Blending Past and Present – by Pastor Aimee Rasmussen
Our family has been in a transforming process for two years. Bob and I met and married in 2018. He was married to Lyn for 39 years, and I had been a single mom for 17 years. Both Bob and I are slow movers in many ways, so to date and get married under 6 months had everyone a little shocked. The swiftness of our marriage, meant that our family and friends had to trust us and trust God with the process. Bob and his daughters were grieving the death of Lyn, and my daughters were grieving a life that was shaped by just the four of us; the bond we had forged with my sister and family. So, we did our best to put all the loss and joys realistically before us. I’m so grateful for the gracious way our daughters, sons-in-laws and my sister and family entered into the process of family change. God gave Bob and I a passage from Ephesians 3:14-21 to provide a vision for what we hoped for as we blended our families:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Building a Home
We decided early on that we wanted our home to reflect all who we are: past, present and future. A blend of furniture, photos, traveling/mission moments and new wedding gifts. One of my favorite things we did, was making photo collections of our blended families. A wall with our daughters, a wall with engagements, graduation and family from our first marriages. We have a wall with weddings and one with our parents. We wanted our home to be place where our family could visibly see that no one was forgotten as we continue our family’s journey.
Blending our family has been a process of much prayer and patience. It has been tender and sweet, but hard at times. All the firsts were a little anxious for everyone. Discerning how to do holidays in a way that reflects both sides: Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and then all the other little traditions along the way.
There is a myth out there that if you blend families when your children are older it will be easier. Yes, from the standpoint that you are not instantly all living together also, No, because you are not living together having some of the natural day in and day out experiences that bond us. Bob and I both longed for more times where we could all be together in one space. We decided it best to remain as flexible as possible, and open to each of our daughter’s movements.
Shelter in Place
Here we are almost two years later, and shelter in place has become an opportunity to watch God show us how to be family in the day in and day out; something we had longed for. At the beginning of shelter in place we had two weeks with 3 of our 5 daughters all living in our home. We would have loved all five, but 3 was a place to start. In those two weeks, we did family things: played games, cooked, watched movies, had tea, gardened and painted. Together we learned about our pasts, shared photos and stories.
I’m not sure what your shelter in place has brought you? I know for some, it has been hard and for some it has been good. Mostly, what I hear is that it is hard/good. I share our story, not because I think we did something remarkable, but I do believe God is transforming us all at this time. I can’t quite imagine who we would be without this time at home. Long ago I heard a quote: “pain that isn’t transformed is transmitted”. Here are some questions to pray and ask God about your own shelter in place:
1. Are you starting to see pain/hurt/sorrow becoming something new?
2. What pain/hurt/ sorrow is God wanting to transform in you during this time?
3.Where is your pain transmitting to others or even yourself?
4. Is there a scripture verse, song, or hymn that you go to that draws you to the Father in these hard places?
I pray that as God redeem you where you are, as you are, that you will experience the sweetness of being sheltered with Him.