Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do

It’s been a tough week in Bossier City, Louisiana, where I live. Life-threatening storms swept through our community with 20 inches of rain over a two-day period and flooding that left many families homeless.


School dismissed for three days while displaced families from mandatory evacuations of heavily-populated neighborhoods sent families in 3500 homes away from the comfort of their usual surroundings.

As I thought about friends coping with the devastation this morning, I reflected on Robert Schuller’s book, Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do, that I read many years ago. It is a tough time for a lot of people right now.

But there is always hope for better days. Within a few hours of hearing about yet another young family who lost everything in the flood, I learned that Samaritan’s Purse was headed to LA for rescue relief. What a blessing to read their plans to help:

“Our teams bring in equipment and as soon as the water recedes, they roll up their sleeves to help flooded families get the mud out of their homes, sort through water-damaged personal belongings, and pull out damaged sheetrock, flooring, and insulation. Our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains will be alongside to pray with and encourage flood victims.”

Samaratan's Purse

Sometimes in the midst of our challenges, it feels like there is no hope. But tough-minded people are created in the midst of tough circumstances if we don’t give up.

Maybe you’re in a tough season right now as a stepparent.

Perhaps you feel invisible in your role as a stepmom and no one notices the constant sacrifices you make.

Maybe you face another day of rejection from your stepson.

Maybe your spouse refuses to support your stepparenting efforts.

Perhaps the biological parent in the other home undermines the relationships you seek you build.

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Are You Celebrating the Beauty of Family this Holiday- Even if Yours is Imperfect?

I was on the phone this week with stepfamily author, Ron Deal. We were chatting about his upcoming move to assume a new position with FamilyLife as the Director of Blended Families Ministries. (Read press release here). I could hear his excitement of continuing his ministy with stepfamilies in a larger fashion through such a great organization.


But I could also hear his grief when he mentioned the upcoming anniversary of the loss of their son, Connor. Connor was 12  years old when he came down with a rare illness that took his life within two weeks of its onset. He was the middle child of three boys and his family will never be the same. It’s a parents worst nightmare that leaves unfathomable pain in its wake.

Although the loss of a child may be the greatest loss anyone could experience, each member of a stepfamily has experienced loss too. Through death or divorce, relationships end and pain remains. But through healthy stepfamily relationships, family members can begin to heal and find joy in life again.

Although it may take longer than we desire, beautiful relationships can form if we don’t give up. And our family becomes something to celebrate, even if it’s imperfect.

So as you celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas this week-end, I encourage you to celebrate the beauty of family also. Although your stepfamily relationships may not be where you wish they were, celebrate the progress you’ve made. Commit to stronger relationships through intentional effort as you look toward a new year.

Life is short. We don’t know what’s around the corner that could alter our family dynamics forever. But we do know what our relationships look like today and can choose to celebrate the beauty of our family.

How will you celebrate the unique beauty of your stepfamily as you celebrate the holidays?

“Will You Trust Me?” Says the Lord.

As I sat in the unfamiliar church service with strangers on every side, I felt the tears begin to roll down my cheeks. “I miss my church back in Conway,” I told the Lord. “I miss my friends. I miss my kids. Why did we have to move out of state? Starting over in a new community feels overwhelming to me. I’m not sure I can do this.”

“Will you trust me?” the Lord said to me. “Will you trust my ways, even if you don’t like them?”

I’ve considered that conversation with the Lord almost every day the past few weeks. I wish I could say that my heart and attitude about our move has been transformed since hearing the Lord speak to me. I wish I could say that I’ve quit questioning why and simply accept our circumstances. But as hard as I’ve tried, I’m still struggling with contentment surrounding our move many days.

I recognize my anxious feelings and questioning ways from previous stepfamily challenges. I recall questioning the Lord on more than one occasion as I sought to understand what was happening in our family.

“Will you trust me?” the Lord said, when my stepdaughter went to live with her mom over 300 miles away. “Will you trust my ways?” the Lord said, when my stepson was allowed to stay with his stepdad after his mom died instead of immediately moving to our house. “Will you trust me to provide?” the Lord said, when I lost my job shortly after my husband and I married.

And in every challenge we’ve faced, I’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness. I’ve felt His presence most on days I was forced to lean on Him for answers and comfort.

So I’ve learned to trust Him. I trust His ways. I trust His plan. I trust His direction in my life. Even when I don’t like the direction He sends me. Even when I don’t understand the outcome. And especially, when I don’t see the big picture. I trust Him. Do you?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8,9)

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Seeing God’s Mercy on Difficult Days

There’s Beauty After the Pain

God’s Timing is Different Than Ours

Commit to the Lord

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

My mom told me once that kids usually figure things out eventually and get on the right path, even if they stray for awhile during their teen-age and young adult years. I was fretting over some choices one of my stepchildren had made and her positive comments were encouraging.

I believe this is true, especially if we raise our children by God’s word and surround them with prayer. If we commit our parenting endeavors to the Lord, His Word promises that we will succeed.

My youngest daughter turned 18 years old this week-end. She has been a joy to parent and I’m continually thankful for her compliant nature. When she leaves for college in the Fall, we will  have only one child left at home of our five children. It’s hard to accept that a big part of my parenting season is coming to a close.

But I will continue to commit our children to the Lord. I pray for them daily by name and specifically pray that our older children make wise choices. I pray that I will continue to have the opportunity to guide them through the confusion and anxiety that often accompanies young adulthood. And I ask for wisdom in my stepparenting role as I continue to grow and nurture the relationships with my stepchildren.

I don’t think our parenting and stepparenting roles ever end. But there does come a time when we don’t have the same influence with our children that we have during their younger years. If you’re in an active parenting/stepparenting role, I encourage you to commit your endeavors to the Lord. You’ll be glad you did as you see the fruits of your labor during their young adult years.

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Parenting From Your Knees

Let Go and Let God

Stepparenting Rewards

Friday’s Fav Scripture – “My Grace is Sufficient for You”

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10)

I don’t know about you, but I often feel weak and inadequate in my parenting and stepparenting role. I love this Scripture because it speaks of the Apostle Paul’s need for Christ’s power to rest on him and supply the grace and strength he needs.

I can relate. I cannot adequately perform my role as a wife, mother, and stepmother without Christ’s help. I’m thankful for His willingness to walk this path with me.

As we move toward the week of Thanksgiving, I want to offer thanks for the unending grace, strength and power I can access.

What about you? Do you need to recognize Christ’s strength or grace today?

Related Posts:

Friday’s Fav Scripture – “I Will Strengthen You”

Be Anxious for Nothing

Finding the Beauty of God’s Grace in Your Stepfamily

Friday’s Fav Scripture – “Love is Patient”

“Love is pateint, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (I Corinthians 13:4)

We live in a fast paced society that believes everything should happen quickly. We don’t like to wait for food to cook so we put everything in the microwave. We have instant contact with people 24/7 through text messaging. There’s no need to go to the library and look things up the old-fashioned way anymore because we can find whatever we want on our computer.  

But if we try to carry that thinking over to our relationships, it doesn’t work. Trust and respect take time to build, particularly in stepfamilies. If we want lasting, meaningful relationships we must be willing to put in the time and commitment required. There are no shortcuts.

I cherish this Scripture and need the reminder of what Christ-like love looks like: “Love is patient……it always perseveres.”

How are you doing in your stepfamily relationships? Are you seeing the results of patience and perseverance on your stepfamily journey?

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Offer Love and Grace Freely

Love is Sacrificial

Let Go and Let God