FamilyLife Blended® Podcast

137: Broken: Help for Family Problems

with Elisa Morgan | May 6, 2024
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God understands broken people. He sent His son to die for us. Even when we feel beyond help, He meets us where we are, He loves us, and He redeems us. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and our guide. In our messiness, God wants to use our stories and our brokenness to minister to others.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

Blended families often feel broken. But Elisa Morgan says, “God loves the broken. In our brokenness, we are just where we need to be—fractured, messed up, sinful, needy, … and redeemable.” Listen to Elisa’s talk on the beauty of broken.

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137: Broken: Help for Family Problems

With Elisa Morgan
May 06, 2024

FamilyLife Blended Podcast

References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete.

Season 6, Episode 137: Broken: Help for Family


Guest: Elisa Morgan

Air Date: May 06, 2024

Elisa: I come from a broken family. When I was five years old, my dad called me into

his home office. He turned my shoulders towards himself, and he looked straight into

my eyes, and he said, “Elisa, I've decided I don't love your mother anymore, and we're

going to get a divorce.” And as many five-year-old children do, I wondered what I had

done to cause it.

And you know what I've learned? I'm not alone. Because there is no such thing as a

perfect family. And in our brokenness, we are just where we need to be…fractured,

messed up, sinful, needy, redeemable.

Ron: Welcome to the FamilyLife Blended podcast. I'm Ron Deal. We help blended

families, and those who love them, pursue the relationships that matter most.

Hey, this month, we’re launching a new premium offer to our podcast listeners and

viewers. I'll tell you all about it in just a minute, but first, I got to know. Were you there

last Saturday? You know, Blended and Blessed. Just last Saturday, we had thousands

of couples all around the world pursuing God in a stronger relationship within their home

by attending Blended and Blessed.

If you missed it, I got good news. We recorded it. You can still watch it and let it bless

your life. Check the show notes for how you can purchase our All-Access Digital Pass.

We heard from a listener who is a single parent. She is dating a single parent dad, and

she asked the following, “Have you ever seen stepfamilies blend successfully after a

quick dating and engagement period? He and I are anxious to get married, but we want

to do this thing right. We're reading all of your books. We're getting the newsletter. We

know that it can be a bit of a minefield sometimes to put families together, but boy, is it

hard to wait when you're ready to get married.”

Yes, it sure is, but here's what I've seen over and over throughout the years. There are

exceptions to every rule, right? Couples with really, young children, for example, kids

who adapt quickly, they can withstand a quick turnaround from their parent and usually

it's not necessarily a problem for them.

But, generally speaking, I got to tell you, quick does not serve your children, your

extended family, or your ability to be discerning about the future. It doesn't serve you

well. It might help you to get married quickly, but you run the risk of kids and your family

rejecting the marriage. Plus, you don't get time to see the entire package that you're

going to marry and make decisions about that package. You may love the person, but

that's not the same as the package that's connected to them.

As I say in the book, Dating and the Single Parent, that is just as much a consideration.

This package is just as much of a consideration as your couple relationship is. So, pray

about it and remember that time is your friend.

Okay, I want to tell you about a new premium offer we have for our listeners and

viewers. Beginning this month, we're offering a premium resource to those of you who

send a financial gift specifically to FamilyLife Blended. A gift of any amount; that's right,

any amount. Share what you can, and we'll send you a gift.

This month, we're providing a copy of my book, The Smart Stepfamily. This is the book

that brought attention to stepfamily ministry in the first place. It's still the most

comprehensive Christian resource available today for blended family couples. Get your

copy of The Smart Stepfamily for a gift of any amount specifically to FamilyLife Blended.

You can't just give to FamilyLife®. You've got to give specifically to our department,

FamilyLife Blended.

Now, if you already have a copy of this book, it's okay; we'll send you one anyway. You

can give it to a friend. Pay it forward; give it to a pastor who really needs to understand

stepfamilies better. Again, this is exclusive to FamilyLife Blended listeners and viewers

of our podcast so make sure you use the link in the show notes. It'll get you to the right

place where you can make that donation and we will send you the resource.

Now, let me tell you about our episode today. If you don't know, each fall, we put on a

national Summit on Stepfamily Ministry for pastors and leaders and lay couples. We're

back in person this year, by the way. We're meeting in Dallas, October 10 and 11, 2024.

Two years ago, Elisa Morgan spoke to our blended family leaders about what she called

The Beauty of Broken. It was so good. We wanted to share it with you.

Elisa Morgan has authored over 25 books, but you may recognize her as the former

CEO of MOPS International; you know, mothers of preschoolers. It's a great ministry

that she led for many years.

She currently writes for Our Daily Bread devotional and co-hosts the radio and podcast

programs, Discover the Word and God Hears Her. She and her husband, Evan, have

two grown children and two grandchildren. They live in Denver, Colorado, and she has

a very blended family journey that she will tell you all about.

Now, keep in mind as you listen or watch that Elisa was speaking to a group of leaders.

Every once in a while, that's important to the context. She was speaking at our Summit

on Stepfamily Ministry, but the message is still just as relevant for you and I as it was for

them there.

So here is Elisa Morgan and The Beauty of Broken.

[Recorded Message]

Elisa: It was a kind of quiet Sunday afternoon, this particular day, and I had returned

from a work trip. It was a season when I had the privilege of putting my, then about

three-year-old grandson down for his nap, which I love to do. Because it was a season

when he and my daughter, who was a single mom, lived with us and she worked on

Sunday afternoons cutting people's hair, okay?

I got him down for his nap and I thought, “Oh my word, that sounds so good. Nap, really

old, but so good,” so I lay my own little head down and I started dozing off. And just, as I

hit the sleep, I heard this eruption rumble through my house. It was like a crash, a huge

one. I didn't know where it had come from.

I sat bolt upright, and I began to—I got out of my bed, and I walked to the door of our

bedroom. I looked in the hall, nothing there. I made my way to the entrance of our

home, nothing there; into the living room, nothing there; but just then, as my feet hit the

floor of my dining room, I knew the source of the crash. You see this hutch that had

three shelves that had held the contents of my grandmother's antique china collection

had lost its grip on the wall, taking all of the plates and cups and saucers with it.


I knelt before this mess with my heart broken, and I lifted a fragment and then another

one, and I thought to myself, “This is the one thing that I wanted to inherit from my

grandmother.” She had gone all over Europe with other blue haired ladies in buses

picking out memorabilia for my sister and myself.

When she passed, I said, “This is the one thing I want.” It was like this legacy of love

that hung on my wall. I knelt next to it. And I just got to say, it was a season when I felt

like everything was falling off of the walls in my life. Have you had seasons like that?

Everything was just in shatters around me.

I picked up one fragment and another, and I sensed God bending down next to me, arm

around me. I said, “God, I am just beyond, beyond help here. This whole thing's beyond

help.” And He goes, “Yes, you are.” “Thank God,” I thought.

You know, for me, each conversation I've had in the halls or over the lunch table or out

there under those little misty things has been one of discovery in the last two days. I

have met people who come from divorced families, people who are divorced and

remarried, people who are passionate about stepfamilies. I've met people who have lost

children. I have met people who have just been broken through death. They're widows

and widowers. And we've been focused in on how new marriages and stepfamilies are

born out of loss, and how loss and grief are really mingled together.

I got a text just about an hour ago from my dear friend who lost her husband three years

ago. She was reading a section of Ezra talking about the rebuilding of the temple and

the co-mingling of the joy and the tears and how beautiful that is in the recreation of

God's tabernacle, right—of God's temple.

Where do we start to really reach out and minister as we go out from here? And I think

what I want to do is encourage us to start with us. You are the one God will use. I am

the one God will use so let's start with who we are. Because as someone said, I think it

was Earl Krebs, we are our best practice, so the more we understand and embrace and

utilize who we are, the better equipped we will be to help others.

So take just a minute inside yourself. Do not answer these questions out loud, but I ask

a series of questions. This is your work. This is for you, okay? See if you can answer

yes to any of these questions. If so, just kind of tick it off inside your heart. Don't raise

your hand or make eye contact or say, “It's me, pick me!” No, just kind of go, “Okay,

yes, that's me.”

• Are you a child of addiction? or of divorce? or of a single parent?

• Have you lost a child? or a grandchild?

• Do you have a daughter who became pregnant as a teenager? and then a

second time?

• Is someone in your family or your extended family gay?

• Does someone in your home today struggle with addiction to alcohol? or

to drugs?

• Has someone in your family been adopted? or relinquished a child through


• Has someone chosen abortion?

• Do you have a grandchild you co parent?

• Have you received a recorded message from your child's school that

they're not actually in school and you don't know where they are if they're

not in school? or a call from a lab reporting a positive drug test? or an

eerie middle of the night call saying that someone you love has been

arrested? or has been injured in a car accident? or is drunk again?

Wow! How many of us answered yes to one or two of those questions? How many

answered yes to one after another question? And we carry around this sense of shame:

“Are you kidding me? I'm at this conference. I'm not qualified. If you knew what was in

my past, you would say, park it at the door, chicken, you're not coming in here. You

know, this is for those who've done their work, right?”

Are we ever done with the layers of our lives? I just got to tell you this, you are safe

here. If you were done, you would be dead, okay? You're not done. I answered yes to

every single one of those questions; every single one. Every single one. I have sat in


hospital waiting rooms, in counseling rooms, in court rooms, in inmate visitation rooms,

in lawyer mediation rooms, in hospital rooms. All the issues that have come into our

home—things like alcoholism and learning disabilities, cancer, legal issues, abortion,

homosexuality, addiction, teen pregnancy, stepparents, infertility, adoption, divorce,

abandonment, death. I can go on and on and on.

I come from a broken family. When I was five years old, my dad called me into his home

office, and he had this wonderful white chair with an ottoman. I loved it. He said, “Come

on up here in my lap. It's Daddy time.” I love Daddy time. He turned my shoulders

towards himself, and he looked straight into my eyes, and he said, “Elisa, I've decided I

don't love your mother anymore, and we're going to get a divorce.” I felt like my family

fell and broke. And as many five-year-old children do, I wondered what I had done to

cause it.

I remember growing up as a preteen in Houston, Texas. My broken family, which

consisted of my mom and my older sister and my younger brother; we had moved

across the United States. My job was to wake my mom up every morning. I could hear

her alarm blaring down the hall of our ranch style home in Houston, Texas.

I would pull back the covers and I'd walk into the kitchen and get a glass and put ice

cubes in it and pour Coca Cola over the top. I'd get a couple of chocolate chip cookies. I

would take this down the hall to my mom where I'd turn off the alarm and put it on her

nightstand to begin the process of trying to wake her up because she couldn't get

herself up. We needed her to get up because she was a single mom and we needed

her to go to work.

But my mom struggled with alcohol, and she couldn't wake herself up. And as I grew

older and I began to understand that she couldn't get herself up, I thought “My family is

broken still.” And even as an 11, 12-year-old, I wondered, “What had I done to cause it

to break?”

When I was about 16 years old, I gave my life to Jesus. I loved Jesus. I looked longingly

at the seemingly perfect parents all around me, the little intact families, the moms with

their pearls and their June Cleaver dresses, and I determined that one day I would

create a perfectly intact second family.

Gradually, I clarified God's call on my life, and I went from Texas up to Denver to attend

seminary. That's where I met my husband, stable, rock of a man, and we made the

commitment we would never even use the word divorce in our home. Because he had

had cancer, we knew we would be unable to have children biologically. So, we waited

for adoption; still that determination in me though, to create a perfectly intact second

family. I thought “When that baby is placed in my arms, I'm going to make up for all the

loss, all the holes, just by loving so much.” I knew I could; I knew I could do it.

The forever process of adoption, though, dragged on for nearly five years. Can I just say


it's kind of like being dilated to a nine for five years! Oh, my word. Finally, we received

our daughter and then a couple of years later, our son, both as infants.

And then several years later, they were toddlers into kindergarten. I received this phone

call from a board member of MOPS International, mothers of preschoolers. It was a

grassroots movement that had been going on for 15 years. Honestly, interesting, Bob

and Jan Horner, many of y'all know them through Cru, were some of the original

founders of MOPS.

They were looking for a president. The first one who would take that organization and

move it forward. They asked if I might be interested in applying and I laughed out loud.

Honestly, me, the one from the broken home, you know, with alcoholic mom and the

dad who'd vanished. What?! Me be a president of a mothering organization, so I

doubled up my therapy sessions.

I found myself in the grocery store just praying about this. It's like God nudged me to

look around at all the other moms there in the grocery store. This is back in a day when

they had a ponytail and sweatpants and, you know, no lipstick; but they'd be exactly the

same today, just yoga pants and a messy bun, same thing. Their kids are, you know,

crawling out of the carts, just going crazy, struggling and I looked over them and I went,

“Oh Lord, I can't do this. What do I know?”

It just felt like He nudged me and saying, “Elisa, I'm not asking you to be perfect. What if

you get up on a platform of vulnerability? What if you let your Swiss cheese holes all

over your being be obvious to the other moms? Nobody knows what they're doing as

parents the first time around,” right? Nobody does.

Why does God give kids every single time to people who don't have a clue what they're

doing? Why doesn't he give them to the grandparents? We are awesome! But He

doesn't. He gives them to parents. I thought they had the wrong person. It was like, “Are

you looking for Mother Superior or Mother Inferior?” I could do that one. But I said, yes,

haltingly and I ended up serving in that role for 20 years.

During those decades, Evan and I both actually invested in nonprofit work and full-time

ministry. We had Jesus time every night with our kids. I don't know if you remember

those Kenneth Taylor devotionals where you count the ladybugs. We did that. We

counted every single ladybug. We did it all right. We were there for our kids. We

alternated when we were working so that we were always with our kids. We were just

loving it.

One night when my kids were in their teen years, I had a dream. And in this dream, I

was walking through a home that was under construction. It was just scaffolding. It was

interesting because Jesus showed up as my tour guide. He had on like a denim shirt

and a yellow hard hat and He's walking me through room after room after room. He

stopped at these two adjacent rooms, these bedrooms, and he goes “Elisa, this one's

for your daughter and this one's for her baby.” And I went, “Well, she's not pregnant.

What are you talking about?” I woke up and I'm like, “Whoa, okay.” I'm not kidding. Just

a few nights later, the dream repeated itself. Jesus, hard hat, denim shirt, my daughter,

her baby, rooms adjacent. It really shook me.

But not more than a week later, I was in a meeting room at MOPS, and we were

discussing the potential of forming a group called TEEN MOPS for moms who were

themselves still teenagers. And it was like the Holy Spirit bent into my ear and said,

“Elisa, you're going to know more about this than anyone in this room.”

I went home and I asked my daughter, my beautiful five-foot seven state ranked

swimming daughter who had just returned from a mission’s trip where she was working

with HIV/AIDS orphans in Kenya, “Is there any reason you could be pregnant?” and she

nods. And it's not just my daughter who began to morph. My son, who was also then a

teenager, began to steer his life off the road of sanity into the ditches of being absent

from school, and truancy, legal issues, using substances. I felt like my second family fell

and broke, and I wondered what I had done.

There's so much more to my story, but the thing is, I come from a broken family and

despite my very best efforts to create a perfectly intact second family, I still come from a

broken family. And you know what I've learned? I'm not alone. Because there is no such

thing as a perfect family. We all come from a broken family because y'all, God's family

is broken.

Think about it. In the beginning, God created man and woman, Adam and Eve. They

were a family, a man and woman evidencing the image of God in their beings and in

their union. Oh, it's beautiful. But before they even got around to making the first child,

they fell and broke. Think about this. The very first family was a divorced family…

divorced from the heart of God, pushing against His way, choosing their own, splitting

the union He had created.

In the space of the first five chapters of the Bible, man and woman become one and

they disobey God's only prohibition. They give birth to two sons, one of whom kills the

other. And the result is that by Genesis chapter six, the earth is so messed up that God

decides to wipe it out and start all over again. God's heart broke over His broken family.

And the second time around is actually not so great either. He starts out with a family,

this time Noah's, and for 40 days and 40 nights, things go along swimmingly until they

don't, right? At the request of his wife, who's impatient for a child, Father Abraham takes

the slave Hagar and impregnates her with an illegitimate heir. Jacob makes his way

through one daughter in order to get to the next one that he wanted the most for his

wife. David liaisons indecently with Bathsheba. You know, that's just the Old Testament.

The New Testament begins with a pregnant, unwed teenager and a stunned groom who

ends up becoming the stepfather of the Savior of the world.

We all come from a broken family. And in one way or another, we end up creating a

broken family. And in our brokenness, we are just where we need to be… fractured,

messed up, sinful, needy, redeemable. Our Creator God pants to bring His children into

being, and then His heart tears in pain as we'd run away from Him. And our Father God

christens us as sons and daughters, and we reject that identity. And then our Hereafter

God dreams of redemption, when we will be restored to His original intent, and we push

away from that as well. We come from a broken family. The family broke before it was

ever fully formed. And just as my efforts failed, our efforts are going to always fail.

So, think of it this way. If God's family—God himself is the perfect Heavenly Father—if

His family fell and broke, why should we be so surprised that ours do too? I think it's

time to talk and tear apart this mythology that we've been fed—that there is such a thing

as a perfect family, and that “We can achieve it!”—because the reality is that, like me,

many people think it's their fault that their first family fell and broke, and so therefore it's

our responsibility to create a perfect second one. But we can't do that, can we?

See, the problem is I'm broken, and everybody is. I've come to discover that God

actually has what I kind of call broken family values, that He values, that He lifts up, that

He hangs on the walls in our family rooms and our dining rooms, and that He gazes

from those values out at us with great pride. He understands the waywardness of loved

ones. He gets it that abnormal is pretty much normal. And He knows that people are

imperfect and messy and yet always worthy of respect and love and are never, ever,

ever beyond hope, ever.

God wants to bring His grace into the hard. He wants to bring beauty in the broken. And

people like you and me need to know that and absorb that hope in order to offer it to

others for our own woundings. Isaiah chapter 53 verse 5 underlines God's provision for

the broken heart and the broken soul and the broken human and yes, the broken family.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the

punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Read it with me. Let's say it again. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was

crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his

wounds we are healed.”

That word wounds means bruises and it comes from, you know, the actual broken

capillaries under the skin when we are bruised, the blood vessels. And the word healed

comes from a root meaning mended, repaired, made whole. By Jesus’ broken blood

vessels, we are put back together and made whole.

You know when that hutch fell to the ground, I began a kind of a toppling in myself as

well. And when we sit amongst the shards of whatever's broken in our lives, and I know

there's plenty, we can feel very much beyond help. But the thing is, is that God doesn't

just sweep it up and put it in a dustpan and throw it all away. God bends down and He

picks up a fragment and holds it up to the light of the hope that He knows He's created

for us, and He goes, “I know just what to do with that now.

I want to give you two sentences to hold on to hope, okay; and these sentences are for

you, and they are for every person you come in contact with. The first one is this, God

loves the broken. Oh, He loves the broken. He loves broken families, and He loves the

broken people within them enough to die for them. He loves them so much that He's not

going to leave us the way we are.

I think it was Ron who mentioned Jerry Sitzer, who lost his mother, his wife, and his

daughter in a car accident, saying that yesterday's grace disguised becomes tomorrow's

grace revealed. He also said redemption is rooted in paradox, which is summed up in a

phrase, we become who we already are in Christ.

Take me! I'm broken, and the pieces of me don't fit back together just the same

anymore. I'm different. I'm not the same. I'm not the same little girl I was when I was five

and sitting in my dad's lap, or when I was eleven and turning off my mom's alarm. I'm

not the same person I was when we waited for children through adoption. I'm not the

same person when I found out that my brother was gay, the same person I was when I

got married, the same person where my daughter became pregnant at 16 or later at 19,

repeating it. I'm not the same person. I'm different. I'm broken.

I still get my giggle together when I chase my grandsons around the island in the

kitchen. I do. And I still liven a conversation on vision and strategy when I have an idea.

But when I open up God's word, more often than not, I'm going, “What does that

mean?” Rather than trying to answer everything perfectly. I'm more the person who will

put the arm around the questioner and say, “I know it doesn't make sense to me either.

What do you think?” I'm more the one who's going to ask more questions and maybe

pull out the tissues and cry a bit.

I'm different. I own now that I'm not responsible for my children's choices. I'm

responsible for my response to my children's choices. I'm different. I'm broken, and God

loves broken me, and he's reforming and redeeming broken me into a whole other

vision of what I never knew I could become.

A friend of mine—okay, my therapist—you know, taught me to kind of sit by myself and

process something. Don't you love it that we are so messed up that God actually puts a

counselor inside of us? [Laughter] Do you love that? I mean, we needed a permanently

residing Holy Spirit counselor to get us through life, okay. Alright, don't you feel better?


Okay, so my therapist challenged me, Elisa, I want you to sit like five minutes every day,

just with the reality. And I want you to think about that God loves you. Okay. You know,

I'm sitting there thinking about God loves me. God loves me, [Snoring sound] you know,

right? I mean, five minutes, you're going to go to sleep. Nobody's ever still that long.


Or, you know, I do it at the next day and it's like, “Oh, I just heard the dryer buzz. I got to

go get the clothes.” Or then the next day I'm like, “Oh, here's the grocery list. I got to”—

you know, but finally about the fourth, fifth day, I hear this sentence in my soul thinking

“God loves me. God loves me.” I hear, “I love you, Elisa.” Whoa. Right? Have you ever

heard that? “I love you, Sandra.” “I love you, Joseph.” “I love you, Yolanda.” “I love you,

Jose.” God loves the broken. And that sentence starts and stops my day.

There's a second sentence and it's this, God uses the broken. He uses the broken just

as they are. It's not a new concept to God, but it sometimes confuses us, doesn't it? We

think because we're broken God can't use us, but if you look through the pages of

scripture, you'll see instance after instance, after instance. God used two broken stone

tablets to cause the Israelites to repent of their disobedience in Exodus. God used a

broken heart to return King David to himself, Psalm 51. God used a broken roof to

provide access for a cripple into the presence of Jesus in Mark 2. He used broken

loaves to feed 5,000, and then some, in Matthew chapter 14.

He used broken fishing nets to challenge his disciples to depend on him rather than

themselves in Luke 5. He used a broken flask of nard where Mary of Bethany

expressed her love for Jesus, anointing his body before his burial in Mark 14. He used a

broken ship to steer Paul to the island of Malta to share the gospel in Acts 27. And He

used the broken body of His son pierced for our sins to provide salvation, grace in the

heart for us.

God uses the broken and it's so hard for us to understand this. But think through your

life. Maybe you had cancer and you survived. And now you know what to do with it

when your friend calls and says, “I've just been diagnosed,” and you offer to give her

rides and you send over an Afghan to keep her warm.

Or maybe you had a miscarriage. And when your coworker says, “I'm pregnant,” and

then she doesn't show up for a couple of weeks and you're like “Uh oh.” You know

what's going on inside there.

Maybe you've been divorced, and you've been through the single parenting route, and

you didn't know what to do with yourself and how you'd ever be enough. And would you

ever find love again? And now you come to a conference like this where God meets you

so very personally.

I keep hearing from this platform, “There were no resources for the blended families,”

“There were no strategies for stepfamily ministry,” “There was nothing to turn to. I found

one book. That's all I had.” I keep hearing that.

And the other thing I keep hearing is that God uses the broken. You are the resources.

We are the answer together when we go out from this place. What if that thing which we

believe God is going to disqualify us over is actually the thing when we put it in the

hands of Jesus and He takes it to the cross is the thing which actually further qualifies


us because we understand, because we have been there. 2 Corinthians, chapter one,

Paul says the God of all comfort will comfort us, right? And we are to give that comfort

to others; that comfort which we've received from God. We have this treasure in jars of

clay, Paul writes, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us in

2nd Corinthians.

No, God doesn't sweep us up and throw us away, no. Several years ago, I was in this

kind of rummage sale in London, and I came across a stack of antique plates. I was just

like, “Whoa!” It's like my grandmother was, you know, hovering over me. Look and

notice in that, if you can, on the left side, about 11 o'clock, there's a crack running

through it. I was so stunned to find it, and I was terrified too. I picked it up so carefully,

and I turned it over, and on the back, I saw these staples.

There were like six plates. I gathered them really carefully and I took them to the

proprietor of the shop, and I said, “What is this?” She said, “Yes, that's a real old

technique they use to repair china, porcelain. It's like a staple. It's actually a brass

staple.” I said, “Why would anybody do that?” She said, “Well, if you had a choice in

ancient times of, you know, throwing away the dish and eating off of a board or fixing it,

what would you do?” And I thought, “Wow.”

And of course, I thought about my grandmother's china collection, but I thought about

the broken me and see God doesn't throw us away and replace us with inanimate

boards. He stapled his son to a cross to make us adequate to be used. God loves the

broken and God uses the broken.

We live in blended families and stepfamilies and broken families, and we will continue

to. And today I am still married. Yay! I've been married 43 years; that dear soul has

stayed. We have a daughter, and we have a grandson and then a husband and then

another grandson in that order, right? [Laughter] It's just different than we imagined.

We have a son and a daughter in law and a baby on the way. We're messy and

imperfect. You know, if you pulled us out of the oven like you would a batch of cupcakes

and you stuck a toothpick in it and pulled it out and you'd go, “Eww, it's a little gooey in

the middle,” you know, “Let's put that back in a little longer.” That's us. That's how we


My grownup kids are paving their own paths. They love Jesus. Sometimes they go to

church, but you know, they express their faith in text messages and in tattoos on their

body, like all over their bodies, yes. My daughter's still cuts and styles people's hair, and

she loves her sons with fierceness.

My 18-year-old grandson has discovered how to use his voice. to navigate between the

three families in his life. He chooses where he goes at the holidays, and I am thrilled

that we're one of the three options. My almost eight-year-old grandson is writing his own

story. And that's a big part of it. I remember asking my therapist, [Unintelligible words]


and she goes, “Yes, it's their story, Elisa. And God used your story, and He will use their


There's no such thing as a perfect family. That God loves the broken and He uses the

broken. You know, I come from a broken family, and I still come from a broken family.

And y'all, I thank God because He brings His grace into the hard, His beauty into our


Would you pray with me? “You are so faithful. You are so good. At times we feel

stunned by that, and other times we look up in confusion and wonder if that could

possibly be true. But Lord, thank You that You invite all of our jagged fragmented pieces

before You and You pick them up one at a time and You hold them up to the glory and

the promise and the hope of the cross saying that You love the broken and promising

that You will use the broken. May we be broken plates put back together by the staples

of Your Son in our world, offering hope that You can heal and use others as well.


Ron: There's no such thing as a perfect family. God loves the broken and God uses the

broken. I'm Ron Deal. You've been listening to a keynote by Elisa Morgan at our 2022

Summit on Stepfamily Ministry. Our next Summit, as I mentioned, is October 10th and

11th, 2024. We're going to be in Dallas, Texas for that. We would love to see you there.

“But Ron,” you might object. “We're not leaders.” Well, maybe you are. I can't tell you

how many blended family couples have stepped out in faith and started a ministry in

their church and families are being blessed by it. We'll equip you. We'll resource you.

We'll even coach you over time if you want it. But you have to avail yourself of what God

might do through you. So think about it; come join us in Dallas. The show notes will tell

you how.

Don't forget, starting with this episode, we'll send you a copy of my book, The Smart

Stepfamily, for a gift of any amount, specifically to FamilyLife Blended. This is an

exclusive offer to our listeners and viewers, so make sure you use the link in our show


A quick reminder if you’re looking for my speaking schedule go to and click events. It would be a blast to meet you in person at

one of my, or Nan and I’s, upcoming events.

Okay, next time, I'm going to be talking with Devon and Asha Still about their blended

family. Maybe you've heard about Devon. He's a former NFL football player who quit to

take care of his daughter who had cancer. Well, he and Asha are talking relationships

these days on their podcast. We want to talk with them and learn about their blended

family so join us. That’s next time on FamilyLife Blended.

I'm Ron Deal. Thanks for listening or watching. And thank you to our production team

and donors who make this podcast possible.

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