I was in love again. I mean this time the stars twinkled with brilliance, the rain smelt sweeter and I had never known the daffodils to be so yellow. After the death of my husband this was my second chance at happiness and I couldn’t wait to get that big, sparkling rock onto my finger. But a different surprise was waiting for me at the Rock of Gibraltar.
When my children and I planned a family trip to Spain, they were generous and gracious enough to notice that Jack and I loved spending time together. One day my daughter said, “Mom, we all thought it might be nice if you brought Jack along on our family trip to Spain.” Once the arrangements were made, Jack and I planned an engagement in Spain on New Year’s Eve.
The day we were touring the Rock of Gibraltar, the reality of telling my children about the upcoming engagement let me paralyzed with questions. How would they react? Why had I not prepared them more? Was I ready to become the mother of five children? How would this affect my relationship with my own children? Did I even want to get married just as I was beginning to enjoy my single life? Toward the end of the day I finally mustered up enough nerve to tell them my good news.
I knew they would be surprised, but I was not prepared for the shock and disbelief in their eyes. At 2:00 in the morning, there was a knock on the door, and my daughter whispered, “Mom, please come downstairs. We all want to talk to you.”
There was my family, sitting with tear stained faces in a circle in the living room. While I was tossing and turning in my bed, they had been sitting here for hours trying to come to terms with what they heard that night. I had taught my children to talk to me about everything that was difficult for them; to communicate honestly about what was troubling them. I was grateful that I had a family that loved me enough to overcome their tiredness, the emotional awkwardness, the pain and misery to begin a very necessary, urgent, and emotionally fragile talk. For the rest of the night we questioned each other: When does grieving end? What is the right time to re-marry? Is there ever a good and right time for anything? How did they fit into this new picture? How do we move forward from here?
When the sun rose over the beautiful Spanish mountains, we all hugged and kissed each other and crawled back into our beds to savor a few more hours of sleep.
Here is what our family discovered about blending two families:
1. It’s painful. Whether it is a divorce or death, each person is grieving their former life.
2. Communicate your questions, doubts and fears. Don’t pretend everything is fine when it actually feels like razor blades have shredded your heart.
3. Choose to accept the new people in your life. Eventually the right feelings will follow.
4. Choose to forgive. The razor blades will not stop until you have forgiven the people who have hurt you.
5. Go to a Solid Rock-Jesus Christ. He is the only one who will help you with the other 4 steps when you go to Him in prayer. Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
6. Wait with expectation and watch how God will heal your hearts, help you to accept one another and begin the process of blending in love.
Our family found that God is the only one who can heal our hearts and give us the wisdom and practical steps to blend two families. It’s never easy, but with God we can.
Heidi is the author of BEAUTY UNLEASHED: Transforming a Woman’s Soul. Her next book called SAND TO PEARL: Making Bold Choices to Enrich your Life, will be released in January, 2011.
Heidi lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When she is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends.