The Last Lecture
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” Professor Randy Pausch spoke these words in The Last Lecture, a talk he gave at Carnegie Mellon University. He had just learned his pancreatic cancer, diagnosed a year prior, was terminal. Pausch didn’t ask for pity or talk about his challenges. Instead, he encouraged those in the audience to work toward their dreams, overcome their obstacles, and seize every moment. Although he’d been dealt a difficult hand, he chose to focus only on a positive perspective.
Stepfamily Life Can Be Hard
Stepfamily life includes its own set of difficulties. Maybe the hand you’ve been dealt includes a defiant stepchild. Or a manipulative ex-spouse. Or maybe a sense of loneliness you can’t shake because no-one understands the stepparent journey you walk.
God’s promises give us hope. And El Shaddai, God Almighty, is capable of fulfilling His promises. The story of Abraham confirms His all-sufficiency. Genesis 17:1-2 says, “I am God Almighty: walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Although Abraham and Sarah were well past childbearing age, God brought them a son, Isaac. God later fulfilled His promise to make Abraham’s descendants “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).
If we dig deeper into his life, we find a stepfamily problem surrounding Abraham’s sons, Isaac and Ishmael (Genesis 21). Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, was born to his slave, Hagar, because Sarah had become impatient waiting on God to give her a child and offered Hagar to her husband. After Ishmael’s half-brother, Isaac, was born, Sarah mistreats Hagar. We find great strife between the two women, and Sarah tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away.
Abraham is naturally distressed. God tells him to listen to Sarah, and He will take care of his son. The next morning, Abraham gives Hagar food and water and sends her and Ishmael off to wander in the desert. What a painful departure that must have been! But we see God’s provision: “God was with the boy as he grew up” (21:20). Later Scripture tells us Ishmael lived 137 years and was the father of twelve tribal leaders, as God had promised.
Modern stepfamily issues include strife and separation as well, but we can be assured God will provide for our needs. We can trust the all-sufficiency of El Shaddai, God Almighty.
“The Lord with fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Taken from Stepparenting with Grace.
For more encouragement on your stepfamily journey, order a copy of Gayla’s book, Stepparenting with Grace.