Guardians Of The Galaxy: Protect Your Family Time

I LOVE having everyone together. The week days are always so busy with school, work, evening activities like ballet, karate, gymnastics, band, napping (just kidding {kinda}) But, oh my soul, come the weekends, we transform into “Guardians of the Galaxy” protective about sharing time outside the circle of family. Making any family work takes constant effort. Making a blended family work, takes a unique skill set that I’ve found to be both rewarding and maddening. To my friends who stuck the landing on their one and only marriage – God bless you. For those of us who’ve fallen off the beam a time or two – God bless you too.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
When that old serpent tries to bring me down by suggesting I stop promoting post about family and second chances at a loving relationship because we’re a blended family, I shut him down in Christ’s name. I’m not going to be quiet. I spent the majority of my life focused on career, and solving everyone else’s problems while my own almost destroyed me. I’d surrendered at one point to the reality of living alone because I assumed I was too broken to be of any value to anyone else beyond wearing a badge.
But God has a great sense of humor and an impeccable timing. When He first whispered I’d marry; I laughed. There was no one in my life, so who in this world would marry me? He planted that seed a few years into the season of waiting so it would begin to bud into a full bloom desire once I met Leah. God doesn’t want us to fail. We fail because the sin we commit and refuse to confess, separates Him from us. It’s in that state of being apart that consequences for our actions cause us to stumble. All we have to do is accept His free gift of salvation. He’s got a plan for our life, but it’s up to us to claim the prize that He’s already won. He’s got great news in Jeremiah!!! Do Good, Scott Silverii

7 Truths of a Real Blended Family


It’s summer!

And we have a houseful.

To be honest, summer is probably our favorite time of year. We love having all the kids under one roof for an extended period of time. And it’s always kind of a bummer when school starts back up, and along with it, the routine of early mornings, after school band practice, ballet, karate, gymnastics, and wherever else Scott and I find ourselves driving to. But summer means long, lazy days filled with family time, pool time, and fun outings.


(We took the kids to play TopGolf and had a blast!)

I have to admit we’re very blessed in the blended family department. We’ve had a few rough patches over the years, but for the most part, our lives and all the kids have melded seamlessly. But…there have been rough patches.

We’re talking seven kids, five of which are under eighteen and still live with us, plus the dynamics of Scott and I marrying and creating a new family unit that includes them. Then you have the extended family we created by combining our lives–new grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

On top of that, the kids have other parents who either remarried or decided to live with someone. Then you add existing children and new children those couples have had together. And then their new grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on that side of the family.

blended family 2

It’s no wonder that kids can have a rough transition after their parents divorce. It throws their entire lives into upheaval and introduces a whole lot of new people at one time. We don’t use the word “step” in our family, but it’s important to remember that a step-parent is a grief trigger in the flesh. They’re a constant reminder that their biological parent is no longer part of the picture.

b4866f64052ff2c2b6479aea4a59676fAnd you can imagine the confusion, bitterness, or anger from a child if they’re not dealing with a “step” parent situation at all, but live-in boyfriends/girlfriends that could revolve in and out of their lives. Kids have no control over their parents choices. What they want and need are boundaries and stability.

If you’re a blended family, please don’t get discouraged if your children (or you and your spouse) are having a difficult time adjusting. Like all great things, it takes time, care, and attention.

“No, Christian brothers, I do not have that life yet. But I do one thing. I forget everything that is behind me and look forward to that which is ahead of me. My eyes are on the crown. I want to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

If you’re divorced and thinking of remarriage and blending your families, I want to give you some honest tips.

1.) Priorities

It’s going to be really important to set your priorities in front of your children from the beginning. God has to come first. Your marriage has to come second. Your kids come third. Children are great at seeing our weak points. If they see chinks in the armor of your marriage they’re going to play you against each other. It’s important for them to know that the two of you stand together in all things.


It’s really easy to get into the habit of putting the kids first. Scott and I were going through old pictures in the garage the other day and we each came across pictures of our children right after our divorces. You can see the sadness and devastation in their eyes, and they’re not easy pictures to look at.

When you see that look in their eyes you want to give them whatever you can to make it go away. And it’s a completely different dynamic when a new parent comes into the mix. I can tell you from experience this was one of the most challenging things for me, but I also knew it was a necessity.

Our youngest son Graham had barely turned four the first time he and Scott met. He’d been through a lot for a four-year old. He’d lost my father, whom he was very close to, less than a year before. And his dad was no longer an every day fixture in his life. And then there was Scott, very alpha and intimidating in his police uniform.


I knew it was absolutely essential for the kids to know that Scott would be the head of our household (we weren’t married at that point). Graham was still just a baby at four, and he wasn’t used to a man like Scott. He cried all the time (Graham, not Scott), and he was sick to his stomach with worry at times. There were times Scott disciplined when I would’ve hugged and coddled, and it was SO HARD not to interfere in the role Scott was building with the kids. And there were times when I saw my baby crying while Scott was establishing his role as head of the household and had to leave the room so I could go cry myself.

It was hard. I mean, really hard.

But I stuck it out and never interfered. I stood by Scott’s decisions, and I let the kids know that we were a team and they couldn’t circumvent him by coming to me for a different outcome. Fast forward several years down the road, and it’s paid off. Scott and Graham are two peas in a pod. They’re very close, and all of the kids know that he and I are a team.

2.) Disappointments

There are going to be some. Marriage is a big deal. But maybe your kids don’t thing so. Or maybe your family doesn’t think so. Maybe the ideal picture of The Brady Bunch running through your head isn’t what reality is like when you get home from your honeymoon. This is the second or third time around after all, right?


Second marriages CAN succeed by God’s grace, work, and commitment to each other. It’s much harder, but we serve an awesome God who loves us, no matter what we’ve done in the past, and who forgives us, as long as we come to Him and confess and ask for it.

The honeymoon comes at the end of a second marriage. Especially if you’ve got full custody of your children. Put in the work at the beginning and reap the awards when they’re adults. Giving them stability and space to get used to new family dynamics is important.

And as a side note…

When talking about putting the work in at the beginning of your marriage, it’s also essential to make sure you and your spouse have alone time at regular intervals so you can connect. But there’s only so much alone time you can finagle. That’s just parenting life, and it goes with the territory. You’ll be empty-nesters soon enough.

3.) Don’t Compare

Don’t compare your new marriage, family, life etc. to the one you had before. It’s new territory. It’s not a first marriage/first family situation. Don’t treat it like one. And don’t let your family do it. How many times in your marriage have you heard a family member say, “Well, when he was married to (fill in the blank)…”


You’ve both got a past and it’s important you’re honest and upfront about it. And that you’re receptive if your spouse needs to talk about it whenever triggers or issues come up. This goes whether you’re a widow/widower or have been divorced. Issues are going to come up. But communication is the key. Not comparison.

4.) The Other Parent

Don’t talk about the other parent in front of your kids. Loyalties run thick with children to their biological parent. It doesn’t matter what the other parent did in the past…if they walked out, if they were unfaithful, if they were a deadbeat…whatever their issues. Your child deserves to not have to worry about grownup issues. That other person is still their parent and your children love them, even if you don’t.

And look…there are probably going to be issues come up with the other parent, and you and your spouse are going to have to discuss it. Don’t do it in front of the kids.

5.) The Ex

Speaking of the other parent…this can sometimes be more challenging that blending your family. If you have a great relationship with your ex and schedules and lives work smoothly, cherish it. Sometimes it takes years to reach this point. That’s cool. Everyone is feeling their way in new territory.

The reality is you and your spouse each have an ex to deal with. And chances are probably high that at least one of them uses up a lot of your time and energy with drama.


(Hopefully not this kind of drama. Am I dating myself by posting this picture?)

Here’s the deal with exes–Yes, that other person is the child’s parent. But…your spouse and your family that you’re blending together are the priority. You’ve got to have boundaries. Drama from the past and drama from whatever is going on in the ex’s life has nothing to do with you or your family. And if they’re in a relationship too, it’s even less your drama.

There are situations where you’ll have an ex texting you the problems in their new relationship, problems with their new love interest’s kids, problems with their finances, problems with work, or problems with wanting more child support. Don’t let this become an acceptable practice.


Other than co-parenting a child, this is no longer your life, and anything that doesn’t have to do with the child is just them gossiping to you, and potentially “sowing discord” within your new marriage and family.

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

Proverbs 6:16-19

If the ex is having these kinds of issues, they should be confiding in their new spouse or partner, and you need to put down boundaries so they know it’s not acceptable behavior.

Let me stress how important boundaries are. You might not think they’re that important, especially if you’ve been putting up with certain behaviors while you were single. But boundaries are going to be essential to your spouse. Boundaries give reassurance. They also create intimacy.

When you don’t have boundaries, the ex can easily sow discord. It makes your spouse worry and wonder why you’re afraid to take a stand for your marriage, and if the past is really in the past. Unfortunately, there are exes out there that will do everything they can to find cracks in your new marriage and sabotage it. Put down the boundaries early on so this doesn’t happen. Stand together. Stand firm. You’d be surprised how many emails I get from women whose husband’s ex-wives are wreaking havoc in their marriage.

If you’re the spouse with the difficult ex, make sure you’re including your new spouse in on everything that’s going on. Keeping secrets when dealing with a former relationship is just going to bring up worry, doubt, and trust issues. Being up front from the beginning can eliminate these problems.

If you’re the spouse who is watching your husband/wife deal with a difficult ex, be patient and remember the two of you are a team. It’s sometimes difficult to imagine that your husband/wife could’ve picked both you and the ex from the same planet, especially if the ex is really difficult or drama-prone.

It’s very easy to let satan wedge his way in by using that ex to cause problems in your marriage. Remember, satan hates marriage. He’ll do whatever he can to destroy it. The two of you have to do what’s best for your marriage and your family. The ex is an adult. They can handle their own problems, choices, and drama without dragging you down the rabbit hole.

Scott wrote a great blog post on The Toxic Ex-Spouse you can check out.


Outside of having a set schedule, the only way that you can allow their drama to enter your life is if you let them. This is why it’s extremely important to have legal custody decrees and everything in writing. Hot button topics such as more child support are easily dictated by each state with a formula based on income. Even if you get along great with an ex, I still recommend having set terms in writing and filed with the court. There could be a day when the ex isn’t so friendly and it’s a lot harder to negotiate terms at that point. Protect yourself and your family.

6.) Schedules get crazy! 

This we know from experience. When Scott and I got married I had four kids and he had three. Now we have seven. Five of which live under roof since they’re minors. There are days when Scott and I are crazy outnumbered. We really have to communicate and have good calendars to make sure everyone gets everywhere they’re supposed to be. It’s challenging and insane. But we have fun doing it, and I think we’ve got it down to a pretty good science. At least until school starts again and we have to remember what we were doing.

And look, I’ll be honest, if WE can make schedules work, anyone can make schedules work. Because of  book deadlines, speaking engagements, book signings, and our publishing company, my husband and I work an insane amount of hours a week (usually in the middle of the night while the kids are sleeping), and we travel around 100 days of the year (for work). We schedule all of it around the kids’ custody schedules, though sometimes we do have to make adjustments to the schedule with the other parents. But it works. Because we put in the time to make it work. You can do it! I promise!

We took our very first trip this year without laptops for an actual vacation and we both survived!


7.) You Will Love Your Spouse’s Children

It’s hard to imagine loving any children like you love your own. But it will happen. If you’re putting your priorities in the right order (God, marriage, children), it will happen. You’ll worry about their futures, you’ll hug them when they’re hurt or just need a snuggle, you’ll hold them to the same expectations as your biological children, and you’ll also discipline them the same way. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5

We all make mistakes as parents. But if Christ is the center of your marriage, and you and your spouse make your marriage a priority, your children are going to benefit. Even with divorce in your past, it’s possible to start building a Godly legacy by the blending of your families.

Be blessed,

Leah Silverii



What Do We Need? Space. When Do We Need It? Now

I’m sorry, did you think I was talking about NASA or space exploration? No, but I wouldn’t pass up a ticket to Jupiter right about now. We’re in the throws of summer vacation, and let’s just say, things are getting tight.

As a blended family, we coordinate custody so all of our kids are with us at the same time. That means one month in June or July depending on the year. It’s incredible and what keeps Leah and I so motivated throughout the rest of the year.

Claustrophobic Kids

We plan a big trip for at least a week, and then sprinkle the rest of the month with summer camps, church activities, friends, hanging at home and local outings. There are seven of us, so it takes a lot of planning and patience.

What we discovered was that while we dreamed of everyone together all of the time, they dreaded the press of everyone together all of the time. They love the interaction, but they’re kids and like us, they need private time and chances to do what they uniquely enjoy doing.

This became obvious while on a Disney cruise the first week of June. I thought enclosed ship, lots of time. They thought teen areas and kid zones. The thing we all unified on was soft-serve ice cream. Leah and I spent every evening without them. It was a great time to connect but I kept asking why they didn’t want to come to 80’s trivia night and they kept saying that Mickey was visiting the zone.

After the cruise and back in familiar territory, it was the same dynamic as each kid disappeared into their own space. Leah and I decided to allow that in small segments. The two teenaged girls were the worst. I understand that subset of species sleeps past noon, and broods in their room until the evening, but it was time to crack open their caves and introduce them to the rest of us.

The boys, 11, 9 and 7 were easy. They’d wake up with the sun and run out back toward the pool. Even last year before the pool was installed, the boys spent their days outside.

Finding balance

We had to find a new balance for the remainder of the month. Here is our strategy:

  1. Mornings are theirs. That’s a hill not worth fighting over.
  2. All meals are all in. No exceptions.
  3. Afternoons on their own. It’s too hot to be outside for long, so we allow books and limited iPad watching.
  4. Early evenings everyone begins to prepare for a grilled supper. Unless we’re on the road, we cook out every night.
  5. The kids have clean up and dishes chores before we allow them to go back to doing what each wants to do.
  6. We go really easy on bedtimes until August.

We’ve used this structured ebb and flow over the last few years and found it gives everyone ample time to unite without the agitation of compressed activities. It also shows them we respect their solo time spent appropriately. I say appropriately because they understand that while the leash may be relaxed over the summer, it’s even shorter than usual.

As much fun as summer is billed to be, it’s also a time of accidents, injuries, poor life decisions and unnecessary drama. By keeping the kids in check, we increase the opportunities for them to excel at more alternative activities and challenges. We also limit the time that one kid gets to aggravate the rest. We figure if each kid gets to pester the others one at at time, that’s 5 times the aggravation a day. That doesn’t even count Leah and I getting involved – Ha!

Side Effects

Another big factor in maintaining a flow of events is to ensure the kids continue to mesh. In a blended family, the kids gain exposure to their siblings on a limited basis throughout the year. Once everyone’s month begins, they’re now in a different situation by always being mixed together. It’s the difference between your aunt visiting versus moving in. It can get awkward.

In our case, Leah’s four kids are always together. It’s common for them to “pack” once Max arrives. It takes a bit until he’s openly included into the mix. Some step-siblings never break the barrier and remain isolated although they’re physically among a crowd of other new family members.

Adult Time

We love our kids. Truly we do, but as parents sacrifice is the name of game. Having everyone together also limits our opportunities to be alone. It’s vital that in catering to your kids that you don’t neglect your spouse.

Don’t forget the biblical model for family. It goes; God, spouse and kids. With that said, it’s also easy to put church on hold until school resumes. That’s a huge mistake. Summer is a fantastic time to attend during the week as well as the weekend. Keeping your Christian standard in line with God’s will helps ensure a wonderful summer break.

Safe Space

Keys to remember when dealing with space:

  • Allow individual space in limited amounts. Break up the blocks of alone time throughout the day.
  • Know what kids are doing while they’re in their own space. Idle time leads to nothing good where kids are involved. I always say,

“If I can’t hear them, I can’t trust them.”

  • Monitor and restrict online access. Most boys first discover and engage in regularly watching pornography while at home for the summer. One summer of regular consumption has the potential to imprint an addictive desire for a lifetime of watching porn. More than half of boys and nearly a third of girls see their first pornographic images before they turn 13.
  • No matter what they’re doing throughout the day, meals should be spent preparing and enjoying together.
  • Encourage sunlight and physical activity. Sedentary kids can gain weight over the summer which may cause self-esteem issues when they return among their peers.
  • Everyone should be treated equal but very different. Summer is a group time activity, but individual interests should be mentored and encouraged.
  • Imprint your family values. It’s near impossible throughout the hectic year to instill what parents hold dear as their core beliefs. Summer is the optimum opportunity to share those values with your kids. Taking the time to talk with them is important, but during long summer days together, it’s also vital that we show them.

Leah and I pray you’re having a blessed break from the school year,

I think I hear the pool calling,








Mother’s Day Wake-up Call

Image result for free images breakfast in bed mother

Yes, still bring your wife or mother breakfast in bed, but more importantly, share the following truths with her.

Recall how good it feels to come home after a hard day’s work? Or after a vacation? Even after an extended time away out of the country? Or what about the relief of making it home after driving through a storm? There’s a sense of comfort one can relate to from experiencing these situations.

Imagine how much more comforting it would be to return to your homeland and property after banishment and captivity…for seventy years! This is the comfort God would provide for His people by keeping His promise. This is the same type of comfort He likens mothers as providing.

 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you. (Isaiah 66:13)

This is the Lord God speaking. So it’s incredible that God chooses mothers as His “go-to” example for comparing His comforting nature. You must know the context of Isaiah 66 to be astonished at the limitlessness of this comparison.

The prophet Isaiah is relaying God’s words to a people who’d be exiled from their homeland in the 6th century B.C. to suffer as captives and slaves – seventy years of Babylonian captivity a major part of it. But God would free them through the Persians – a return and rebuild in Jerusalem would follow.

What’s the Connection?

We all recognize it. When a child needs comforting, only Mom will do, no matter how hard Dad tries. Often, it has to do with intuition and recognizing the needs or cause of despair. This generally characterizes all females, mothers or not. I observe it in my teaching colleagues all the time.

Moms give great guidance and instruction, too. They work tirelessly on an endless variety of things. However, since suffering will accompany humankind until the Lord Jesus returns, comfort may absolutely summarize the greatest gift they supply.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

God has promised that there is relief in and after the mourning. Much of our mourning should relate to the spiritual state of our nations, communities, families, and private lives. However, there’s no doubt that He largely fulfills the promise of comfort over personal despair and strife through mothers.

There’s also a great spiritual intuition with females, once again following the lead of the Master Comforter, Jesus. Men might make great theologians, preachers and teachers, but women are far more sensitive to emotional and spiritual needs. When the male disciples wanted to turn children away from bothering Jesus, He rebuked them and said:


Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14)

 Although Jesus used this situation to primarily show that we need to empty ourselves of pride, and display the innocence and humility of children to be His followers, we certainly see a mother-like quality in His interaction as compared to His male disciples, continuing in the closing:

And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.       (Mark 10:16)

It is even more awesome when we realize that God living in us, the Holy Spirit, was considered the Comforter who would come down to live in us when Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.          (John 14:26 ASV)

Other versions call this Comforter, “the Helper.” This certainly takes us back to Creation, when God observed that the earth and life was incomplete, and the situation “not good,” without the necessary helper, woman (Gen. 2:18).

Women should authentically observe their true value, worth, and identity as a close intimate connection and reflection of their Creator, in all Persons of the Trinity.

Close to Home

It’s impossible to do justice in the attempt to honor mothers and the motherly nature of all females on Mother’s Day. There aren’t enough words, gifts, or acts to return the grace and service they’ve extended. Although as husbands and children, we certainly should make it a goal all year-long to speak more respectfully and complimentary, and to give more thoughtful things and increase service to them.Image result for free images mother's day

A few years ago, on Mother’s Day, as a type of gift to my wife, I wrote a letter to my two teen-aged children, sharing why we ought to appreciate and honor their mother. It included details of her many talents and skills which she freely shares, the gifts and guidance that she openly shares, and the love and service that she richly shares.

At the time, I didn’t summarize it in the category of comfort. But I believe I would now. The comfort, peace and security of having a loving and wise mother and wife in the home and family is a treasure that goes beyond any earthly treasure. It’s a gift that covers and helps withstand any and all hardship, toil, or snare.

The danger with any comfort is we become too comfortable. Let’s not become so comfortable nor ever take for granted the wives, mothers, and other special females who contribute so much.

I think back to several articles over the last year. Themes like: honoring parents brings freedom; permissive parenting brings destruction; males generally need to show more common courtesy; and parents would literally and figuratively sacrifice their lives for their children.

These themes, and frankly anything with worth and value, indirectly or directly have their source in God. God is big, and His ways are greater than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

When He thought of mothers, He thought in the grandest terms. He thought of a human gender that could take on His comforting nature. Mothers are not gods but they certainly can and do reflect the nature of the one and only true God.

Happy Mother’s Day. May you see yourself in a new light, shining directly from your Creator.

Image result for free images mother's day

Pick Up The Baton

Is it ever too late to pick up the baton and finish the race?

Men seem to drop the baton more often when it comes to relationships with their children than women do. It might have something to do with the impossibility of two alpha males occupying the same space.

The reality of it is that the sanctity of those bonds were broken from the start. When Adam sinned, he separated himself from his Father God. Unresolved and unrepentant, their relationship resulted in exile.

Many of our relationships end up the same way.

My dad and I were carbon copies. Both strong-willed, hard men of conviction. Not biblical conviction, but committed to what we felt was right according to us. It was inevitable. We butted heads over a heated conversation that resulted in a year lost between not only us, but from those family members who sided with him, and those who sided with me.

The problem was that we’d never communicated. Ever. If there was a problem in the family, then they wouldn’t speak to the offending party. No one intervened or mediated. Battle lines were drawn and hurt feelings and personal pain built up like callouses on your heart.

The problem was resolved when they began talking again. Mind you, the issue wasn’t discussed or hashed out, but at least they were talking. This is what happened when my dad and I dropped the baton. It was a fast and furious pace, but wasn’t heading to the podium, it was heading toward a dead-end.

That baton laid there. For over a year, it suffered out in the open through the storms of life and the winds of change while neither strong man was willing to pick up that baton.

A real track baton weighs 50 grams, which is about two teaspoons of flour. An actual conversation or apology weighs even less than that. Yet, so many people are unwilling to make the effort to pick it up and get back into the race with their loved one.

To finish up my personal account of the baton, it took a serious trial to bring my dad and me back to speaking terms. Unfortunately in that wasted year of personal bitterness, my mother who I’d also not seen had become much weaker in her fight against cancer, and I’d suffered a divorce.

It still plows me over to think what a simple apology would have changed in our’s and so many others’ lives. But in the fine tradition of fathers and sons, the baton was left unlifted.

Men, don’t allow your pride to be as such as to hold anger in your heart. I used to feel like anger actually fueled me. I had no idea at the time that it was so destructive. If you are distanced from your dad and he’s still alive, make the effort.

If you’re distanced from your son, pick up the baton and carry it over to him. If he rejects it, don’t allow the same pride that possibly caused the baton to fall to rage. Lay the baton of humility, regret, forgiveness and love at his feet.

Now allow God to take over.

If all you gain is peace of heart and head, then it’s much better then harvesting such hurt for the rest of your lifetime. Relationships are complex, but allowing God to reign and rule over your life will bring the peace required for either restoration or an acceptance for the current condition.

We’ve talked a lot about fathers and sons of late, and I know it’s because God has placed that burden in my heart for the relationships. It also extends to how you and your wife connect as well as other children and those around you.

Try giving yourself a break from the heavy armor of machismo. Asking for forgiveness requires great courage and strength. Granting forgiveness and blessings does too. Try both. You’ll be amazed at how much stronger you’ll actually become. In no time you won’t even notice the weight of that baton.

Lead from the front,


We’d love to hear what you think about restoring relationships

Back To Egypt: Modern Day ReMarriage & Children

Single-parenthood is tough. It goes against the very foundation of God’s desire for family, and assuming the parent’s single status is a result of divorce, it also flies in the face of God’s creation of marriage.

Thankfully, God is a God of forgiveness and second chances. He created man and woman to be together. Looking at the first chapters of Genesis, God makes it very clear that He did not want man to be alone. He created woman.

While divorce is an unfortunate fact of life, adults usually seem more resilient than they initially thought while suffering through the loss process of a civil proceeding.

Matrimonial resilience is shown in the example of remarriage data. Out of all adults married in 2013, 42 million had already been married at least once before. Or, 4 out of every 10 marriages involved a remarriage.

Those are lots of re-tries. Tragically, over 63% of those remarriages will end in another divorce. One of the biggest reasons is often the least considered–children.

Let’s put our pitter pattering hearts aside and take an honest look at what our kids go through during the loss process. Somewhere along the path, the adage about kids getting over it, or divorce not having a residual detriment is wrong.

While children may find levels of relief from the stress and fighting between their parents, the reality of divorce is that everybody suffers. Manifestation may be immediate or delayed, but there will be a processing over the loss of a relationship and family unit.

As adults, we enter into new relationships with optimism. We assume that positive expectation is also embraced by the child. That isn’t always the case. While a remarriage may provide security and stability for the single parent, it still represents a sum total loss for the child.

A few important things to remember are:

  • You and the new love interest must consider all of the children despite their ages or attitudes.
  • The relationship-building process must include the entire family. Too often adults carve out a fantasy experience that facilitates deep emotional connection without consideration for the reality of family.
  • And, adults must be considerate of the time required for each individual child to accept the new relationship scenario. All because you fell in love at first sight, doesn’t mean your kid will.

I was reading Exodus, and I thought about how our children’s attitudes toward remarriage resemble those of the Israelites once led from captivity out of Egypt. No matter how bad the circumstances were that led to the divorce, or how good the new marriage scenario is, children want to go back.

The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Exodus 3:16

Within a stable single-parent household, most kids naturally want their two-parent environment. Who wouldn’t, marriage was created by God. Within a positive remarriage setting, most kids want the “golden” days of when it was just you and them. Who wouldn’t, they got total attention.

The reality of this is, you and your new spouse must remain as persistent and patient as Moses. He placed God first even as his people beckoned him, and began to turn away. Moses never abandoned his pursuit of God. Even when God considered dispatching the lot of them, Moses advocated for them as we must lead, mentor and protect our own.

Moses had been “shown” the promise land. He possessed an understanding that the others didn’t. Our kids are the same way. They only suffer for the here and now. They can’t see the other side because most don’t have the life experience or maturity to understand that there can be better days.

Equally important was that although Moses would not enter into this promised land, he never bailed on his responsibility to the children of God. He persevered and his legacy remains revered.

We too must cling to God. Even before the new love interest or the pleading children. It’s a Christian example of priority setting that sustains you and stabilizes them.

Additionally, kids require our patience and perseverance no matter how many golden calves they construct or times they blame us for ruining the “better” lives they had under pharaoh’s rule. Moses could’ve allowed his human hurt to bring them right back into bondage and said, “I told you so,” but he loved them and honored God’s commands for leading them despite their disobedience.

We too must not allow powerful emotions like guilt over divorce to drive our parenting decisions. We cannot allow our failure through divorce to curse our child’s future marriage.

Divorce establishes a cycle of divorce for your children once they enter adulthood. Numbers 14:18 talks about the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations. Without the merciful forgiveness of Jesus Christ, our children remain at a higher risk of divorce than children whose parents never divorced.

Moses was a redeemed sinner who led God’s children to the promised land. Your redemption from the sin of divorce makes a new God-focused marriage possible. This example of a Christ-centered remarriage can break the legacy of failure for your adult/married children.

Renewing of the sanctity of marriage will build a legacy of leading your children to the promised land of a God-honored marriage of their very own. They won’t turn back if you don’t. Sorry, pharaoh – we’re not coming back!

God bless you,


Christmas Time in the Family

My wife has always loved Christmas. So when I proposed her hand in marriage at Valentine’s in 1993, we became husband and wife that Christmas on December 18th.


She hand-made our invitations, designed bridesmaid dresses, and crafted many of the decorations for the church, some of which we still decorate our house with each Christmas.

Santa Claus made the guest list and arrived near midnight to bless others with small gifts. It was a beautiful sight and a special day. (Though I’m not sure my wife foresaw the six Christmas-themed showers.

Very nice indeed, but how many home decorations and ornaments can a guy who needs tools require?)teachersweater-2

My kids have inherited my wife’s love of Christmas.

Not that I’m grinchy or scroogy, but it took a few Christmases with her and my in-laws to fully open my heart to Christmas itself.

Now I happily string lights in keeping with the Griswalds…with a little less of the Griswald overabundance in theme or color scheme.

In my case, the delayed joy is likely because I had earlier negative memories. My parents had a terrible fight the night before their last Christmas together when I was a teen, and it sure made for an awkward Christmas morning.

After that, it seemed somewhat empty for the remainder of my single years, not feeling like the family was complete. I half-heartedly took part in other interests that were hardly family or Christian traditions.

Thankfully, I was saved from that emptiness when God sent me my wife. Even though we didn’t meet at Christmas, the fact that we got married during the Christmas season reminds me she was my greatest gift, other than the Christ child

So as we celebrate each year, I revel in what still seems like a fresh joy for Christmas as I spend time with my family and extended family.

Opening gifts takes two hours Christmas morning (not that we buy extravagant gifts, just copious amounts).

We overeat sumptuous food, watch movies, and play games. I always object that the original version of Trivial Pursuit is obsolete, yet it’s first on the games’ list anyway.

As the years progress, we’ve lost parents or they weaken with ailments (as we’ve written in previous articles).

With our children going through or nearing university education, we feel some sadness for our losses without having to put on the “game face” that was truly authentic when our kids were little.

It’s true Christmas can be the most joyous of occasions or the toughest of times, depending on the health or status of losses in families…or plain loneliness in other cases.

There’s one constant that will always make it joyous, regardless of family status. Keep Christ at the center of your heart and dedicate the season to Him. Family status is not a choice, but choosing joy (the whole year through) is a choice. This is not about the controversy regarding “keeping Christ in Christmas,” or saying “Happy Holidays” and having no public nativity scenes to be politically correct. It’s a purely individual choice to be joyful. Love Christ for coming to earth to save us, and love others to display that gratefulness.

Family is the best place to start with this love.

Treasure them as your best gift besides Christ, because they are! Then even the “secular” carols will become more meaningful. Chestnuts roasting, winter wonderlands, decking halls, even figgy pudding and Santa baby will not produce a “humbug” out of you. However, there truly is no substitute for “Joy to World, the Lord is Come.”

Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas to my true love.

Luke 2:10 …behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. imgp0037

Honoring Your Parents – The Greatest Adventure in Freedom

This article is dedicated to the memory of my mother-in-law who passed away from pancreatic cancer, my dad who died from brain cancer, and my stepdad who passed from heart issues (at the healthy age of 90). It is also written to honour the courage of my father-in-law as he has heart bypass surgery, and my mother as she battles dementia. May God bless any reader who is facing their first Christmas season without a parent.

The 10 Commandments are not a highly popular topic in today’s society. Their controversial removal from public schools is old news. If one were really interested, one could still find volumes of commentaries, expositions, and applications – which contain far greater thought and teaching for life than offered by today’s secular educational institutions.

Sadly, it is rare that one would make this research venture. The Commandments are just a bunch of rules, right? And our permissive society is all about freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom to disobey authority, including parents, if they feel it infringes on their rights, feelings, whims, vanity, self-absorption…

Strange though, when push comes to shove, secularists and the religious agree you shouldn’t steal, kill, lie, cheat on your spouse, or be envious…all part of the proscriptions handed down from above. Most also agree that honoring parents is important.

Did you know the fifth decree was the first commandment given with a promise (Ephesians 6:2)? Exodus 20: 12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” It sounds like this offers far more freedom than it does restriction. A couple of kids are walking down the shoreline of the adriatic coast.

If one would like to reap the rewards of that promise, then we’d better decide what it really means (even if obedience is your priority over rewards).

First, you must know it includes an extremely high standard. For in the Sermon on the Mount, we have Jesus taking the sixth Commandment, “You Shall Not Kill,” and declaring you are guilty of murder if your thoughts and feelings for others are ones of anger and hatred (Matt. 5:22).

Jesus also reviews, “You Shall Not Commit Adultery,” and equates looking upon a woman with lust as committing adultery with her in your heart (Matt. 5:28).

With Christ-like standards such as this, what are Christ’s expectations for honoring your parents? Christ would expect you to up the ante.

Principle One: Advance the true spiritual heritage and faith your parents delivered to you.

You want to disappoint your parents? Then fall away from the true faith they handed down because you were too enlightened or self-interested to adhere to it. Not only should you follow it to honor them, you should advance God’s kingdom in thought, word, and deed. It might involve surpassing your parents’ knowledge theologically or biblically, but never lording that over them. *

Summer time

The main tip for that to be successful is contained in another commandment…the Great Commandment, and golden rule: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 …‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22)

Principle Two:  Attempt to care for parents beyond what they cared for you when they raised you.

Many of us bear or have carried the burden of aging and ailing parents. My wife’s mom died of pancreatic cancer. My wife moved back home to nurse her mother while fully parenting our young children. My father-in-law just had bypass surgery for his heart. My dad died of cancer that progressed from his lungs to brain. My mother is in a state of moderate dementia.

Many of you can relate and will insert your personal experiences here in your heart and mind. (As an aside, we certainly should be praying for each other in the body of Christ due to all these circumstances.)A lovely couple minding their own business

While it’s true our parents had to tend to our bumps and bruises, disappointments, and heartaches, children have to observe and care for them in their serious illnesses, life threatening conditions, and ultimately death. A giving heart is required in these circumstances.

What a blessing it is that God has given us the opportunity to give back to our parents in this manner of servanthood!

Principle Three: Treat the parent-child relationship as sacred.

 Our loving Heavenly Father is Holy, Just, Righteous, and Good. He is Love. While our parents will struggle in their humanity, think of God as parent and how He shares His role with your parents. You will obviously have disagreements, sometimes where you are actually right, but realize that God gave them a position similar to His (wow, that means that those of us who double as parents share in that too!).

While we are sometimes frustrated or even angry with our God, we know He remains our source of strength, life, and salvation. Our parents will also always be our other source of life.

Proverbs 6:20-23: 20 My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.

Don Wilton sums everything up beautifully, in an article entitled Honor Your Father and Your Mother, which was in Decision magazine in June 2013. This truly gives a picture of freedom:

The promise of a long life is the promise of God’s lifelong protection, guidance, deliverance, and provision. Surely, there is hardly anything more precious than living in a loving relationship with your parents. In fact, you did not choose your parents. God did. And His design is for you to live your entire life in a continual state of honor and blessing.

*Sadly, society is failing at advancing the faith passed onto them. Millennials are leaving the church at a faster rate than ever before, and are less likely to come back than in the past. Oh yes, there are excuses, mostly about the failures of the church, as if it wasn’t made up of humans. The point is that this is failing mothers and fathers. See 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and consider if it seems familiar:

 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

Sports in the Family – Rewarding or Consuming?

Last summer’s Olympics were a magnificent spectacle. When I watch these events, I get caught up in the competition and national pride. I admire the participants and I likely break the commandment that has something to do with coveting the fine abs, superior strength, and lightning speed of elite athletes.

Winner looser. Black and white photo of a kick boxer, taken at an event in The Netherlands. The rederee decides who the winner is.

One of my most rewarding memories will always be winning a provincial hockey championship two years ago as co-coach of my daughter’s team and her scoring the winning goal.

I’m pleased that my son also plays hockey and that he has considerable enthusiasm for tennis. Taking athletics a step further, as a family of four, daily summer bike rides have always held a special place, with my wife acting as captain of that team.

On the negative side, however, here is a clear observation – an unfathomably disproportionate amount of time, money and energy is given to sports and fitness…from the armchair quarterback, to the weekend striker, to the amateur triathletes, to the burned out chauffeurs who sideline as parents.

I am guilty as charged in this assessment. I’ve done it all…played, trained, and coached extensively, watched religiously, and paid handsomely (for tickets, child registrations, etc.).

I have the pleasure of comparing the aches and pains of sports injuries with other same-aged men.

The obsession with sports exemplifies part of a present fog of deception and delusion that hazes across North America. The fascination with sports and fitness, shows that 1 Timothy 4:7,8 is a forgotten admonition, or at least a very low priority:

…train yourself to be godly.For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Sorry sports fans and fitness fanatics, again including myself; our fascination with sports and fitness is often idolatry. It’s more subtle than the big-ticket addictions or seductive temptations.

It’s the kind that sneaks up and steals our joy, time, and effective witness. Sure, it can be a positive distraction from stressful lives and issues, and provide physical benefit, but are the harmful effects more alarming?

Sports are a wonderful way to connect with other families. Many Christians enter coaching with the goal of influencing kids and helping to grow their character. So it can be a wonderful witness.

The caution here is to keep your faith the priority. It is so easy to get ultra competitive, overvalue winning, and even speak or behave inappropriately during emotional outbursts as coach or parent. We have all seen it and cringed.

I would warn that the greater danger is the over-commitment of time. Yes, families can watch football or play a round of golf together, but if they don’t participate as a unit, the time goes up in smoke, dedicated neither to family nor God.

Families often travel in different directions to accommodate their kids’ sports schedules. What begins as a recreational pursuit becomes a full-time commitment, often accompanied with moaning and groaning.

Amidst lugging sports gear from arena to arena, week after week, year after year, suddenly one day it all ends, and you realize you should’ve been savoring those countless moments. The wins. The losses. The joys. The sorrows. The time you spent with your kid.

Hours and minutes are likely the ultimate test. Does the amount of time you spend watching sports or physically training surpass the amount of time you spend in the spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with other believers? If so, then you are likely failing in your priorities.

Picture of a woman in a hammock, studying for her education. She's holding up a pencil.

The tithing principle of giving beyond 10% of all you have to the Lord comes into play here. That includes money, time, and energy.

As a highly active sports family, I want to encourage you to keep it fun, stay active together, and keep the viewing of professional and college sports to a healthy level.

May sports and fitness be another avenue for you to bring glory to God. As the movie, Chariots of Fire made Eric Liddell’s quote famous: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.” Liddell understood the source of his strength.

Clouds & blue sky

1 Philippians 3:13, 14  I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)


We pray Sports in the Family – Rewarding or Consuming? has blessed you. How do you manage your family’s time while enjoying activities and interests?