Blended families. When you really think about it, we are all a part of a blended family. For instance, my parents got married and then had a baby boy. They had to “blend” him into their daily lives – routines, extra financial expenses, as well as the added responsibility of a child. They “blended” again when my brother was 15 years old and they adopted me.
Now the blending affected four people – the rearranging of lives to make room for this new one. It changed life for my brother, my parents, and I’m forever thankful – even me!
A lot has changed over the last 50-plus years. I married and had two children. He died. I was a widow seven years. I then met Dan and we married and attempted the blending of me and my two kids and him and his two kids and two grandkids.
As you may know, God has used that story, and that is how The Blended Family Mom came about as well as two books. Then the kids all moved out and shortly thereafter, we moved my 86-year-old dad in with us.
A new kind of blend. Odd. Complex. Sad. My whole life I watched this man lead his family – not only by financially providing, but also leading spiritually – teaching a strong work ethic, and then my favorite part: teaching me to be creative and a “southern engineer!”
There were many days that “blending” was fun. We played dominoes, went to movies, went out to dinner. Other days I found myself coming home from work and slipping quietly in my room – to avoid talking to him. It was almost as if I felt he was an intruder in my home, even though I was the one who invited him.
He passed away on February 17 after living with us three and a half years. He was here in my home, and I am very thankful that Dan and I were able to care for him during this part of his life. I am also very thankful that Dan and I were able to learn to make choices to spend time with him and serve him rather than pull away and become resentful and bitter.
Oh, those thoughts came up … but somehow we settled our minds and hearts with the fact that he was our family – our responsibility. Blending took extra effort and care. Blending meant that we now had a two-year-old in a 90-year-old body and that meant changing diapers and spoon feeding.
Blending most importantly came from Dan and I turning our hearts to God and asking for strength, wisdom, and the ability to choose love – choose to serve with a glad heart.
The last opportunity I had to choose love was his last day. I was laying in bed and already thinking about dad’s decline in health. A nurse had told us he had about two weeks left of life – and we were at that two-week point. I struggled between staying in bed until I had to get ready to leave or going to my dad’s room and greeting the day with him.
By God’s help, I chose love. I went to dad’s room. His face beamed up at me … so glad to see me. I chose love. I later sat on his bed and gently rubbed his arms and legs and sang his favorite old song, “Moon River,” to him.
I also sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” over him – something that I had heard him saying over and over in the previous days. I chose love. He died later that day. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I had just gone about my day and not given him time, attention and love.
You’ve got some blending going on yourself! You will have 1,000 choices every day of whether to love and serve or walk away … say something harsh or stop and respond gently … go the extra mile for a family member or decide to not be available to help.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
I believe you are going to find that when you give up the selfish desires that flood your mind and you choose love – choose to serve – choose to stay – choose to forgive – you will receive the greatest blessing of knowing that when it counted, you were the one others counted on!
Blessings in your Blending!