Leading up to Father’s Day, this week has been a series of blogs about the stepfathers in my life. Tonight, it’s my turn. I’ll try not to make it too sappy.
Just over eighteen years ago, the photo at the top of the blog today was taken. It was an exciting time for me as I had just asked the Mrs. if she would be my wife and she’d accepted only a few days prior.
Before moving to Texas from California, in my prayer time, I had repeatedly sensed that the Lord was going to restore my family in a way that I didn’t expect. I had always interpreted that as having to do with my own kids and healing with them, but God had something else in mind.
After sensing it was time and moving to Texas, things came together in such a way that the Mrs. and I found ourselves together. Not only her, but her two kids too. For some guys, it’s a frightening thing to think of dating a single woman with two children, but, because I’d been there growing up, it didn’t feel strange at all.
Having been raised by several stepfathers, I felt that I knew what it would be to take that role. Even so, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn. The Mrs.’s kids were seven and nine when we married. I had already missed much of their early years and what was ahead were the teens.
That old adage that every child is different rang true. Zach loved sports and gaming. He was the easier of the two kids to help raise at the time. Lizzie, she had a mind of her own. She was smart and outspoken especially in Sunday School when she confronted the Youth Minister with the arguments around dinosaurs!
For the next ten years, it was a daily challenge with teen hormones, attitude, sports events, and shared family time with their father.
Having been through a traumatic time when my kids were taken from my life, the one thing I have always been a strong supporter of has been the kid’s time with their father. To this day, we have joint birthday parties, family dinners, and other celebrations together. I would never want to cause the pain in another person that I had to bare.
The kids will probably say that my parenting style ranged from strict to goofy (much to Zach’s embarrassment when I would do the Goofy walk across the store parking lot…). Were there things I would do differently today? Yeah, probably. But, my primary concern was to help raise them in a financially secure home where they knew they were loved and where, even though their father didn’t live with them all the time, would not feel the separation like I did.
Through it all, even though they weren’t my kids, I have loved them as though they were. I never felt like less because my name was Brad and not Dad. Lizzie did call me ‘Braddy’ occasionally which did warm the heart.
Today, Zach is working full-time for a large local church and Lizzie is married to a great guy who, himself, is also filling the stepfather role with our grandson Noah. They have a precious son of their own named Alton who is nothing but a doll!
The Lord certainly does work in mysterious ways. Often, what we hope for and think He will do, isn’t what He had in mind. He had something even better planned for us.
Will there be a full restoration with my own kids one day? I’m hoping and praying for it every day. Until then, He has filled that hole with the lives of two kids and two grandkids that I love with all my heart. For that, I’ll be eternally thankful!!
So, today, here’s to all the stepdads in my life who have helped me to appreciate the role and to live it in my own life. Here’s to all those in the same shoes. It may not be easy, but believe me, the difference you can make in a child’s life, even if they aren’t your own, is eternal…
Wishing you all a blessed weekend and Father’s Day ahead my friends!