I’ve got cows on my mind today. Yes, God uses many different things in life to get a point across to me. Maybe you’ll find a lesson on this cattle trail!
The first lesson we can learn is that when cows are owned, they are branded with the ranch’s unique symbol. This makes it easy to tell who belongs in the herd and who does not. Now … don’t go out and tattoo your children to show they belong in your herd. The point is to help your family have a sense of belonging. I met a step mom that called her blended family The Martin 6. This was to symbolize that all the kids and step kids with this dad and this mom made up the team of The Martin 6.
In 2 Corinthians 1:22, it says, “God anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Hallelujah! If you are a child of God, you have been branded – God’s seal of ownership on you. You are a part of His herd – His team. That sense of belonging brings security, peace and even unity. Maybe you and your blended family could come up with a team name and logo…maybe even a mascot?!
A second lesson to be learned from cows is that ranchers keep them from wandering off by using cattle guards. A cattle guard is basically a deep rut in a road along a fence line that has metal bars extending over the rut so that the cattle will not cross it. Your blended family needs cattle guards – boundaries set up in advance that protect your family from wandering astray.
Dan and I had family council meetings to help each child know our expectations and boundaries. Trust me, though, we had all the kids testing our ‘cattle guards’ in some way or another, but for the most part, it was a good and healthy way for our family to stay closer and within our boundaries.
Genesis 2:15-17 is an example of God’s boundary to Adam and Eve. It says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'” Eve crossed that cattle guard – Adam followed right along with her. They were out of God’s boundaries and into consequences that have lived on ever since that time.
The last livestock lesson is the cattle drive. This is an event of rounding up the cattle and pushing them towards another place. What captures me about this description is the term pushed. You and your husband are going to be the ones to ‘push’ your family – to move them from just tolerating each other – to a genuine care and compassion for each other. You will be the ones to create the teamwork so that the kids will take the steps forward to be ‘blended’.
Another important aspect to the cattle drive is that the ranchers (you and your husband) are driving the family in the same direction. If the two of you don’t work together, you are going to have chaos.
Make sure that you spend time deciding how to parent, how to discipline, how to prioritize your marriage, how to work with other parents involved – in other words drive your family in the same direction. God will guide. He says in Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Yes, God can teach us about blending our families through many different things. I think you are going to be looking at cows in a whole new way! Blessings in your blending!