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Q&A: Role of stepfather: How can a wife encourage and support her new husband, when parenting styles differ?

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Role of stepfather: How can a wife encourage and support her new husband, when parenting styles differ?

Embrace your role

The Bible teaches that the basic role of a wife toward her husband is that of being his helper (Gen. 2:18), and the basic attitudes are to be those of submission, gentleness, respect, and trusting God (Eph. 5:22, 33; 1 Pet. 3:1-6).  Sadly, these ideas today are often resented, and dismissed as “out of date” or somehow demeaning toward women.  Briefly, let me just say that nothing could be further from the truth!  Dear wives…please make sure that your understanding of your role in family life is informed by the truth in God’s Word, not by the prevailing opinions of the Godless culture around us.  Far from demeaning women, the Bible, and Jesus Himself, has done more to exalt and celebrate the value and role of women than anything or anyone else in history. 

I begin with this point simply because many frustrated wives today have never taken the time to seek the Lord regarding what He has to say about being a godly wife and mother.  Please study this subject for yourself in the Bible.  I also recommend that you discuss any doubts or troubling questions you may have with a mature Christian whose marriage you respect.  I believe you will discover that you don’t have to be afraid of your God-given role.  It is position of enormous dignity, value, and influence!  Furthermore, the need for faithful wives and mothers has never been greater.  Tragically, an entire generation has grown up in the past few decades without many examples of godly wives and mothers.  I pray that you are willing to embrace and fulfill this high and holy calling; if you do, your children will bless you, your husband will praise you, and God Himself will reward you eternally (Proverbs 31:28-30; Matt. 25:23; 3Jn. 4). 

So, what does it mean to embrace your role? 

Be his helper

Building upon the principles mentioned above, keep in mind two things.  First God refers to Himself as a Helper (Psalm 121:1-2; John 14:26) – so, far from being inferior, you are in “good company” and much-needed!  Second, because God is our Helper, we can learn from His example.  In other words, if you want to know how you can best help your husband, just consider the ways that God helps you, and note His attitude toward you in the process. 

Have you ever considered, for example, how patient the Lord is with you?  What about the fact that He doesn’t manipulate or try and coerce you into changing?  He sees your need; He takes initiative; He is willing to serve and sacrifice; He does it with a good attitude; He communicates regularly, and does so clearly, not in “code”; He doesn’t have expectations; He doesn’t feel sorry for Himself; He chooses to love unconditionally, and does so with joy, having your best in mind.  This, of course, is an impossible act to follow, if not for the fact that the Holy Spirit Himself has promised to be your Helper!

Be submissive

I realize, in this day and age, this particular point may sound like “fingernails on a chalkboard” to some.  However, as already mentioned, though I have compassion for those who’ve been mistreated, this kind of response is rooted more in cultural thinking than biblical thinking.  A good working-definition of submission for wives that lines up with the truths in Scripture is simply this: to live with your husband in such a way that you make it a joy for him to love and serve you.  “Now, wait a minute…” some might say… “You’re assuming that my husband wants to love and serve me – which he most definitely does not!”  Sadly, sometimes this is true.  However, as far as it depends on you, this is your role before God.  Your husband is also accountable to God for his role.

Be gentle

The apostle Peter instructs wives in the area of submission as well (1 Pet. 3:1-6), but adds a few other principles, and one of them is, gentleness.  Wives are to have a quiet spirit of gentleness about them.  Again, many wives have all sorts of “reasons” (justifications) as to why they do not have agentle spirit toward their husbands, but the clear instruction to those who profess a love for the Lord is that they be gentle.  Admittedly, this can be a difficult test of faith for some, who are frustrated with their husband’s parenting skills, or lack thereof.  However, harsh words, a critical spirit, nagging, whining, or complaining, only exacerbate the problem.  Ask the Lord to give you a spirit of gentleness that pleases Him, and to fill your mind with that which is “…excellent…and praiseworthy” (Phil. 4:8).  With practice, and ultimate trust in God, this will become part of your character.       

Be respectful

Wives, hear me on this: there are few things more discouraging, and potentially, devastating to husbands than disrespect from their wives.  Tragically, some bitter wives maintain that their husband isn’t worthy of respect!  That kind of woman destroys not only her marriage, but her legacy and her children’s future as well. 

Note: Clearly, the person who asked this particular parenting question doesn’t have this problem, otherwise, she wouldn’t be interested in knowing how to support and encourage her husband! 

However, disrespect usually doesn’t become a prevailing attitude in a marriage overnight.  It creeps in subtly, over time, because of pride, as a sinful response to repeated disappointment, hurt, and unmet expectations.  The best antidotes to this problem are forgiveness, gratitude, and humility.  Humble, thankful, forgiving people have no problem showing respect toward others – even when it seems undeserving.  The reason is simple: they know how much they are forgiven by God in Christ (Eph. 4:32).

Be wise

Intimidating as it may be for women to read Proverbs 31, I personally recommend that you do it regularly!  It’s there for your instruction and blessing.  Much of the burden that parents carry today in family life is simply due to the fact that in our ignorance we do foolish things!  Proverbs is literally aparenting manual.  I’ve heard it said, more than once concerning the challenge of raising children, “It’s not like they give you a parenting manual when you have kids!”  Actually, that’s not true…read Proverbs!  It speaks to many relevant topics, such as: communication, work, planning, discipline, friendship, integrity, wise vs. foolish behavior, sexual morality, anger, finances, etc.

On a practical level, here is how wisdom might guide you to interact with your husband on parenting issues. 

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        1. Consider your timing.  Is this the best time to discuss the issues?  Sometimes, communication breaks down early in the process simply because it’s just not the best time.  If you “hit your husband at the door” with every problem of the day, don’t be surprised if you meet some resistance!  I strongly recommend that you carve out some “face-time” in your schedule.  It might be on the couch after the kids go to bed or over coffee while the kids are at home with a babysitter.  The point is you must make the time to address the needs of your children, your marriage, and your respective roles.
        2. Consider your tone.  Are you harsh, angry, whining, nagging, complaining, or just plain feeling sorry for yourself?  These things can put a man on the defensive right away.  Remember, gentleness and respectis much more honoring, relationship-building, and productive in the long-run.
        3. Get some practical help.  There are tons of good parenting resources available these days to help weary, confused, and puzzled parents!  I highly recommend the book The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal.  Check out his website: www.successfulstepfamilies.com.  Without a solid parenting plan, you will lack confidence, motivation, and direction in family life.  You need to work together and equip yourselves on how to handle such things as: discipline, freedoms and privileges, daily routines and chores, forms of entertainment, character training, friends, transitions between homes for visitation, dealing with new extendedfamily, etc.
        4. Accept your differences.  The fact that your parenting styles differ is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, much of this is by God’s design!  You are made to complement each other (Gen. 2:18) – not clone each other!  Remember, you have different roles, not to mention personalities, so be careful that you aren’t expecting your husband to parent as if he’s a mom!  Dads are going to approach things differently than moms do and as long as they aren’t doing things that are sinful, then you can relax and just let him be “Dad”. 
        5. Reassure your biological child.  Remember that stepfamilies are born out of loss, and your child will need regular assurance that he or she isn’t going to lose your attention and love simply because you have remarried.  As they become secure in your steadfast commitment to them, they will be more comfortable with the idea of allowing your new husband to have a place in their life.  Indirectly, this is a significant encouragement to your husband as well as he seeks to earn the trust of your child.
        6. Transfer authority to your husband.  Make sure that you help your child to know that your husband is going to have a role in their lives, much like a trusted teacher, coach, or family friend.  Make sure they understand that he’s not going to try to take the place of their biological father, but he will function as the “father of this house”.  As such, you will require them to show honor and respect toward him.  If they disobey him, they essentially are choosing to disobey you, and thus you will deal with it as such, following through swiftly, fairly, and consistently with a consequence.  You might even say to them something like, “You don’t ever have to experience that consequence…unless you choose to.”
        7. Communicate & model unity in your marriage.  One of the common challenges stepfamilies face is that of divided loyalties.  For kids, there is a tendency to fear that their parent will stop loving or caring for them the way that they always have.  They may feel like they have been replaced, not to mention how unsettling it can be for them to realize that any hope they may have had for mom and dad getting back together is no longer possible.  The temptation then is for them to undermine the marriage through various forms of manipulation.  As a mother, it will be very important for you to communicate your allegiance to your new husband.  Be as gentle as possible, as firm as necessary.  You won’t be doing your kids any favors if you allow them to cause division in this new union.
        8. Nurture your personal walk with Christ.  Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  This is, by far, the most neglected of all family priorities!  You cannot afford NOT to spend time daily with God in His Word and prayer.  God promises to bless faithfulness.  Don’t let pride, unbelief, mixed-up priorities, or the influence of others keep you from growing spiritually.  Scripture encourages us, teaching, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).  I believe that includes being a successful stepfamily!

Pray for your husband

The Scripture reminds us over and over, as Christians, that we are to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).  Make it a matter of daily urgent prayer to go before the Lord on behalf of your husband.  This is, perhaps, the greatest gift of support and encouragement you could ever give to him.  What a privilege and responsibility you have to pray!  You have access to Almighty God Himself!  Don’t underestimate the power of prayer or your family’s need for it.  Pray with your husband and for him regularly, and include your children in the process from time to time as well.  Spiritual battles require spiritual resources, and family life in a fallen world is a spiritual battle – you can be sure of that!  Remember, however, if you are a Christian, you don’t fight for victory; you fight from victory.  That is to say, in Christ, you have every advantage over your spiritual enemy, Satan!  Persevere, and you will reap a good harvest in due season if you do not give up (Gal. 6:9)!

About the Author

Jon Sanné is a Presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and the Family Life Pastor at Calvary Chapel in Olympia, WA, where he has served for the past 16 years.  He believes that the family is God’s training ground for both parents and children as they learn and grow together in everyday life.  Although there is no such thing as a perfect parent, Jon will share how you can be asuccessful one!

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Truth Be Told-Pastor Mark Balmer

Truth Be Told 


Based on “How Jesus' Birth Changed Everything, Part 5” by Pastor Mark Balmer;

1/1-2/11, Message #MB445; Daily Devotional #5 - “Truth Be Told”

 

Preparing the Soil (Introduction):  There are a thousand ways to tell a lie, but only one way to tell the truth. Language is useful in communicating our thoughts.  Our words can be used for the purpose of expressing both truth and deception.  Even though we express our desire to know the truth, our sin nature causes us to go to great lengths to avoid it.  In this world, blatant honesty doesn’t often win elections, create success in business, or win the heart of a love interest.  In reality, successful people are not always the most “honest,” but are those who are capable of convincing us that their point of view is the truth.  There are times in our lives, however, when we value truth above all else. For example, we love a physician with a good bedside manner when we are healthy, but we value honesty, integrity, and skill over a good bedside manner when our condition is life threatening. As Christ followers, we often become fearful when God opens a door for us to witness to a stranger, a neighbor, or our own families.  Discomforted by that fear, we may pass up an opportunity to speak to someone who is seeking to understand the truth that we already know.

 

Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth):  “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:36) Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:42-44) We have no way of knowing when Christ will return, but the Bible assures us that it will not occur at a convenient hour.  Whether or not we live to experience the Rapture, we will all face our day of judgment. Admittedly, it is easier for us to spread the Good News than it is to speak of God’s wrath.   But all of us have loved ones who don’t know Jesus.  We may meet resistance or rejection when witnessing to them, but we pray that God will call an obedient Christ follower to witness to them successfully.   For who among us would want one of our loved ones to endure the wrath of God? 

 

Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): It is often easier to remain silent when we hear a lie than it is to confess the truth.  Speaking the truth, of the Good News and the bad, often carries consequences.  We may be inconvenienced as Philip was when the Holy Spirit moved him to travel miles to witness to one man (Acts 8:26-39).  We may anger our family members or lose our friends.  We may even be chastised or persecuted.  So what is the value of risking all of this?  Today, after I finished writing the first paragraph of this devotion, a friend called me.  A woman I had never met had been admitted to the hospital with a serious illness.  Only God can explain how He called four Christ followers, some had never previously met one another, who went to visit her together.  We prayed for the Holy Spirit to empower us, and prayed that He meet her greatest need.  In her room, with a group of people, some whom she barely knew and one she didn’t know at all, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. This woman is someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s neighbor, even though she is virtually a stranger to us. She needs our love and our prayers.  That is why it is worth the risk!

 

Cultivating (Additional Reading): Isaiah 61:1-21Thessalonians 5:9

blw

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GodCalling: Jan8

Love Bangs the Door

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Life with Me is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.  My guidance is often by shut doors. Love bangs as well as opens.

Joy is the result of faithful trusting acceptance of My Will, when It seems not joyous.

St. Paul, my servant, learnt this lesson of the banged doors when he said "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."  Expect rebuffs until this is learned - it is the only way.

Joy is the daughter of calm.

They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, 
which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. Psalm 125:1


 blessings to you and yours this day and always ...

  Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25

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DailyHope Jan8

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Faith is God's antidote to fear
by Rick Warren

 

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." (Numbers 13:30 NIV)

"Faith is what allows us to declare in confidence that God is with us no matter what happens."

The way to overcome our fears is to follow Jesus in faith. Our faith is what allows us to enter the future -- not with a question mark -- but with an exclamation point!

Faith is what allows us to declare in confidence that God is with us no matter what happens. We are certain God is for us and certain he has our best interests at heart.

Through faith, we know that God is working all things out for our good -- if we love God and are following the commands of Jesus (Romans 8:28). If you are a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good -- not that all things are good -- but working together for your good and the Glory of God.

There is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of – so what is there to fear, as we enter this Decade of Destiny?

When you face the future, what do you see?  Do you look at it with eyes of doubt?  With eyes of cynicism?  With eyes of expecting the worse? 

You have two choices about the future –

  • You can either face the future as a cynic, a doubter, with negative thoughts, expecting the worse, or …
  • You can face the future expecting God to be with you and that His goodness and His mercy will follow you all the days of your life. 

 

 

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Did someone forward this Daily Devotional to you? Get your own free subscription to The Purpose Driven Connection Daily Devotional, your daily inspiration via email.

 

 

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A.W.Tozer: Jan8

 

January: Personal Life

Some things may be neglected with but little loss to the spiritual
life, but to neglect communion with God is to hurt ourselves where we
cannot afford it.

The Root of the Righteous, page 9



January 8

Personal Life: People Follow Leaders

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. --1 Corinthians 11:1

The history of Israel and Judah points up a truth taught clearly enough by all history, viz., that the masses are or soon will be what their leaders are. The kings set the moral pace for the people....

Whatever sort of man the king turned out to be the people were soon following his leadership. They followed David in the worship of Jehovah, Solomon in the building of the Temple, Jeroboam in the making of a calf and Hezekiah in the restoration of the temple worship.

It is not complimentary to the masses that they are so easily led, but we are not interested in praising or blaming; we are concerned for truth, and the truth is that for better or for worse religious people follow leaders. A good man may change the moral complexion of a whole nation; or a corrupt and worldly clergy may lead a nation into bondage....

Today Christianity in the Western world is what its leaders were in the recent past and is becoming what its present leaders are. The local church soon becomes like its pastor. God Tells the Man Who Cares, 59-60.

"That's a heavy responsibility for any leader to bear, Lord, but it's one I realize we have to carry. That makes moral failure or even carelessness and lax discipline so tragic. Strengthen me in the power of Your Holy Spirit today, that I might be a leader worth following. Amen." 

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TheDailyWay Jan 8

 

 

You Can Go Home  

Posted: 08 Jan 2011 12:00 AM PST

Jesus told the parable of a father who showed his son unconditional love (Luke 15:11-24). This father was patient, slow to anger, and quick to forgive. When the son asked for his inheritance, the father gave it to him. When the son left, the father let him go, knowing that he could not keep his son against his will.

Even though the father’s heart was breaking over his son’s rebellion, he never gave up loving him. While he longed for his son’s return, he did not change his convictions to suit his son’s behavior.

Eventually, the son’s sinful actions caught up with him. He lost all of his inheritance and out of desperation had to do the only work available—feeding pigs! Suddenly, a thought came to the son: He could go home. He knew his father had an abiding love for him. Still, he would have to make a decision to repent.

Even from a distance, the father saw his son returning and ran to meet him. Instead of belittling the son, the father threw open his arms, welcoming him home with love and forgiveness.

God is our heavenly Father. We all have sinned against Him. However, when we come to Him with a repentant heart, He welcomes us. If the prodigal son had sent someone to speak to his father on his behalf, he may not have been forgiven. He had to ask for his father’s forgiveness himself.

The father of the wayward son was caring, compassionate, patient, long-suffering, slow to anger, and quick to forgive. How much more does our heavenly Father demonstrate these characteristics toward us!

If you have wandered away from God and find yourself alone, “feeding the pigs,” remember that you can go home. Don’t delay; God is waiting for your return.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).

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