Stepparenting Inspiration

Bob Wieland

I read an incredible story today of a Vietnam Vet who overcame huge odds to make a difference in life.

Bob Wieland was a young baseball player from Wisconsin, negotiating a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, when he was called to serve in Vietnam. As a medic, Wieland perfomed his duties with care, while longing to be back on the baseball fields in his home state.

In June, 1969, Wieland’s life was changed forever when he stepped on a booby trap while trying to help a friend. Explosions rang out around him as the 82 mm buried mortar – a round designed to destroy tanks – blew off his legs. Wieland was pronounced DOA (dead on arrival) at the hospital.

But Wieland’s life was far from over. A nurse found movement in the body bag he had been placed in and resuscitated him to life. He embarked upon a recovery process marked by faith, determination and courage.

While in the hospital, Wieland began lifting weights. He couldn’t even lift five pounds to start but persisted in training everyday and began getting stronger. His athletic persona took over and he eventually broke the world record in bench press in his weight division on four occasions – lifting 507 pounds. However, he was disqualified for not wearing shoes and finally banned from the sport!

Not easily discouraged, Wieland opted for another sport and began training for marathons. He has completed the New York, Los Angeles, and Marine Corp Marathons on his HANDS! Wrapped in rubber pads, his hands perform as his feet.

From there, he went on to complete the grueling Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii – the only double amputee to ever complete it without a wheelchair.
But he claims the most exciting marathon he completed was a walk across America! He endured three years, eight months and six days of walking on his hands as he traveled from Los Angeles to the Vietnam Memorial to raise money for Veterans, the poor and the hungry.

Wieland’s inspiring motto can be applied to any endeavor, including stepparenting:

“It’s always too early to quit.”
He credits his success to his faith and his foundational belief, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Known as “Mr. Inspiration” for good reason, he travels the world telling his story to live life “AOA (alive on arrival)” instead of remaining DOA.

Quitting was not an option for Bob Wieland. It shouldn’t be an option for us either.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:13

Healthy Stepparenting #11: Walk With God Daily

As a stepparent, it’s hard to know what may happen tomorrow. Our stepchildren may decide to go live with their other parent or if they’re living in another home, they may choose to come live with us. We could begin to encounter resistance and anger that we haven’t seen before once they reach adolescence. Or their other parent may decide to re-marry, opening up new territory to manage.

Life is full of uncertainty. But the one thing we can count on is that God will walk with us daily if we choose to let Him. The Bible speaks of God’s faithfulness and never-ending love for us continually. Psalm 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

We are called to seek after Him and He will be our refuge and strength.

When our youngest son, Nathan(pictured above), was a year old, he was involved in a car accident that could have been fatal. We were told in the Emergency Room that young children are often killed in accidents similar to what Nathan went through. However, we are convinced that God’s presence protected him.

Although it was a traumatic event, we saw God’s hand at work. We had friends in the Emergency Room who helped with our other children while we tended to Nathan. We were surrounded by family in the days ahead as we repeatedly changed dressings, gave medication, and took turns trying to keep a one-year-old still (not an easy feat).

We saw a broken leg mend and tire burns and lacerations heal without any recollection of the accident for Nathan. However, Nathan has scars on one leg that still remind us of how God walked with us that day and spared his life.

There will likely be difficulties in your stepfamily that could lead you to despair and frustration. But as you choose to walk with Him during those times, He will take you to the other side to experience freedom and tranquility.

Live by Faith, and Not by Explanation

Do you ever think if you could simply understand why certain things happen, it would be easier to get on with life? I have begged God for explanations at times, wanting a logical answer as to what was happening and why. But instead, I find God saying, “You can trust what I’m doing through faith, even if you don’t understand it right now.”

I was thinking about the relationships between my two daughters and their father this morning. They have had very little contact with him for years as he lingered in and out of addiction, homelessness, and general dysfunction. They’ve bonded with my husband, referring to him as Dad, and allowing him to be a father to them. His stepparenting has provided unending love and nurturing for them during critical years.

But their birth father has re-entered the picture, wanting to be a part of their lives. I want to say, “It’s too late. Go away. We don’t need you around.” I don’t trust him or see how anything good can come of his intrusion in our lives. But I’m trying to allow my girls to determine the relationship they want to have with him.

It’s not easy. I want to detail the sacrifices I made to put him through medical school, only to watch him lose his medical license to addiction. I want to outline the expensive rehab centers he attended again and again, only to choose the bottle every time upon leaving. I want to complain about his disregard for financial help during the girls’ upbringing, only giving excuses and lies of when he’ll start helping.

But that’s not what my girls need. They know he’s been an absent figure during their childhood years and they know why. It’s now their choice to determine whether they will allow him to be part of their lives.

I wish I understood why he suddenly determined he deserves a significant role in their lives. I wish I understood why my girls have to go through yet another emotional entanglement as they sort through their feelings toward him.

But despite what I understand, I am confident God is in control and will work out the details of their relationships, without my help.