on how the Sermon on the Mount applied to blended family living, on how you can build a blessed marriage, and how you can give your children a blessing that will stay with them throughout life.

Then I asked Cheryl to speak on bonus blessings. That was her topic: Bonus blessings—bonus kids, bonus parents, bonus family members. Well, they can all bring blessings to our lives. Sometimes they bring challenges, but there's also an opportunity there. And so, how do we navigate that? And how do we navigate that in faithfulness? That was Cheryl's topic.

Cheryl is a certified Master Life Coach, Stepfamily Educator, and founder and director of Stepmom Sanity, a Christ-centered circle of support for stepmoms. She's the author of four books, includingWaiting to be Wanted: A Stepmom's Guide to Loving Before Being Loved, which I highly recommend by the way.

Cheryl is a biological mom of one. She's a bonus mom of three. She's been married since 2008 to her husband, Jonathan. They live in Michigan. You'll have to look up some of our other episodes of this podcast because we've interviewed her before, especially about her book. So take a look; get all you can from Cheryl Shumake.
Here's Cheryl speaking at the 2023 Blended and Blessed livestream.

[Recorded Message]

Cheryl Shumake:Well, good morning, everyone. Good morning. Good morning. I am a worshiper of God so the very first thing I want to do is just take a moment and just thank God. Would you join me in doing that here, and live with us, and those of you who are at home? Just take a moment and thank God for setting a table and bringing all of us together where we can be loved on, and we can be encouraged, and we can be reminded that God is for our families. Would you just bless His name with me? [Clapping] He is so worthy of honor and glory.

I also want to take a moment and just thank Ron and Nan Deal, and Gayla Grace, and the entire FamilyLife Blended team for inviting Jonathan and I to serve alongside them this weekend; and thank Ron and Nan and Gayla as well for setting the foundation on which the Holy Spirit is going to build for the rest of the day. I was telling my husband that we are all over each other's messages. We have not talked about this and so that's how you know that God is in something when you find that others are speaking on the same thing. It is amazingly awesome to hear that.

I also want to thank the man who is the man of the hour for most of the hours in my life. My husband Jonathan Shumake is here with me this weekend. [Clapping] Yes, thank you so very much. He is a beloved gift. He is a gift to us. The personification of his name truly. He has a cultivating kind of love and I have just thrived as his wife and so I'm so grateful to the Lord for this man. About 11 days ago or so, we celebrated our 15th Wedding anniversary. [Clapping] So yes, clap for 15 because listen, these years work like dog years. Y'all know that the struggle is so real. Every one year you have been married as a couple in a blended family is like five years as a couple with a tradi—

As a matter of fact, how many of you have been married 20 years or more that's here or that's joining us virtually? You can just like wave your hand and—look at this. This is so wonderful. I just want to encourage you right now before we get started— [Clapping] Yes, clap for them as well. They show up every day. I just want to encourage you before we even get started. The next anniversary you all celebrate 20 years or more will be your 161st wedding anniversary. You all are winning. You're winning.

Jonathan and I have a his and hers, and hers combination of four children. Our oldest is the bonus daughter his former spouse brought to their marriage. And then the next one down is my bio daughter with my former spouse. And then his bio daughter and son from his former spouse. We are also the grandparents of a 14-month-old grandbaby. Yes. [Clapping] I have to tell y'all the unadulterated pleasure I get from lavishing love and affection and stuff on a kid that we have no parental responsibility for is criminal. It is criminal. And I own every little bit of it. I want to tell you; I own it all.

After 15 years of struggle and shared memories and history and hard times and good times, we have found our rhythm as a blended family, and that feels really good. I just kind of want to talk to you a little bit about that today.

On January 1st of this year, my daughter Kayla turned 30 years old. When she was about four years old, I took this animal loving, future program director to the grocery store as we all have occasion to do with our children. We're standing in front of the meat counter, and I am looking at the ground beef and the loins and the steak and she is staring intently at this meat. She looks at the meat and then she looks at me. She looks at the meat and she looks at me. I can almost hear the wheels spinning in her head that somehow, this dead carcass in the freezer is her long-lost friend, and she is getting ready to set her mother all the way straight.

So she takes two steps back from me to the center of the aisle, because, you know, why not? And she lifts her little finger in the air in a voice that guarantees absolutely nobody in the grocery store will miss her announcement. She yells,“I am never eating meat again!”

Now, I want to tell you, I could care less about this kid doing this kind of stuff because by the time she was four years old, I had been used to this. I was used to the looks. I was used to the thought bubbles over people's head, “I'm so glad that's not my kid.” [Laughter] I was used to all of that. But what I did care about was my daughter becoming a person who made decisions after careful consideration and not based on emotional reaction.

So what I said to her was, “Kayla, cheeseburger is made from meat.” She looks at me, she looks at the meat, she looks at me, and she says, “Except for cheeseburgers, I am never eating meat again!” [Laughter] True story, true story. Needless to say, she is a meat-loving, animal-loving program director today.

But what does this have to do with being blessed in our bonus? I'm telling you that is the question that I asked as I prayed, and I was asking the Lord, what did He want me to deposit this weekend into the hearts of His people whom He loves so very much. This was the recollection that came up and I kind of turned it over and I dug through it and said, “Well Lord, what does it have to do with it?” And then this thought took hold: Kayla had every intention on being a lifelong vegetarian and all it took was one small challenge to her comfort for all of her conviction to fall to the ground.

If you were to ask any couple leading a blended family about living in that family, they will eventually, if not immediately, get to the challenges because we have plenty of them. And what happens is when we focus on the challenges, unfortunately, they begin to eclipse the joy of coming together and they weaken our perseverance.

And in a family setting, in a dynamic that is rife with all kinds of issues, like high conflict bio moms, and insider outsider situations, and financial issues because of child support, and feeling like you're disregarded in the home, and it is easy to start off at the altar saying, “I am never leaving this family. I am never stopping reaching in and being committed,” and then amend that later to “except for this,” “except for that,” “except for that, I am not.” And so I want to talk to you a little bit about an exception that I believe if we hold on to, it will escort us through those challenges so that we too can celebrate our 175th wedding anniversary.

Let's pray real quick.

Father, I do thank you for the opportunity to serve your people whom you love so greatly. Thank you for interrupting business as usual and bringing us all together. And I thank you as well for disrupting the plans of the enemy, Lord God. May every heart receive what you have for us this weekend, Lord God, and be blessed by it and carry it out into our, into our future days, Lord. We thank you for that. I ask that you use me. I just move out of the way, Lord, and I ask that you have your way. In Jesus name. Amen.

Thank you all so very much.

Paul wrote in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul encourages us. He's encouraging us to kind of anchor our commitment to something a little more steady than our emotions, because when we are toiling away at something day after day, month after month, week after week, year after year, with no discernible progress, weariness will set in. We will get tired; and if it does set in, our conviction will waver.

But where Paul generalizes, David personalizes, and this is why I just love the Psalms so very much. He writes in Psalms 27:13, “I would have lost heart,”—and I'm just going to use my own vernacular. I would have given up. I would have thrown in the towel. I would have turned off the lights. I would have noped my way out of these very hard and constricting places in my family—if “I had not believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

I'm a very visual student of the Word of God so I can almost see David sitting at a table and he's rehearsing, he's tracing the history of God's goodness and faithfulness in his life. I can hear him or see him remembering and recalling how God held him in turmoil and transgressed him through some things. And he takes pen to scroll, and he writes the next verse. “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He will strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

This is what David is saying. Here's the answer to weariness. Wait on the Lord through the differences, through the misunderstandings, through the ugliness of some things that I know I experienced, like guilt and competition and jealousy and hurt and pain.

Wait on the Lord through all of that because God meets us in the waiting to strengthen us for the walking. Amen. He meets us in the waiting, and He reminds us there that He has goodness and blessing, if you will, for us despite our bonus status—not so much, but because of our bonus status, definitely. And those blessings are active in your life right now.

However, more often than we would like, blessings come wrapped in things that are unacceptable. They come wrapped in obstacles. They come wrapped in uncontrollable and unfixable issues. They come wrapped in our Savior's cross. It is quite difficult to perceive goodness and blessing when pain speaks so very loud. I can imagine John and Mary at the foot of Jesus’ cross and they were not perceiving this as blessing. They were not perceiving His cross as goodness.

Like most of you here, and joining us virtually, Jonathan and I approached our marriage with a lot of hope and a lot of expectation and a lot of commitment to building a foundation on which we could build a family legacy. We wanted the blessing of a lifelong union. We say every year, “50 more years to go.” We wanted the blessing of breaking the curse of divorce, but we did not realize that those blessings would be realized through dynamics that would make a lot of people want to cut and run. And unfortunately, a lot of people do.

Blended families today have a divorce rate that's ten to fifteen percent higher than those married in traditional families, but we didn't want to be one of them. A lot of people are throwing in the towel. We didn't want to be one of them, and we don't want you to be one of them either.

So we took The Smart Stepfamilies to the person who was marrying us, and we asked that person to do our premarital counseling around the principals that are inThe Smart Stepfamily. We had our children come into the counseling as well. They had their own sessions. We invited them to be a part of our wedding. So imagine my surprise— because I thought I did everything right, right?—but imagine my surprise when I found out that I was not as prepared for being a bonus mom as I thought I would be. Because there is a huge chasm between what we know in theory and what we experience in life.

Theory is just an exercise in supposition, but real experience will have you on the ground. It will have you balled up on the floor if we're being honest. We do not get to a hundred and ninety years of marriage by theory. We get there by blood, sweat, tears, prayers, and on the job training. I want to talk to you about what I learned on the job.

One of the first things I learned as a bonus mom is that to my bonus kids, I was a to taste item, and let me explain this just a little bit. There are, when you are following a recipe, there are some items in the recipe that are imperative to that recipe being what it is.

For instance, spaghetti and meatballs would not be without the spaghetti or the meatballs. Typically listed at the end of a recipe, there is what is called ingredients that are to taste. You add these to taste, which means you add them to your level of tolerance, which is subjective and can change each and every time. These to taste items make the dish pop, but they do not make the dish. They add flavor, they engage the senses, but they are expendable.

If we're going to extend this analogy to blended families, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, bio mom, bio dad, bio grandma, bio grandpa, essential. Those are must haves. Bonus you, bonus me, we are to taste. When you are used to, as I was, being a central figure in your home. Realizing that you are not essential to people who now live in your home is gut wrenching, to say the least. Being bonus can make you feel expendable.

As bonus people, you and I are granted influence, and we are granted this by permission. We are granted essentiality, but we are granted that by invitation. What is implied with biological family must be offered to bonus family members. It will likely only be offered after we have spent time, lots of time, sometimes years, building trust in relationship, and being consistent in erratic environments, and honoring loss and grief while at the same time we are creating opportunities for connection, discerning when to lean in and when to step back.

When you think about it, it is a daunting task, yet God has given us an amazing opportunity to see His miraculous power at work every single day in our families. That being said, although it is daunting, you and I have been prepared. We've been prepared. We've been prepared by our experiences, and we have been positioned. We have been positioned by the grace of God.

You and I, although we may be to taste to our bonus children, we are pivotal to God's continuing story in their lives. We are the catalyst, you and I, through which God wants to bless our families. We are there to make a God sized difference in the lives of our families, not necessarily because they lack, but because God is good, and His love is lavish, and you are an expression of His love to His family. And you need to just clap right there and thank God for that. [Clapping] You are an expression of God's love to your family.

Another struggle I wrestled with was misplaced blame. Since I was so acutely aware that my blended family could not function as a typical family, as a traditional family, a nuclear family if you will, in my thinking every issue became because we were a blended family. My teenage daughter wanted to hang out with her boyfriend instead of us. It was because we were a bonus family. My teenage son made my eyes twitch. It was because, [Laughter] it was because he was my stepson, not because he kept his room like a trash heap, and I could not stand it. It was not that at all.

That kind of thinking, it kept authenticity—that's the word—authenticity at bay because I feared that my honest emotions meant something was wrong with my family. And it put pressure on my family to be other than who they were, what God wanted them to be. Listen, the blend is not to blame for every issue experienced in your family. Some challenges are simply the price of admission to the human condition. That's all it is. You don't like your teenager because they're moody, not because they're your bonus teenager. And you and your husband have parenting differences, not necessarily because you're a blended family, but because you were raised by different parents.

It really is just that simple, and once I stopped blaming my family for the challenges that we face, that subtle fear that we could not find our way to being a bonded family, it sort of lost its hold on me and we could breathe. It was okay to not like each other all the time. It was okay to not want to be together all the time. It was okay, even preferable, if you will, to be real—to be real Cheryl, real Jonathan, real all the kids. And it's the same for your family.

Without blame ringing in my head and unrealistic expectations clouding my judgment, my thinking kind of cleared up, and it made it easier for me to love my family. All that other stuff, it was keeping me from emotional connection, but once all that stuff kind of cleared up in my head, I realized that love is a choice. Biblical love is a decision. It is not based on an emotion. It's based on a choice.

That means that I could choose to be patient. I could choose to be gentle and to believe the best about my family members. I could love in action and in truth like the Bible says in 1 John 3:18. Lacking connection, I could still do love. Lacking emotional intimacy, we can still do love. Lacking affection even, we can still do love. We are not enslaved to our emotions. We're not; we feel them, we deal with them, we acknowledge them, but we are not dominated by them.

And neither are we held to stereotypes that say that we have cruel stepmoms, and we have ineffective fathers, and we're not fated to statistics that tell us we're more likely than not to divorce. We can hope. We can stand flat footed. We can stand confident because God does not leave us ill equipped. The Word says that He works in us both a desire and an ability to accomplish His good pleasure. His love has been smeared all over our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are loved. We have love. We have His ability and therefore we can love.

Now, of course, we also have some things working against all of that and I know that I did in my family. All of our desire to love, all of our desire to obey God, I had some obstacles to those things. To be consistent I needed to learn how to get over something that was very, very effective in keeping me from consistency, and that was offense.

John Bevere called offense “the bait of Satan.” It is used to trap us in cycles of sin and cycles of suspicion and distrust and always rehearsing past hurts, and always ready to defend ourselves, and always looking for reasons to stay offended. You ever deal with a person who's offended with you? Nothing you do is good enough. If you give them a million dollars, they would say, “Why didn't you give me two? Why wasn't it wrapped in a bow? Why wasn't it tied up? Why wasn't it pretty? Why didn't it come with coffee?” You will never be able to satisfy offense, because it's an accusing spirit, and accusing spirits are hungry. They're absolutely never satisfied.

And I found ample opportunity to be offended and to my shame, I acted accordingly. So, I started praying and the only prayer I could come up with was, “Lord, help me.” Can anybody, [Laughter] can anybody attest that sometimes that's all you got, is “Lord, help me.” But thank God that often that is all that you need. And God showed me in His Word. He gave me some principles to help me recover from offense and avoid its trap in the future.

One of the things He said is to do good, just simply that; do good even if you don't feel like doing good. Another thing that the Lord told me to do was to starve strife. Don't add to the arguments, just stop arguing and don't defend yourself. Another thing that the Lord told me to do was that I could still correct behavior, but I would just address behavior without attacking the person.

I remember one time I was going to say something to one of my bonus children and she had done something, I felt disrespected, and I was stomping my way to her room. “I'm going to deal with this.” And along the way, the Lord told me, “I want you to approach her with humility.” “You want me to do what?” You know, I'm the adult; she's the child. She did this; we're going to deal with this. And the Lord said, “I want you to approach her with humility.” I did and it set the tone for what has now become, some 14 years later, a connected relationship. But I had to reach in with humility.

Also, the Lord told me to make allowances. My goodness, just forgive without expectation of an apology. We receive so much mercy from the throne. We can ill afford to not give it, to withhold it from others.

Then the Lord told me to tear down my walls but keep my fences. In other words, hold good boundaries, right? But don't lock yourself behind walls so that you can, you can connect emotionally to your family.

If I could sum all of that up in one word, it would be grace. Give yourself grace and give your family grace because grace opens the door to acceptance and peace in your family. Grace helps us honor the humanity of others without demanding that they do the same for us. Giving grace frees us from idolatry because it keeps us from looking to other people to do in us what only God can do.

If we try to get our significance from someone other than our Heavenly Father, we have turned that person into an idol and people cannot handle the weight of worship. Children, kids especially, cannot handle the weight of worship. I know I can't. I'm just way too disappointing. I cannot handle the weight of worship.

This bonus life for me, it sometimes felt isolating; I'll be honest with you. And it sometimes felt shameful, especially in the church. But the truth is, we're living a cultural norm. We are one third of marriages performed today, even in the church, create a blended family so you are not weird. You are not different. You are not dysfunctional. Your family isn't tragic. You're a cultural norm.

But as people who have now exchanged our citizenship from a kingdom that governs this culture to the kingdom of God, we are a cultural norm with a kingdom assignment. There is more to this than meets the eye. God has deliberately deposited each of you in your families for kingdom outcomes and there are blessings associated with this and I'm only going to give you three. I'm only going to give you three.

The first is the blessing of purpose, and we kind of talked about this a little bit before. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We are his workmanship. Babe, if you—here it is, the authority of Scripture, your wife is a piece of work. We all are, actually. We are masterpieces of work. We are masterpieces of God's work. And we have a mission. And that mission has eternal implications. It came from an eternal God for us to operate in history and it will speak to eternity.

And that includes your blended family. God placed you in your family so that His presence and His activity would be expressed in your family; that they could be drawn to Him. You are God's choice for your family and your family is God's choice for you. You are heaven's hero for your family, and it's a good work you're doing.

Jesus said in John 15:16, “You didn't choose me. I chose you and appointed you that you may go and bear fruit.” You have been appointed to your family to bear fruit. Every day that you show up, every day that you plant seeds of commitment, that you plant seeds of love and patience and forgiveness, the things that no one sees but heaven records, every day, as my mentor says, “You are in purpose on His purpose.” And that is a blessing.

The next blessing I want to share with you is the blessing of progression. Knowing technique, knowing best practices, knowing principles, even knowing scripture, it's not enough. We need the power of God to show up in our families. We need the grace of God to show up in our families because only the power of God can make something beautiful out of the dysfunction of our brokenness. And for that, we must shift our focus from the dynamics, from the challenges, from the people to the king. And when we do that, something wondrous happens.

The Bible tells us Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18. I hope you all are writing all these scriptures down because Lord knows I can't remember them all right now. But 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being changed into that image with ever increasing glory. This which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

For those of us who look to Jesus as our future hope, and our present help, and our example of how to live faithfully in challenging circumstances, we are being transformed to look more like Him, to act more like Him, to think more like Jesus. We are maturing; we are growing up in Christ; we are reflecting Him to our sphere of influence.
God uses both the practical and the biblical approaches that we take to conform us to the image of Jesus by His Spirit.

The greatest outcome for our families is not how our families’ dynamics change. That is not the greatest outcome. It is not that my children accept me or see me or that they call me Mom or call my husband Dad. That is not the greatest outcome. The greatest outcome in our family is how God changes our heart. What Paul is simply saying here is that the more we surrender our pride and invite God into our struggles and look to Jesus, the more His image clarifies in us.

God always does more in us than He does through and for us. His primary work is the work that is done in our heart, and He uses our blended families to conform us to His heart. Jesus becomes our identity and every other role we have is then modified by who He is in our lives. He lives through us. He expresses Himself through our personality. He expresses Himself through the things that we do and the things that we say. He expresses himself in the ways that we show up and we are progressively changed and that is a blessing. Can we clap on that? [Clapping]

The final blessing that I want to talk to you about today—because there's so many more. Like I said, there's a blessing of presence, the blessing of ability, the blessing of privilege. There's just so many more blessings that we can talk about being in our blended family. But the one I want to end on today is the blessing of pronouncement.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “These little troubles are getting us ready.” This is the CSV translation. “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all of our troubles seem like nothing.” The hard, unyielding places in our families, the things that we experience in our bonus lives, the sometimes-disconcerting nature of our blended coupleness, all of it is a setup. The trouble is a setup for the glory that is coming. What Paul is saying here, simply, I'm going to say it again in my vernacular, the juice is worth the squeeze. What you get out of it is worth more than what you got to go through in it.

Jesus endured the cross and He despised the shame for a reason; for the joy of sitting at the right hand of God the Father, for the joy of you and I being reconciled to the Father, for the joy of us standing here today in worship and adoration to Him. There was a reason for that. There was a reason for the cross.

Listen, no one here, not Ron, not Gayla, not myself, no one here can guarantee the outcomes of your family. There are just too many factors. There are too many personalities. There are too many dynamics. There are too many cross purposes. And you can only control you. I can only control me. And if we're being honest, we will admit, that's barely. That is not, [Laughter] that is not a guarantee that I will be under control always. Love works. Love does work, but it's sometimes rejected.

The Word of God works. The Word of God does work, but sometimes the heart just is not receptive to the Word of God. The tools that we are given, the practical skills that we build, those things work, but not with infallibility, because we are imperfect people who deal with other imperfect people.

But one thing can be guaranteed. One day, you and I will not be bonus moms and bonus dads. We will not be husbands and wives. We will not even be moms and dads. One day, you and I will simply be sons and daughters, servants and redeemed ones, standing before the throne of God. And we will present all of our work, the things that we struggle through, the things that we pray through, the things that we cry through, the things that we hurt through, and we will present those to the Father. They will pass through the fire of His judgment, and out will come precious stone, and gold, and silver.

Then the scarred over hands of our Savior will take those things, and He will fashion a crown. And He will put yours on your head and He will put mine on my head and we will hear a voice thunder from the throne of heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” That day is being written today. It is for that day that we endure. It is for that day that we pray. It is for that day that we stay. It is for that day that we show up. The blessing of the smile on my Savior's face, the welcome into His kingdom, the well done that I will hear, the pronouncement of blessing is a blessing and that is what we're living for today.

I just want to take a moment and just pray into your lives.

Father, I thank you for the families that are represented here and all across the world that's gathering for this Blended and Blessed. Lord, sometimes bonus gets hard. It can feel that we're expendable. It can feel like we don't matter, but Lord, we know that we matter to you, and we are right where we're supposed to be.

You are a sovereign God who has led us to where we are. You've ordered our steps, Lord God, and we are here, and we commit this day to keep showing up, to lean on your Spirit, to look to You for help because we know that You will help. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for enabling us. Thank you, Lord God, for blessing these marriages.


Ron Deal:You've been listening to Cheryl Shumake from the 2023 Blended and Blessed Livestream. Cheryl will be joining Nan and I, Gayla Grace, and Gil and Brenda Stuart in McKinney, Texas on Saturday, April 27th, 2024, for our next Blended and Blessed Livestream. We'd love to have you join the live audience if you live anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But if not, it's okay. It's not a problem. Join us online. The show notes will link you to our website and tell you how you can host this event for a small group in your home if you want or a large group in your church. That would be amazing.

If you haven't subscribed to the FamilyLife Blended podcast yet, you can do so on YouTube. Yes, we have video on YouTube of all of our podcasts now, or you can just use your favorite audio podcast app. Or there's a third option. You can listen through the FamilyLife® app and get access to bonus material for your relationships and for your home.

Hey, if this podcast or our ministry is serving your family, let me ask you to maybe do one of two things. One, share a resource with a friend so they can benefit as you have. Or second, donate to FamilyLife Blended so we can reach somebody else. Doesn't have to be much; a little bit goes a long way; every dollar counts. We really do appreciate it.

Okay, next time, we're going to be sharing a conversation I had with Kim Walker-Smith, the lead worship singer of Jesus Culture. It's so encouraging. I think it's one of our best podcasts ever. Please don't miss it. 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.

FamilyLife Blended is part of the FamilyLife Podcast Network. Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.




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