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I'm a Stepdad
June 19

Over the weekend we celebrated Father's Day. That annual tradition of giving ties, socks and wallets, and in the course of that day, I was reminded of another title that I carry, stepdad.  (If you don't know the full story, my wife was widowed in her early 30s, losing her husband to cancer when our daughters were 3 and 18 months.) One of the reasons I bring this up is because we usually have a negative approach to this title. (The “stepmother” title is even worse, as she is usually called wicked or evil in most fairytales!). For over a decade, we subconsciously denied the fact that we were a stepfamily, but I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because of the negative ways stepfamilies and stepparents have been portrayed in books, movies and TV shows. It wasn't until we started meeting with a therapist who specializes in stepfamily dynamics, and is a stepparent herself, that we began to learn to embrace this title. That was a very freeing moment.

I'm very thankful that we live in a time where people are encouraged to embrace who they are. Whether we are talking about gender identity, same gender relationships, disabilities, limitations, or whatever else we might worry makes us different, I feel we are encouraged now more than ever to embrace who we are, see ourselves as children of God, and live as fully as possible. I hope we realize how significant this time is, but we also need to remember how much work is still left to be done. In New Testament times, Paul worked for equality between Jews and Gentiles. Today, we face our more recent, ongoing struggles with racial and gender equality while also striving to live up to the call to walk along those who don't "fit" our dated understandings of gender and relationships. We live in a time worth celebrating, but there is still more work to be done. It breaks my heart when someone thinks of themselves as less than a child of God because they think they are different and don't fit in, and the closed-minded world around them reinforces those insecurities. We have come so far, but there is still more to be done. 

Someday I hope to use my journey of learning to embrace the title of stepdad to help someone else who might be going through the same struggle or worried about the same negative stigma that we too often attach to many of the titles that are actually beautiful. I dream of a day when someone doesn't have to feel like the outsider because they don't fit the traditional norms, but rather begins to see the beautiful diversity that is God's family. I dream of a day when people don't feel the need to pretend to be someone that they aren't, but rather sees themselves as the beautiful child of God that they are. What a beautiful day that will be. We've come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Thankfully God is with us every step of the way. 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris
Last Published: June 28, 2019 9:57 AM